Medical professionals play a key role when persons with disabilities are seeking accommodations so they can equally benefit from and take part in social areas covered under the Code. To supplement post-secondary institutions’ efforts to make medical documentation requirements consistent with the Code, and to address the issue of medical documentation for accommodation purposes more broadly, the OHRC wrote to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) drawing attention to sections of the OHRC’s latest policy (the Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability), which deals with the human rights principles relating to medical documentation of disabilities for accommodation purposes (Appendix 4). The CPSO responded by committing to update relevant policies as necessary to incorporate these principles and to communicate with its members about the OHRC’s policy.
The human rights principles relating to accommodation, which arose in the post-secondary context, have broader application. In all social areas (including employment, services, housing and membership in unions), replacing an emphasis on diagnosis with a focus on functional limitations associated with a disability allows for implementing appropriate accommodations that respect the dignity and privacy interests of people with disabilities. In February 2017, the OHRC reaffirmed this in its Policy statement on medical documentation to be provided when a disability-related accommodation request is made.
This policy statement highlights the type and scope of medical information to be provided to support an accommodation request. This information should include:
- That the person has a disability
- The limitations or needs associated with the disability
- Whether the person can perform the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user, with or without accommodation
- The type of accommodation(s) that may be needed to allow the person to fulfill the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user, etc.
- In employment, regular updates about when the person expects to come back to work, if they are on leave.
Where more information about a person’s disability is needed, the information requested must be the least intrusive of the person’s privacy while still giving the organization enough information to make an informed decision about the accommodation.
 Ontario Human Rights Commission, Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability (2017), online: www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-ableism-and-discrimination-based-disability.
 Ontario Human Rights Commission, Policy statement on medical documentation to be provided when a disability-related accommodation request is made [Medical documentation policy statement], online: www.ohrc.on.ca/en/ohrc-policy-position-medical-documentation-be-provided-when-disability-related-accommodation-request.