Accommodation in the Hiring Process

Definition: Accommodation in the hiring process refers to modifications or adjustments made to the job application process, work environment, or job requirements to ensure equal opportunities for all candidates. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals with disabilities and extends to other protected grounds such as gender identity, gender expression, age, creed, marital status, family status, ethnic origin, and race. The goal is to remove barriers and provide equitable access.

Small Businesses and Recruitment Accommodation Requirements

In Ontario, the duty to accommodate applies to all employers, regardless of size of business. Small businesses are not exempt from these requirements. The Ontario Human Rights Code specifies that employers must accommodate employees and job applicants to the point of undue hardship, considering factors such as cost, outside sources of funding, and health and safety requirements. However, the concept of “undue hardship” is particularly relevant for smaller organizations.

As an example, a small business may not be required to install an expensive elevator if it would cause significant financial strain, but they must still explore other reasonable accommodations, such as locating the person’s workspace in an accessible area. The threshold for what constitutes undue hardship is high, and employers must provide objective evidence to support their claims.

Benefits of a Diverse Workforce

Building an accessible and accommodating recruitment process offers significant business benefits such as providing a wider talent pool to the business, increasing diverse points of view, thought processes and innovation, positive brand reputation and risk reduction. 

In addition to these benefits, it is a legal requirement to comply with the Ontario’s Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Employers have specific duties to accommodate job applicants with disabilities, ensuring a fair and equitable hiring process.

Employer Obligations

Under Ontario’s Human Rights Code and the AODA, employers must include:

  • Notification: Inform all applicants that accommodations are available upon request for any part of the hiring process. For example, include a statement in job postings such as, “We welcome applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.”
  • Inquiry: When scheduling interviews, directly ask candidates if they require any accommodations. Example, “As an equal opportunity employer, we want everyone to be able to perform at their best when interviewing with us. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any point should you require any reasonable adjustments throughout the interview process.”
  • Consultation: Engage in an open discussion with candidates to understand their specific needs and identify appropriate accommodations. For instance, “Can you please let us know what specific accommodations you need to participate fully in the interview?”
  • Confidentiality: Maintain the confidentiality of any disclosed accommodation requirements, sharing this information only with relevant people on a need-to-know basis.

Failure to comply with these obligations can lead to Human Rights complaints and damage a business’s reputation. More importantly, it prevents employers from accessing a diverse talent pool and making unbiased hiring decisions.

Working with External Recruiters

Many businesses partner with external recruitment agencies or headhunters to streamline their talent acquisition efforts. Here’s how to ensure a seamless and compliant process:

Employer’s Responsibility:

  • Clearly communicate your accommodation policies and requirements to the recruiter. Example: “Please ensure that all candidates are informed that accommodations are available upon request for the interview process.”
  • Provide necessary resources and support to facilitate accommodations. Example: “We have a budget allocated for providing necessary accommodations, such as sign language interpreters or accessible interview locations.”
  • Ensure the recruiter understands and complies with all applicable accessibility laws. Example: “Can you confirm that you are familiar with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requirements and always adhere to them during the recruitment process?”

Recruiter’s Responsibilities on Your Behalf:

  • Notifying potential candidates about the availability of accommodations. Example: “We want to inform you that accommodations are available upon request for any part of the interview process.”
  • Inquiring about any accommodation needs when scheduling interviews or assessments. Example: “Do you need any specific accommodations to participate in the interview?”
  • Consulting with candidates to understand specific requirements. Example: “Can you describe the accommodations you need to ensure you can fully engage in the interview process?”
  • Implementing reasonable accommodations in coordination with you. Example: “We will coordinate with the employer to ensure your accommodation needs are met.”
  • Maintaining confidentiality of any disclosed accommodation needs. For example, “Your accommodation request will be kept confidential and only shared with those directly involved in the interview process.”
  • Conducting a fair, unbiased, and non-discriminatory recruitment process. Example: “We are committed to providing an inclusive and equitable recruitment process for all candidates.”


Building diverse, high-performing teams starts with an accessible recruitment process. If you need guidance on developing accessible hiring practices or working effectively with recruitment partners, we are here to help.

Contact Ford Keast LLP in London to Discuss Why Ensuring Accessible Hiring Practices is Important

Contact our expert HR Consultants to discuss the importance of fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces. A key aspect of this commitment is ensuring that recruitment processes are accessible to all candidates, including those who may require accommodations.

To learn more about this topic, please contact our expert HR Consultant online or by telephone at 519-679-9330 ext. 401 to help support you and your business.


Resources: Leckers Law, HR Reporter, Ontario Human Rights Commission, Government of Ontario

News & Events

Office Location

624 Maitland Street
London, Ontario N6B 2Z9
View Office Hours
T (519) 679-9330
F (519) 679-3204