Some individuals require the presence of a support person as an accommodation for their mental health-related disability. Where possible, support people should be permitted at no extra cost or the cost of entry should be disclosed well in advance. The support person should be selected by the individual with a disability and should only act on the wishes of the person with a disability.
Did You Know?
Some persons with disabilities, including mental health-related disabilities, use support persons. As explained in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, support persons accompany a person with a disability to help with communication, mobility, personal care or medical needs, or with access to goods or services.
A support person may assist a person with a disability to communicate or express thoughts or wishes, but should not share their own thoughts or ideas unless asked to do so by the person with a disability.
Although a support person may be a friend or family member of the person with a disability, they are not acting in the capacity of friend or family member when providing support as indicated above.
Welcome support persons for people with mental health disabilities. Work with people with mental health disabilities to establish clear expectations for support persons. Where fees are required, do not charge additional costs for the support person.
Resource: To welcome and facilitate the role of support persons within their agency, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Sudbury/Manitoulin Branch has developed a set of simple guidelines and a consent form. The guidelines explain the role and purpose of a support person, the requirement of confidentiality, as well as a statement of respect. The consent form is to be signed by the person with a disability and the support person to indicate consent to receiving and providing support within a context in which confidential information may be shared. These documents are a great resource for any service provider or organization that is interested in protecting the role of support persons and the confidentiality of persons with disabilities. Read the CMHA Sudbury Manitoulin documents.
Resource: The Canadian Transportation Agency has developed a detailed resource tool to help people with disabilities and service providers understand how to accommodate support persons in travel. This tool could be a useful guide for other contexts.