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The Legal Responsibilities of Post-Secondary Educational Institutions

Under the Duty to Accommodate, Post-Secondary educational institutions are required to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities in order to offer equitable access to learning opportunities in the academic environment. This does not mean removing the essential requirements of a program or course, even though adaptations may be required to meet such essential requirements.

Generally speaking, accommodations are provided when students makes their needs for accommodations known and their eligibility for accommodations are confirmed, often through medical documentation.

Accommodations must be provided unless the post-secondary institution can prove undue hardship. The bar for undue hardship is very high. The post-secondary institution must provide concrete evidence. For example, if the institution claims that the accommodations are cost prohibitive, it must provide proof through evidence of “…whether there are ways of reducing costs, the size of the service-provider’s enterprise and the economic conditions facing it, the proportion of the cost relative to the service-provider’s total funds, the level of interference with the enterprise, the ability to shift and recover costs throughout the operation, and the impact and availability of external funding.” (Kim Hart, 2018, slide 47)



An Overview of Canada’s Accessibility Laws: A Look at the Old and the New. 
Hart, Kim (September 7, 2018). BCIT – PD DAY: Duty to Accommodate.