Disability Accommodation in the Workplace


March 26, 2009

Revision Date


GP 40

Revision No.


Simon Fraser University is committed to providing an employment environment in which persons with disabilities: 

  • have equitable access to opportunities; 
  • may participate fully in the range of activities offered by the University; and 
  • are able to achieve their full potential as members of the University community.

1. Purpose

1.1 This policy responds to the University’s obligations under the BC Human Rights Code to accommodate persons with disabilities.

2. Definitions

"Application for Accommodation" – Notice in writing from an employee in which the applicant advises the University of the existence of a disability and provides supporting written documentation from a duly-qualified medical specialist. The University shall determine the adequacy of the medical documentation to support a claim for accommodation and may request additional information.

"Constituency Organization" - Administrative and Professional Staff Association, CUPE 3338, Polyparty, SFU Faculty Association, Teaching Support Staff Union.

"Disability" – A permanent or temporary physical, psychiatric or neurological impairment, whether congenital or resulting from injury or illness, which causes the individual to experience restrictions or limitations on their ability to perform life activities.

"Employee" - a full- or part-time member of the faculty or staff of the University.

"Medical Specialist" – Physicians who have completed advanced education and clinical training in specific specialties, such as (but not limited to) a psychiatrist, cardiologist, allergist, endocrinologist, gastroenterologist and/or neurologist. Medical documentation from individuals who are not physicians will not be accepted.

"Reasonable Accommodation" – The modification or extension of University resources to mitigate the effects of the disability.

3. Policy

3.1 The needs of persons with disabilities shall be accommodated in a manner that respects their dignity and right to privacy.

3.2 The duty to accommodate is a responsibility that rests jointly with the employee, the union or employee association, and the University.

3.3 The primary focus of this policy is to enable employees to perform the essential duties of their, or a similar position.

3.4 This policy will be implemented in accordance with its associated procedures.

3.5 This policy will be formally reviewed every five years.

4. Scope

4.1 This policy applies to all employees of Simon Fraser University.

5. Roles and Responsibilities

5.1 Employees who apply for accommodation while absent from their work at the University due to long-term disability or sick leave will consult the Coordinator, Return to Work and Disability Management, who may carry out one or more of the following roles within the terms of this policy:

  1. receive, review and retain medical documentation provided by the employee requesting accommodation;
  2. make recommendations or decisions regarding accommodation;
  3. on the request of the employee or constituency organization, review the accommodations that are in place to determine whether they are appropriate; and/or
  4. liaise with supervisors to identify and secure the funding necessary to provide the accommodation.
5.2 Continuing employees seeking accommodation for disability, but who are not on sick leave or long-term disability, are referred to the Director, Human Rights and Equity, who may carry out one or more of the roles as specified in 5.1 (a – d).

6. Authority

6.1 This policy is administered under the authority of the University Secretary. Questions of interpretation or application of this policy shall be referred to the University Secretary, whose decision is final.