Human Rights Legal Support Centre

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HRLSC Staff

Accessibility and Accommodation

The objective of this policy is to make sure that all people using the services of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (“HRLSC”) have equal access to and obtain the equal benefit of its legal support services. The Centre is committed to providing legal support services in a manner that accommodates a person’s disability related needs and provides its services in a way that is respectful and dignified with a full understanding and appreciation of the diverse needs of our many client groups. The Centre is further committed to complying with the spirit, intent and provisions of the Human Rights Code, the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) 2005.

For an alternative format or a paper copy of this policy, 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.

Anti-Ableism: Statement of Commitment


Feedback on accessibility

If you would to like to provide us with feedback about our accessibility, please complete this survey.


Accommodation of Persons Requesting Legal Services

Under the Human Rights Code, the HRLSC, like all organizations, is committed to preventing and removing barriers and providing accommodation to the point of undue hardship to persons seeking to access its legal services. Accommodation issues and requests may arise in many different contexts, including creed, family status, sex (pregnancy), disability and age. At the HRLSC, however, most requests for accommodation arise in the context of disability. Whatever the accommodation request made, the HRLSC is committed to providing an effective and respectful process to those seeking accommodation in the provision of our legal services.


Asking for accommodation

The Centre supports the full inclusion of all persons. We want to make sure that our legal services are as barrier-free as possible and provide our services in a manner that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Please note that the the Centre, due to its Ontario wide mandate and its limited resources, generally provides its legal support services to Ontarians by a phone intake and phone interviews.

When you contact us please tell our staff the details of your accommodation request.

Telephone 416-597-4900 (toll free 1-866-625-5179)


Asking for accommodation if you can't communicate by telephone

If you are unable to communicate by telephone because of a Code protected reason, such as a disability, please e-mail us your request at accommodation@HRLSC.on.ca

In the email, please clearly state that you are making a request for accommodation and explain why you are unable to use the Centre’s telephone intake service. A Centre representative will respond to your request for accommodation. It is important to understand that accommodation will be provided in accordance with your disability-related needs and not on the basis of your preference.

Alternatively, if e-mail is not an option or otherwise unavailable to you, you may request accommodation by any one of the following ways:

  • TTY 416-597-4903 (toll free 1-866-612-8627);
  • Mail to 180 Dundas Street West, 8th Floor Toronto (Ontario) M7A 0A1; or
  • Fax to 416-597-4901. 

If your question is about something other than accommodation in our legal services, please use the main telephone line at 416-597-4900 or 1-866-625-5179.


Responding to your request for accommodation

All requests for accommodation will be considered and evaluated on a case by case basis, as every situation is unique. In many cases, the accommodation request is relatively simple and there is no issue in granting the request for accommodation. Other accommodation requests can be more complicated.

Not every request for accommodation at the HRLSC may be granted on the basis that a request has been made. This is because the accommodation requested must be in accordance with your actual disability related needs.  In some cases, the Centre may need to make inquiries as to the nature and extent of your disability related restrictions in order to properly respond to your request. Sometimes, this may include a request for medical information to support your request for accommodation.

You may be asked, depending on the specific circumstances of your accommodation request, to provide some information about your disability related needs. Each person’s needs are individual and each accommodation request is a unique process.  The Centre will respond to each request for accommodation in a way that is respectful and treats each individual as valued and with dignity. 

The principle of accommodation does not mean that every request for accommodation made must be agreed to or provided by the Centre. Accommodation means making sure that a person receives the full benefit of our legal services by providing the services in a way that ensures equal opportunity to access our services and to equally benefit from our services, depending on that person’s disability related needs.

In addition, in some rare cases, the accommodation requested may not be able to be provided by the Centre because it creates extreme costs or significant health and safety risks (defined as “undue hardship” under the Human Rights Code).


Examples of accommodations

Communication: Accommodation may include, depending on your particular circumstances, communicating in ways that take your specific needs into account. Our staff speak in clear and plain language over the phone. We may provide you with an interpreter (including ASL and LSQ sign language interpreters) or may offer to communicate in other ways, including e-mail, TTY and relay services.

Assistive Devices: The Centre’s facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. Accommodation may include making sure the physical space is wheelchair accessible or enable the use of other mobility devices and aids.

Accessible Documents: All documents created by the Centre are available, upon request, in alternative formats. For example, if you have limited vision we can give you documents in alternative formats, such as Braille, to accommodate your disability related needs.

Service Animals and Support Persons: People requiring the use of a service animal or support person are welcome at the Centre.


Scent-free policy

Please do not wear perfume, after-shave or any other chemical scented product if you are meeting with HRLSC staff in person.


Staff training

HRLSC staff receive training on this policy, how to interact with and communicate with people with disabilities and how to respond to requests for accessibility and accommodation.


Periodic review of this policy

We welcome your suggestions to improve this policy.


Feedback and evaluation

The HRLSC strives to meet and exceed client expectations and welcomes your suggestions to improve our services. Clients who have requested accommodation may be asked to fill out an evaluation form about the services at the Centre so that you can tell us how we are doing at meeting accommodation needs.

If you would to like to provide us with feedback about our accessibility, please complete this survey.


Implementation

The HRLS shall:

  1. Maintain and comply with the Centre’s Accessibility & Accommodation Policy.
  2. Ensure that the Accessibility & Accommodation Policy and the Anti-Ableism Statement of Commitment are available to the public on our website.
  3. Include the Accessibility & Accommodation Policy and the Anti-Ableism Statement of Commitment in orientation materials for all new staff and board members.
  4. Provide staff training on issues relating to access, accommodation, and ableism.
  5. Provide clients the opportunity to provide feedback on how the Centre responded to and/or accommodated their disability related needs.
  6. Review any client feedback on anti-ableist service delivery and on accommodation of disability.
  7. Conduct a survey of staff that includes the opportunity to comment on accommodation of disability-related needs in the workplace, and on compliance with this policy.
  8. Resolve any complaints in accordance with the Centre’s policies for dealing with public complaints and internal complaints.

Reference documents:

Ontario’s Human Rights Code
Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) 2001
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005

 

Posted in August 2019.