What Medical Evidence Is Required When a Resident Requests Disability Accommodations?

Condominiums in Toronto are required by law to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

According to the Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability, Ontario’s Human Rights Code “protects people with disabilities from discrimination and harassment under the ground of ‘disability’ … in housing, including private rental housing, co-operative housing, social housing and supportive or assisted housing.”

However, in order for landlords, condo managers, and other property owners to protect the disabled, evidence must still exist to prove that a disability is present. Knowing exactly what type of evidence is required can be confusing. Condo managers are often presented with vague notes from doctors and other unclear claims. Are these acceptable as medical evidence of a disability?

Clearly Defining Disabilities in Order to Accommodate Them

A recent statement released by the Ontario Human Rights Commission helps to clarify the issue — and is long overdo.

According to the updated policy, having a hazy explanation or unclear doctor’s note will no longer suffice. Instead, those who require disability accommodations need to request and obtain a clear, official letter from a medical professional, outlining the following:

  • That the individual indeed has a disability
  • What the individual’s limitations are
  • Whether accommodations are necessary for the individual to perform essential requirements of being a condo service user and occupant
  • The types of accommodations they will require in order to fulfill the necessary requirements of being a condo resident and using condo services (or of being employed by the condo corporation)
  • Updates on their status if they expect to recover (in cases where the individual is on leave as a condo employee)

 

Obtaining Sufficient Evidence and Reasonable Substantiation

Condo boards and managers naturally hope that their community members will only request accommodations that are legitimate and necessary. Furthermore, the majority of condominium residents are happy to allow reasonable accommodations to be made for fellow residents who require them.

However, at Horlick, Levitt, and Di Lella, our condominium lawyers in Toronto have seen requests for disability accommodations far outside the realm of legitimate. It’s not uncommon for requests for accommodations to be based on nothing but spurious claims with limited evidence. In these cases, certain individuals are de-legitimizing the human rights granted to Toronto citizens by the Ontario Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability.

Our condominium lawyers fully understand the Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability and its inner workings. We understand how important it is to accommodate those with disabilities, but we also aim to protect condo boards and managers, who need to be particularly careful when receiving requests for accommodations from residents or employees. Granting such exemptions without the proper medical evidence puts undo stress on your association and may negatively impact other residents.

HLD are the condominium lawyers Toronto trusts. To speak with a condominium lawyer at HLD today, book your free consultation here.