Advanced Topics in Accommodation: Responding to complex disability, family status, and religious practice claims

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Event date: 
Tuesday, October 2, 2018 (All day)
Name of Organization: 
Lancaster House

OTTAWA Pre Workshop

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM 

Advanced Topics in Accommodation: Responding to complex disability, family status, and religious practice claims

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 


Ian Mackenzie Arbitrator/Mediator

Laura Ross Employment Relations Officer, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)

Craig Stehr Employer Counsel, Gowlings WLG


Some of the most challenging situations facing employers and unions in the workplace involve the accommodation of complex medical conditions, family status obligations and religious practices.Questions to be addressed in this workshop include the entitlement to and adequacy of information, the suitability of accommodation measures, and the appropriate response to conflicting rights and obligations.An experienced arbitrator and labour relations practitioners will build on participants’ existing knowledge of workplace accommodation principles by addressing complex issues such as:

  • In circumstances where doubt arises as to the objectivity and sufficiency of medical information, what additional information can the employer seek in order to evaluate appropriate accommodations?
  • How should workplace parties respond to requests for accommodation of disabilities that have controversial diagnoses, such as chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, or multiple chemical sensitivities?
  • To what extent can the employer enquire into the measures that the employee has already taken to self-accommodate family status obligations and second-guess the employee’s attempts to balance family and work obligations?
  • What steps should be taken if a worker expresses religious beliefs or requests a religious accommodation that infringes on the rights of others? For example, what is an appropriate response to an employee who refuses to work with persons of a different gender based on religious grounds?
  • How should employers and unions respond to a request for accommodation that conflicts with terms of the collective agreement or the accommodation requests of other employees?