Legal rights and employer obligations
Dementia and the Ontario Human Rights Code
If you have dementia, the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) can support you as you approach your employer. The Code protects a person with dementia whose condition does not limit her current abilities. If you are still able to complete your work, you cannot be discriminated against because of concerns over your future performance.
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides and recognizes:
- Equal rights and opportunities
- Freedom from discrimination
- The dignity and worth of every person in Ontario
Dementia can be considered a disability under the Code. This means that at work you:
- Are entitled to the same opportunities and benefits as people without disabilities
- May need special arrangements or accommodations
- Can approach your employer to propose accommodations
The duty to accommodate
Under the Code, employers have a legal “duty to accommodate.” This allows persons with dementia to equally participate in the workplace. But accommodation is a shared responsibility. As a person with a disability, you have the responsibility to:
- Tell your employer, union or service provider about your disability-related needs.
- Provide supporting information about your disability-related needs, including medical or other expert opinions.
- Help look for accommodation solutions.
Accommodation follows no set formula. Your workplace will need to consider individual needs for each case.
In some cases, applying the best solution may result in “undue hardship” because of costs or health and safety factors. If an accommodation causes ‘’undue hardship,” your employer still must look at and take next-best steps that would not result in undue hardship.
Some examples of accommodations include:
- More flexibility in work hours or break times
- Providing reading materials in alternative formats including digitized text, Braille or large print
- Putting in automatic entry doors
- Making washrooms accessible in the workplace
- Changing job roles