• Rely on demonstrations whenever possible.
  • Allow extra communication time for the training process.
  • Provide an outline or agenda.
  • Use clear and concise written instructions.
  • Assign a willing person to work directly with the new employee during the training period.
  • Offer frequent breaks to alleviate visual fatigue from speechreading and/or watching the sign language interpreter.
  • If training videos for equipment or technical systems are not close captioned, obtain scripts from the manufacturer or consider having them captioned for your Deaf or hard of hearing employee and other employees.
Employer and Employee Responsibilities
The Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial law that provides equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific areas such as employment, housing and services, goods and facilities. The Code states that everyone has the right to be equally treated in employment, to have access to the same opportunities and benefits, and be treated with equal dignity and respect on seventeen grounds. In the workplace, employers are required to provide accommodations for persons with disabilities, including persons with sensory disabilities so that they can perform the essential duties of the job. Employment includes full and part-time, contract work, work done by temporary staff from agencies, probationary periods, and may even include volunteer work. The right to equal treatment in employment applies to every aspect of the employment relationship, including:
  • Job applications
  • Recruitment
  • Training
  • Transfers /promotions
  • Dismissal/layoffs
  • Pay and benefits
  • Performance appraisals and discipline
  • Working conditions
Refer to Human Rights At Work 2008 Third Edition, Ontario Human Rights Commission, Government of Ontario, Toronto, Canada 2008 Accommodations are best accomplished through a shared conversation and agreement between employer and employee.

(R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 5 (1); 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (5); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (5); 2012, c. 7, s. 4 (1))(Current version 2018)
The Accommodation Process: 5 Steps
It’s important to realize that people who are deaf or have hearing loss have different accommodation preferences. There is no ‘one size fits all’ accommodation plan. Any accommodation plan should enable the employee to carry out the job’s identified essential duties, while looking at ways of restructuring, if necessary, non-essential duties. These five steps can be incorporated into your workplace policy.

STEP 1: Employee makes accommodation request (employee responsibility)
  • stating barriers in the job that affect the performance of job duties.
STEP 2: Employer responds (employer responsibility)
  • acknowledging the request as soon as possible, setting out clear timelines for various stages of the process or if for any reason you must refuse a request, provide explicit reasons.
STEP 3: Employee/employer initial meeting
  • share responsibility in developing and implementing the entire process.
  • Other professionals may be involved (such as a union, professional association, or an accommodation specialist).
The Canadian Hearing Society has a Workplace Communication Assessment Tool designed to help assess the needs of a workplace looking to become communication barrier-free. Use this tool to develop an Accommodation Plan, or ask a CHS Employment Consultant to use it for you. Contact CHS Employment Services.

STEP 4: Investigate barriers and communication needs to do the job successfully.
  • Internal resources might include a human resources consultant or computer systems staff.
  • External resources could include accommodation specialists such as The Canadian Hearing Society, health care practitioners or physicians, or community organizations involved with the Deaf community, advocacy and services (See Resources).
  • If a trial period demonstrates that an accommodation choice is unsuitable, consider a temporary job restructuring or other interim arrangements while exploring new options.
STEP 5: Evaluate the Accommodation on a regular basis
  • Both the employer and employee consider other accommodation plans if the chosen accommodations are not successful.
  • It may also be necessary to revisit the accommodation plan when changes to organizational policies and practices create new challenges. For example, a change in a computer network could affect an employee’s efficient use of a technology assistance connected to the system.
•An employee’s hearing loss or needs may change over time, or they could have a job promotion which could change the type of accommodation needed.

Educating Other Employees
Use discretion in informing other employees of a worker’s hearing loss. Many people prefer to take the lead on either disclosing their hearing loss or keeping it private. It is important that the employee’s feelings on disclosure are respected. You should, however, discuss this situation in more detail with the employee if:
  • there are safety issues.
  • other employees and their ability to do their job are in some way affected by the employee’s hearing loss or if they don’t understand the reasons for any modifications to the employee’s job.
  • the employee’s own job performance is affected by his or her hearing loss.
If the employee is comfortable in disclosing this information, other co-workers should be informed of how best to communicate. The following are some ideas on how to educate other employees and engage your employee who is deaf or hard of hearing:
  • Schedule anti-ableism/ anti-audism training and cross-cultural training that includes Communication Tips for co-workers. The Canadian Hearing Society can provide this training. Positive relationships flourish when co-workers understand how the new employee communicates and what his or her job entails, especially if any modification has been made to the position. Be sure to involve the deaf or hard of hearing employee in this session.
  • Employees appreciate the opportunity to learn sign language (e.g., some signs and finger spelling) to improve communication with Deaf co-workers. This has a proven positive effect on employee morale and productivity.
  • Employees who communicate well with each other will work well with each other. Provide opportunities for the deaf or hard of hearing person and co-workers to get to know each other on a personal level.
  • Support and encourage the inclusion of employees who are deaf or have a hearing loss in day-to-day social activities. Distribute written notices of social events, including the time, place and date.