The objective of this policy is to make sure that people using the services of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) have equal access to legal advice and support. Staff at the HRLSC will make every effort to provide service that accommodates a variety of physical, mental, language and cultural needs, while respecting the privacy and dignity and independence of the people served.
This Accessibility and Accommodation Policy and other HRLSC public documents are available on-line at www.hrlsc.on.ca. For an alternative format or a paper copy, please contact the HRLSC at our toll-free phone number: 1-866-625-5179, Local: 416-597-4900, TTY Toll Free: 1-866-612-8627, TTY Local: 416-597-4903.
Feedback on accessibility
If you would to like to provide us with feedback about our accessibility, please complete this survey.
All requests for “accommodation” will be met unless it creates extreme costs or health and safety risks (defined as “undue hardship” under Ontario’s Human Rights Code). “Accommodation” means making sure you receive the full benefit of our services by providing you with service in a way that makes sense to you, depending on your physical, mental, emotional and linguistic needs. We want to make sure that our service is as “barrier-free” as possible. All persons using the HRLSC’s services will be free to use assistive devices (such as canes, wheelchairs) and service animals (such as guide dogs).
Examples of accommodation
We will provide you with an interpreter (including ASL and LSQ sign language interpreters), make sure the physical space is wheelchair accessible, make sure we are flexible on what time of the day you get help and for how long so that you can discuss your human rights claim.
If your interview has been scheduled on your religious holiday, we will reschedule it.
If you need to bring a support person with you, you do not have to tell us why they have to be with you, just that “I need this person with me.”
If it is hard for you to meet privately with persons of a different gender, please tell us the gender of the person you would like to meet with.
If you have limited vision we can give you documents in large print, Braille, an audio version of the document or the format that works best for you.
If you have a disability that makes it very difficult to be in a closed room, you do not have to tell us about your condition, but you could say “I would like to be in a larger room with the door open.”
If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to understand speech:
- bring a support person with you
- ask the person speaking to you to speak slowly
- ask the staff person or your support person to write down some key points to take with you
If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to read or understand printed materials, you can ask to have documents read and explained to you.
If organizational difficulties are part of your disability you can ask for help in putting your documents together in a logical order.
If your disability causes memory problems you can ask to have key information and dates written down for you in point form or a chart.
Children are welcome, and parents are free to breastfeed.
Telling us about your disability or your need for accommodation
You do not have to give details of your disability or, for example, your religion when you ask for accommodation, just the way in which you need to be accommodated. Each person’s needs are individual, please tell our staff what you need to serve you better.
If your disability is related to your human rights claim, you will want to tell us about your disability in relation to your human rights application and what you need by way of accommodation.
Off site meetings
Requests for meetings outside of the HRLSC’s normal business places will be considered if it is required to meet your accommodation needs.
Please do not wear perfume, after-shave or any other chemical scented product if you are meeting with HRLSC staff in person.
Asking for accommodation
We want to make sure that our service is as barrier-free as possible. If you are unable to communicate by telephone because of a Human Rights Code protected reason, such as disability, please e-mail email@example.com. Please mark the fax or e-mail or letter clearly as a request for accommodation.
If you would like to ask for accommodation at the HRLSC in advance of your conversation with a member of the staff, please contact us:
- Telephone at 416-597-4904 (toll free 1-866 625-5179)
- TTY 416-597-4903 (toll free 1-866-612-8627)
- Mail at 180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor Toronto (Ontario) M7A 0A1 or
- Fax at 416-597-4901.
Or, you can speak privately with the staff person who is helping you with your human rights application.
If your question is about something other than accommodation in our services, please use the main telephone line at 416-597-4900 or 1-866-625-5179.
HRLSC staff receive ongoing training on accessibility, anti-racism, accommodation of disability and a wide range of issues to try to make sure that staff have a broad knowledge of human rights issues.
Periodic review of this policy
We welcome your suggestions to improve this policy.
Feedback and evaluation
Clients of the HRLSC who have requested accommodation may be asked to fill out an evaluation form about the services at the HRLSC so that you can tell us how we are doing at meeting accommodation needs, if you choose to fill it out.
The purpose of this statement is to recognize the HRLSC’s commitment to a pro-active approach in providing an inclusive workplace and service environment for people with disabilities.
This statement of commitment is supplemental to the HRLSC’s policy on Accessibility and Accommodation and commits the HRLSC to addressing communications, policies and practices in the workplace and in the delivery of service that are based on differential attitudes towards those who are living with a disability.
In committing to anti-ableism in the workplace and in service delivery, the HRLSC recognizes that individuals with disabilities can offer the best information about their disability-related needs, if any.
Ableism: is a term used to describe the discriminatory communications, actions, and practices against persons with disabilities. Ableism may be individual or systemic depending on the type of discriminatory process.
Disability: includes a physical, mental, emotional impairment, whether visible/invisible, or a functional limitation of the ability to perform an activity, as experienced by the affected individual. The lack of ability may be permanent or transient and may affect an individual at various points in their life.
Commitment to Anti-Ableism
The HRLSC strives to create an inclusive workplace and service environment that welcomes and supports differences and diversity in its staff, its board and the community it serves.
- Ensuring that practices and communications in the workplace and in delivering service to the community do not reflect or perpetuate ableist or exclusionary perspectives that may directly or indirectly promote, sustain, or entrench differential treatment affecting persons with disabilities.
- Establishing and maintaining hiring, promotion and work-related policies that will build and support an inclusive employment environment where individuals with disabilities can participate and contribute fully.
- Ensuring that services to individuals with disabilities are provided in a fully respectful manner that addresses and removes any barriers to service, including ableist practices or attitudes.
The HRLSC shall:
- Maintain and enforce the HRLSC's Accessibility & Accommodation Policy.
- Ensure that the Accessibility & Accommodation Policy and the Anti-Ableism Statement of Commitment are available to the public on the HRLSC’s website.
- Include both policies in orientation materials for all new staff and board members.
- Provide regular staff training on issues relating to access, accommodation, ableism.
- Give every client an opportunity to provide feedback on whether service was provided in a responsive and fully respectful way and whether their needs related to disability were appropriately accommodated as service was provided.
- Annually review client feedback on anti-ableist service delivery and on accommodation of disability.
- Conduct a regular survey of staff that includes the opportunity to comment on accommodation of disability-related needs in the workplace, and on compliance with this policy.
- Quickly resolve any complaints from staff in accordance with the HRLSC’s policies for dealing with public complaints and internal complaints.
Ontario’s Human Rights Code
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005