Policy and Procedures for Accommodations 2009 by Levone

VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 5

									THE LAW SOCIETY OF UPPER CANADA 130 QUEEN STREET WEST, TORONTO, ON M5H 2N6
PHONE: 416-947-3315 OR 1-800-668-7380 EXT. 3315 FAX: 416-947-9070

CONTACT US OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR: REGISTRAR@LSUC.ON.CA SUPPORT SERVICES: SUPPORTSERVICES@LSUC.ON.CA SPECIAL NEEDS: SPECIALNEEDS@LSUC.ON.CA

VISIT WWW.LSUC.ON.CA

SUPPORT SERVICES

Policy and Procedures for Accommodations for Candidates in the Paralegal Licensing Process
Candidates to Write the Paralegal Licensing Examination
Rationale As the governing body of a profession concerned with justice, The Law Society of Upper Canada (hereinafter “LSUC”) has both a legal obligation under the Ontario Human Rights Code (hereinafter “the Code”) and a strong public interest in ensuring that all of its operations reflect principles of equity. In a number of its publications, such as its Bicentennial Report and Recommendations on Equity Issues in the Legal Profession1, the Law Society has undertaken measures to put its commitment to equity into everyday practice. The LSUC has acknowledged that treating people identically is not synonymous with treating them equally. Substantive equality requires the accommodation of differences that arise from the personal characteristics cited in the Code. If a rule, requirement or expectation of the Licensing Process creates difficulty for an individual because of factors related to the personal characteristics enumerated in the Code, the duty to accommodate arises. The relevant personal characteristics are: race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability (hereinafter “enumerated grounds”). The most common requests for accommodation are based on needs related to disabilities, pregnancy, religion, language and parental responsibilities. Practices for accommodating candidates are usually considered on an ad hoc basis and accommodations are made on an individualized basis. In order to make our process transparent and to assist both candidates and the Law Society in processing requests for accommodations, we have identified specific roles and responsibilities of candidates and the Law Society administration in the provision of such services, along with a procedure to request an accommodation. Policy The Office of the Registrar is committed to ensuring that the requirements of the Paralegal Licensing Process are directly and logically connected to the competent provision of legal services and that candidates to be licensed to provide legal services in Ontario are not effectively barred from qualifying because of race, ancestry, place or origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status and/or disability. Assessing whether an accommodation is needed and what accommodation may be appropriate is an ongoing obligation of Support Services. In carrying out its responsibility, the Office of the Registrar must be equipped to respond to the need for both system-wide accommodation and individualized, short-term or experimental accommodation. Purpose The purpose of this policy and the procedures is threefold: 1. to identify the issues that arise in developing accommodation strategies; 2. to set principles and practice guidelines in respect of accommodation; and 3. to set out, in written form, the procedures and strategies for accommodation that have been developed over the past years. Scope This policy and the procedures will be applicable to all locations at which examinations are conducted.
1

May 1997 LSUC.

PA16POL 11/2009

P OLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR A CCOMMODATIONS 2009

Procedures 1.0 Identify Issues that Arise in Developing Accommodation Strategies 1.1 A need for individualized accommodation can come up at any time, is often unforeseen by the Office of the Registrar, and may be unforeseeable even by the candidate requiring the accommodation, and may involve ad-hoc, temporary or experimental strategies. Arriving at an appropriate strategy requires a thorough grounding in the relevant legal obligations, the ability and willingness to collaborate with the affected candidate(s) and a readiness to act quickly (since the individual(s) ideally need to finish the Paralegal Licensing Process in a timely fashion). 1.2 The Office of the Registrar should maintain detailed written records concerning its annual short, medium and longterm planning sessions and its experiments in various accommodation strategies, their success or failure, and points to be learned there from. 1.3 Accommodation will not be provided if it imposes undue hardship on the LSUC. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Registrar. If accommodation is refused, the refusal can be brought to the Director of Professional Development and Competence (see Appeal Procedure - 4.0). Considerations that may influence this determination include substantial economic hardship on the LSUC, health and safety considerations, the unavailability of persons with appropriate expertise, a significant adverse impact on learning opportunities for other candidates, a significant alteration of the fundamental nature of the program or service or undue disruption of the institution’s program operations. 2.0 Establish Principles and Practice Guidelines in Respect of Accommodations 2.1 The Office of the Registrar will undertake a review of its practices, on a regular basis, to identify barriers that might affect candidates because of an enumerated ground under the Code. 2.2 Information collected from you, by the Office of the Registrar, is kept strictly confidential and is used solely for the purpose of providing you with accommodations. Access to this information is restricted to designated staff working on your behalf and will not be disclosed without your written consent. 2.3 The Office of the Registrar will inform those involved in the examinations process of its policy and procedures and note their importance to the success of the Paralegal Licensing Process and to ensuring that candidates’ needs under the Code are met. 2.4 The Office of the Registrar will inform all candidates of its accommodation policy, of the “information- collection and planning service”, and the nature of available accommodations prior to the commencement of the examinations process. The Office of the Registrar will encourage candidates to identify personal characteristics that might involve a need for accommodation, and to bring to the attention of the Office of the Registrar, as soon as possible, barriers that might affect candidates because of the personal characteristics enumerated in the policy. 2.5 If a candidate requests an accommodation, the Office of the Registrar will undertake the following procedure, with a view to assessing the need for and the nature of one or more suitable accommodation strategies: 2.5.1 The Registrar or his or her designate, will request from the candidate sufficient information to identify the ground or grounds, for example disability, religion or family responsibility/status, under which he or she is requesting the accommodation. The candidate will meet and/or discuss with the Registrar, or his or her designate, to indicate why the accommodation is required, confirm the existence of a need for accommodation and the type(s) of accommodation required. The candidate will be expected to cooperate in obtaining necessary information and will participate in discussions about solutions. 2.5.2 A number of accommodation strategies may be used to fulfill the Office of the Registrar’s obligations. In the interest of both prompt attention to the needs of a particular candidate and the need to explore the utility of various accommodation strategies, an interim or experimental strategy may be implemented. The Office of the Registrar will consult with the requesting candidate, and consider any suggestion offered by the requesting candidate(s), in arriving at a timely individual-based strategy. The Office of the Registrar may consult more widely in attempting to devise the
- 2 of 5 -

P OLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR A CCOMMODATIONS 2009

most suitable strategy for any accommodation that may be offered more generally, while maintaining confidentiality per section 2.2. 2.5.3 Accommodation will be offered to the point of undue hardship. If the Office of the Registrar asserts that a requested accommodation imposes undue hardship, it will prepare a written report setting out the nature of the accommodation refused, and the factors that support its view that undue hardship would ensue.2 3.0 Current Assistance Initiatives and Procedures Developed for Special Needs Accommodation to the Paralegal Licensing Process 3.1 All requests for accommodation are considered on an individualized basis. In so doing, Support Services 3.1.1 Ensures “fair, equal, and non-discriminatory” access to all components of the Paralegal Licensing Process. 3.1.2 Coordinates and provides supports that improve the learning environment of candidates, such as access to technical aids and other support built around candidates and staff. 3.1.3 Provides accommodation for candidates who are unable to comply with the conditions or requirements of the Paralegal Licensing Process, by adapting the conditions or requirements or by providing alternative ways for the individual to meet the conditions or requirements. 3.2 Exam Assistance Accommodations (Examples) 3.2.1 3.2.2 3.2.3 3.2.4 3.2.5 3.2.6 Extended time to complete examination. Use of special equipment such as a personal computer. Use of private rooms. Examination in alternative forms such as audio tape, Braille, text to speech. Use of readers, scribes in the examination setting. Provide appropriate invigilation through Support Services.

4.0 Procedure for Requesting an Accommodation or Appeal 4.1 Requests for accommodation made under this policy are dealt with, in the majority of cases, through Support Services. 4.2 A request for accommodation must be made in sufficient detail, and be accompanied by appropriate verifiable documentation, as to ensure that the Support Services has all the information it requires to determine the best accommodation. 4.3 If the accommodation cannot be made or is unsatisfactory, the candidate may: 4.3.1 4.3.2 4.3.3 Discuss the request with the Associate Registrar. If unresolved, discuss the request with the Registrar. If unresolved, file an appeal with the Director of Professional Development and Competence.

4.4 The decision on an appeal by the Director of Professional Development and Competence is final.

2

The Code states, “undue hardship on the employer or on the service provider will be assessed by considering the cost, outside sources of funding, if any, and health and safety requirements”. Several factors are therefore excluded from considerations that are frequently raised by respondents. These are business inconvenience, employee morale, customer preference, and collective agreements or contracts. Denotes services offered by Support Services.

- 3 of 5 -

P OLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR A CCOMMODATIONS 2009

Appendix 1
Human Rights Code R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER H.19
PART I FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION Services 1. Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 1; 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (1); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (1). … Vocational associations 6. Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to membership in any trade union, trade or occupational association or self-governing profession without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 6; 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (7); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (7). … Infringement prohibited 9. No person shall infringe or do, directly or indirectly, anything that infringes a right under this Part. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 9. PART II INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION Definitions re: Parts I and II 10. (1) In Part I and in this Part, “age” means an age that is eighteen years or more; (“âge”) “disability” means, (a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device, - 4 of 5 (b) a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability, (c) a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,

(d) a mental disorder, or (e) an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997; (“handicap”)

“equal” means subject to all requirements, qualifications and considerations that are not a prohibited ground of discrimination; (“égal”) “family status” means the status of being in a parent and child relationship; (“état familial”) “group insurance” means insurance whereby the lives or wellbeing or the lives and well-being of a number of persons are insured severally under a single contract between an insurer and an association or an employer or other person; (“assurance-groupe”) “harassment” means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; (“harcèlement”) “marital status” means the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced or separated and includes the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside marriage; (“état matrimonial”) “record of offences” means a conviction for, (a) an offence in respect of which a pardon has been granted under the Criminal Records Act (Canada) and has not been revoked, or

(b) an offence in respect of any provincial enactment; (“casier judiciaire”) “services” does not include a levy, fee, tax or periodic payment imposed by law; (“services”) “spouse” means the person to whom a person is married or with whom the person is living in a conjugal relationship outside marriage. (“conjoint”) R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 10 (1); 1993, c. 27, Sched.; 1997, c. 16, s. 8; 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (8); 2001, c. 13, s. 19; 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (2, 3); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (810). …

P OLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR A CCOMMODATIONS 2009 Pregnancy (2) The right to equal treatment without discrimination because of sex includes the right to equal treatment without discrimination because a woman is or may become pregnant. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 10 (2). Past and presumed disabilities (3) The right to equal treatment without discrimination because of disability includes the right to equal treatment without discrimination because a person has or has had a disability or is believed to have or to have had a disability. 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (4). Constructive discrimination 11. (1) A right of a person under Part I is infringed where a requirement, qualification or factor exists that is not discrimination on a prohibited ground but that results in the exclusion, restriction or preference of a group of persons who are identified by a prohibited ground of discrimination and of whom the person is a member, except where, (a) the requirement, qualification or factor is reasonable and bona fide in the circumstances; or Special programs 14. (1) A right under Part I is not infringed by the implementation of a special program designed to relieve hardship or economic disadvantage or to assist disadvantaged persons or groups to achieve or attempt to achieve equal opportunity or that is likely to contribute to the elimination of the infringement of rights under Part I. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 14 (1). … Disability 17. (1) A right of a person under this Act is not infringed for the reason only that the person is incapable of performing or fulfilling the essential duties or requirements attending the exercise of the right because of disability. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 17 (1); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (5). Accommodation (2) The Commission, the Tribunal or a court shall not find a person incapable unless it is satisfied that the needs of the person cannot be accommodated without undue hardship on the person responsible for accommodating those needs, considering the cost, outside sources of funding, if any, and health and safety requirements, if any. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 17 (2); 1994, c. 27, s. 65 (2); 2002, c. 18, Sched. C, s. 3 (1). Idem (3) The Commission, the Tribunal or a court shall consider any standards prescribed by the regulations for assessing what is undue hardship. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 17 (3); 1994, c. 27, s. 65 (2); 2002, c. 18, Sched. C, s. 3 (2). … …

(b) it is declared in this Act, other than in section 17, that to discriminate because of such ground is not an infringement of a right. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 11 (1). Idem (2) The Commission, the Tribunal or a court shall not find that a requirement, qualification or factor is reasonable and bona fide in the circumstances unless it is satisfied that the needs of the group of which the person is a member cannot be accommodated without undue hardship on the person responsible for accommodating those needs, considering the cost, outside sources of funding, if any, and health and safety requirements, if any. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 11 (2); 1994, c. 27, s. 65 (1); 2002, c. 18, Sched. C, s. 2 (1).

- 5 of 5 -


								
To top