According to a news release from CNW Group today, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has launched a new interactive web based tool called Accommodation Works! – A user-friendly guide to working together on health issues in the workplace. The news release indicated the guide is intended to help create a shared understanding of accommodating health-related issues in the workplace. Since workers, employers, unions, insurers, and health care providers tend to understand accommodation differently, the new guide helps to create a common language and standardized guidelines. The hope is this guide will help to shift the focus from the process to the person.
After having reviewed the guide, it certainly seems to be a comprehensive tool. Many links have also been included to outside sources where more information can be obtained. However, one of the main drawbacks of this guide may be its strong focus on unionized environments. Since small organizations (those with 1-99 employees) make up 98.2% of businesses in Canada http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/eng/02804.html and tend not to be unionized with clear standards and norms (see the article by Eakin, Champoux and MacEachen), it would appear that a guide for workplace accommodation in these types of environments is needed. While it is recognized that the fundamental principles of accommodation do not differ based on organization size, a non-unionized workplace does not have labour representation which may directly impact accommodation processes due to the labour-management power imbalance. What are your thoughts on this new guide and how do you see it being useful in a non-unionized workplace?