Accommodations for Caregiving Responsibilities

Western Administration is required to accommodate Members with care-giving responsibilities due to measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes situations where another family member is ill or in self-isolation, where their child’s school or daycare facility is closed, or where they have assumed greater care responsibilities for elders or other family members with special needs.

Members who are experiencing difficulty maintaining the level of their regular Academic Responsibilities due to care-giving responsibilities are urged to immediately and explicitly ask their Deans in writing for an accommodation. Regardless of any accommodation provided, it is important to have an official record as this may be important in performance evaluations down the road.

We understand that our members have gone above and beyond to meet the demands of the COVID-19 situationand UWOFA is here to provide guidance and support. Contact UWOFA if you would like advice regarding any discussions with your Dean. You may bring an academic colleague with you to any meetings and can also contact your faculty representative or UWOFA Board representative.

Members should consider these points when speaking to their Dean about accommodations:

  1. Be prepared to show that there is a "genuine obligation to provide care"as opposed to a"personal choice."
  2. Be prepared to show that other realistic alternatives have been explored but will not resolve the need for accommodation either in whole or in part. For instance, working out “shifts” with another parent, trusting an older child to babysit.
  3. Be prepared to participate in discussions and be open to reasonable arrangements even if they are not the Member’s preferred solution.
  4. Be open to adjusting a previously agreed upon accommodation solution in the event that circumstances change.

Possible accommodations could be:

  • Modified productivity expectations
  • Extended deadlines
  • Reduced workload

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has also issued a policy statement whereby Employers should accommodate employees with care-giving responsibilities to the point of undue hardship.

Remember that though Members must be reasonable in their expectations, the Employer’s duty to accommodate is strong.