Policy 2.2.20: Non-Discrimination and the Duty to Accommodate

Effective Date: January 1, 2003 (Currently under revision)
Responsibility: Vice-President of People and Culture


CBC/Radio-Canada is committed to provide an inclusive workplace environment free of discrimination. In support of this, the Corporation accepts responsibility to ensure that its policies, practices, work arrangements and facilities do not have unlawful discriminatory effects on individuals or groups protected under the Human Rights Act, or identified as a designated group under the Employment Equity Act (women, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minorities).

CBC/Radio-Canada will take reasonable appropriate measures legally required to provide accommodation to its employees and applicants. The Corporation will respond in a timely, confidential and sensitive manner to requests for accommodations.


The policy applies to all CBC/Radio-Canada employees as well as candidates participating in the staffing process. It is available on the intranet and on the Internet. An alternate format of the policy, including among others Braille, large print and electronic format is available on request.


All questions pertaining to the interpretation or application of this policy should be referred to the Vice-President of People and Culture or appointed delegate.



  • This policy was updated in November 2006.
  • Replaces previous Human Resources Policy: Accommodation no. 1.13

Guidelines and Interpretation

As noted in the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is a discriminatory practice, directly or indirectly,

a) To refuse to employ or continue to employ any individual on a prohibited ground of discrimination; or
b) In the course of employment, to differentiate adversely in relation to an employee on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Such practices are not discriminatory if they relate to the necessary, essential and legitimate job requirements of the position in question and the accommodation of the needs of an employee would impose undue hardship on CBC/Radio-Canada.

Employees and applicants are responsible for requesting accommodation when required, including identifying, where possible, types of reasonable accommodation.

Successful accommodation imposes responsibilities on CBC/Radio-Canada, its employees and the Unions who represent these employees. Any accommodation will be based on consultations with the employee or applicant concerned, his/her supervisor, human resources representatives, a designated union representative and outside specialists, as appropriate.

Accommodation is often associated with the removal of physical barriers or the provision of technical devices. But accommodation is not restricted to people with disabilities. Accommodation may also be legally required on the basis some other ground under human rights legislation.

In considering whether a possible accommodation would impose undue hardship on the Corporation, health, safety and cost shall be taken into account.

The specific rights and obligations of those involved in the accommodation process are outlined herein.


  1. CBC/Radio-Canada will ensure that a copy of the policy and procedures is permanently posted and updated on its intranet and Internet sites. On request, it will be made available in alternate format, including among others Braille, large print and electronic format.
  2. An employee may request accommodation by writing to his/her immediate supervisor, or Human Resources, identifying what type of accommodation is required. CBC/Radio-Canada will require documentation from the employee to verify the need for accommodation. On receiving the request and ensuring its validity, the Supervisor will work with the employee to identify options appropriate to that employee.
  3. Supervisors and managers may initiate the procedure where they are aware that an employee or applicant who is a member of an identified group has (or is likely to have) a need for accommodation due to this characteristic and is prevented by reason of the characteristic from requesting the accommodation. The procedure, in this event, will only continue with the consent of the employee or applicant.
  4. A candidate who requires accommodation in relation to a selection process, should inform the hiring manager or Human Resources what type of accommodation is required. CBC/Radio-Canada may require documentation from the candidate to verify the need for accommodation. On receiving the request, Human Resources and the hiring manager will work with the candidate to find the most appropriate means of accommodation so as to ensure the candidate can participate in the selection process as fully as possible.
  5. Where the request involves issues outside the expertise of the Corporation, specialist advice will be sought, with the employee or applicant’s consent.
  6. If the department budget is unable to address the cost to accommodate, funding assistance should be requested through the normal component channels to their Vice-President.
  7. Only under extraordinary circumstances, where a component is unable to manage these costs in its overall budget, will a component be allowed to request corporate funding assistance. Such requests must be supported by the component Vice-President and sent to the Vice-President of People and Culture and the Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer.
  8. The accommodation option put into place will be reviewed periodically by the Corporation to evaluate its ongoing necessity and appropriateness (this must be supported by medical evidence in the case of disability).

Return to Work After Illness or Injury

If the employee seeking accommodation is returning to work after illness or injury, he/she bears the responsibility of providing sufficient medical information to establish fitness to work and/or the necessity and nature of the accommodation requested. Such information will be treated confidentially.

If CBC/Radio-Canada has legitimate concerns about the medical evidence presented by the employee, it is entitled to further medical information, on how best to accommodate the limitations, rather than the condition itself.

CBC/Radio-Canada is responsible for and can conduct its own independent assessment of an employee’s accommodation requirements and capacity to resume work.

Only after sufficient medical information has been provided should the Corporation initiate the process of identifying appropriate measures of accommodation.

Job Restructuring

CBC/Radio-Canada management will follow a four-step process in order to identify whether accommodation is necessary and the appropriate nature of that accommodation:

  1. Determine if the employee can perform his/her existing job without modifications;
  2. If the employee cannot do so then it is necessary to determine if he/she can perform the essential functions of his/her existing job, with appropriate accommodation;
  3. If the employee cannot, then determine if he/she can perform another available and existing job in its existing form; and
  4. If the employee cannot, then determine if he/she can perform the essential functions of another existing and available job with appropriate accommodation.

In the case of disability, medical evidence must be presented to establish the nature of the accommodation required.

Union Involvement

If the employee to be accommodated is a member of a bargaining unit, the union must co-operate with the accommodation process in finding a viable accommodation option, even if it requires adjustments in the interpretation and application of the collective agreement.

In most circumstances, an assignment outside the bargaining unit would be acceptable only after all the other reasonable options of accommodation within the unit have been exhausted. In such a case, the other union involved must cooperate in the accommodation process and take reasonable measures to facilitate the integration of the employee in his/her new work environment.

Undue Hardship

Accommodation options will only be considered up to the point of undue hardship on the Corporation. Health, cost and safety should be key elements in that analysis.

A non-exhaustive list of factors to be considered in assessing undue hardship include, but are not limited to the following:

a) Financial cost;
b) The health and safety of the employee requesting accommodation, as well as co-workers and the public;
c) Disruption of any collective agreement;
d) The inter-changeability of the workforce and workplace facilities; and
e) Significant impact on the morale of other employees.


Where a non-unionized employee or an applicant believes that his/her request for accommodation has not been handled in accordance with this policy or the accompanying procedure, that employee or applicant has a right of appeal.

An applicant, or non-unionized employee may request a review of the decision by submitting a request for reconsideration to Human Resources.

If following the review of the original decision, the applicant or non-unionized employee is still not satisfied with a rejection of the requested accommodation, he/she may also ask that the matter be referred to the Vice-President of People and Culture. In the case of a unionized employee, he/she may file a grievance as per the collective agreement.

Monitoring and Reporting

Where there are costs for physical or workstation accommodation, Health, Safety & Environment along with Real Estate, Purchasing and Information Technology must be consulted when applicable and details of expenditures for each item provided to the Director of Wellness by the department who will incur the costs.

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