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Accommodating Disabilities

Recognizing and Accommodating Employees in Mental Distress

Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada, yet many people living with mental illness want to continue working and are able to do so with appropriate support and accommodation. This in-depth training session will teach participants to recognize the signs of mental health problems, respond appropriately to mental health emergencies, and create effective, legally-compliant accommodations.

Working through realistic scenarios with the guidance of experienced lawyers and mental health experts, participants will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to:

  • Recognize the signs that someone in the workplace is developing a mental health problem
  • Appreciate the impact of the most common mental health problems on workplace behaviour
  • Identify common indicators of suicide risk
  • Respond effectively to “mental health emergencies” such as psychotic episodes
  • Use supportive communication skills to discuss mental health issues in the workplace
  • Understand and combat stigma
  • Obtain necessary medical information and plan effective workplace accommodations



E-mail Roshien Asanta or call (416) 977-6618 for more information. We can help to tailor a Customized Training package for you.

Sample Schedule

9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.


The session leader will review the agenda and goals for the day. Participants will be quizzed on their current knowledge of mental health.

9:20 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

 PART 1:  Introduction to mental health and mental illness

The session leader will introduce the continuum of mental health and provide guidance on recognizing behaviours that suggest the presence of a mental health problem.

Participants will practise identifying behaviours indicative of a mental health problem.

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.


10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

 PART 2:  Stigma

The session leader will provide a description of the stigma that is attached to mental health problems, explain how it affects the workplace, and identify strategies for combating stigma.

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 PART 3:  Helping Skills and Communication

The session leader will introduce helping skills that participants will be able to use in the workplace. Attention will be paid to approaching an individual about a possible mental health problem.

The session leader will also explain the recovery process.

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

 PART 4:  Crises

The session leader will identify effective responses to crises situations (such as suicidal behaviour or psychosis).

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.


1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

 PART 5:  The Duty to Accommodate

Using a fact scenario drawn from a real case, experienced lawyers will review key aspects of the legal duty to accommodate, including:

  • When do employers or union representatives have a duty to ask an employee if she or he requires accommodation because of a mental disability?
  • What medical information can employers request to support the accommodation process?
  • When will accommodation constitute undue hardship?

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

 PART 6:  Tips and Tools for Planning Accommodation

Session leaders will introduce resources and templates that will assist attendees in planning appropriate accommodations.

3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

 PART 7:  Tips and Tools for Planning Accommodation

In groups participants will work through scenarios drawn from real life to practise applying the knowledge and skills covered in the session.

Mental health and legal experts will provide feedback on attendees' application of both knowledge and skills.

4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 CONCLUSION:  Wrap-up and Q & A

Session leaders will provide a concise review of important concepts and skills covered during the training session and will take questions from participants.


Additional Information

Includes materials, with case summaries and analyses, prepared by Lancaster's legal staff.