COVID-19's effect on our lives is immense. The pandemic has also triggered a lot of medical issues for many people. People who have mental or physical disabilities during the return to working on campus can be in a precarious position as some may perceive a genuine need for an accommodation as frivolous.
How Would You Request a Medical Accommodation During this Time?
I recommend speaking to APSA before beginning the accommodation process. APSA representatives have extensive knowledge of current accommodation law and practices. We also consult with legal counsel on accommodation issues. The Wellness and Recovery Office (WRO) processes physical or mental disability accommodations, and we can support you through those meetings and requirements.
Doctor's Medical Notes
The WRO will often request a doctor's note to accompany your accommodation. This information should be kept confidential by the WRO as it usually includes private medical information. The questions asked are there to help WRO understand your needs and work with your department in supporting your accommodation. We;re currently working with the WRO on language in the University's accommodation letter for your physician.
If you're a supervisor during this time, Joy Johnson and Mark Lalonde have requested that we be flexible, supportive and kind, as everyone is going at their own pace. Meet with the WRO with an open mind and treat each request on a case-by-case basis.
If you don't have a mental or physical disability, the University has set up interim accommodation procedures (IAP). If your accommodation is part of a protected characteristic (i.e. race, colour, ancestry, marital status, family status, sex), you may apply for an accommodation. The Accommodation Committee will determine if the University will accommodate you. You can learn more about the process on the SFU HR website.
At this time, APSA is consulting with our association lawyer to help determine the merits of SFU's new requirements. We will update you as soon as we know more.