Although people may receive additional supports or accommodations if they disclose a disability, disclosure can also lead to stigma or discrimination. There are real risks associated with disclosing a mental health disability and some people may choose not to disclose for this reason.
Did You Know?
In Ontario, generally, accommodation providers do not have the right to know a person’s confidential medical information, such as the cause of the disability, diagnosis, symptoms or treatment, unless these clearly relate to the accommodation being sought, or the person’s needs are complex, challenging or unclear and more information is needed. In rare situations where a person’s accommodation needs are complex, challenging or unclear, the person may be asked to co-operate by providing more information, up to and including a diagnosis. In such situations, the accommodation provider must be able to clearly justify why the information is needed.
Maintain confidentiality of all disability-related information. Documentation supporting the need for an accommodation should only be provided to the people who need to be aware of the information. Medical information should be kept separately from personnel files, or files associated with service delivery or tenancy. Make sure that all conversations about accessibility and accommodations happen in private places and that all documentation is stored securely.
In cases where there are compelling circumstances affecting the health and safety of an individual, it may be necessary to disclose information about their health to others. This disclosure must be done in accordance with privacy laws. For more information, contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Source: Page 55-56 of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Preventing Discrimination Based on Mental Health Disabilities and Addictions.
Resource: Read more about what the Ontario Human Rights Commission has to say about the duty to accommodate mental health disabilities and whether or not you should ask for documentation when someone discloses an accommodation need.