CAN-ASC-1.1 Draft standard on employment

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This is the first edition of ASC 1.1 Standard on employment.

This Standard is intended to align with other relevant standards, such as:

  • CSA Z1011 Work disability management system

Note: This Standard is also intended to align with the accessibility planning framework. This was developed via the office of the Accessibility Commissioner using relevant human rights codes and employment legislation, including:

  • Accessible Canada Act

  • Canada Labour Code
  • Canadian Human Rights Act
  • Employment Equity Act

This Standard specifies requirements for a documented and systematic approach to developing, implementing, and maintaining accessible and inclusive workplaces, and provides complementary information in Annexes (A through F).

Accessibility Standards Canada models the language used in the Accessible Canada Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by using person-first language (see definition of person-first language in Clause 4). Careful selection of language when referring to a group of people is vital. The proper use of language conveys respect, dignity, and value, and moves away from labelling, stereotyping and discrimination.

This Standard centres on the intersecting identities within which disability is experienced. It recognizes that the lived experience of any person with a disability will be unique and is not reflective of others with the same disabilities or persons with disabilities as a whole. In keeping with the principle of intersectional experience, this Standard provides multiple formats of communication and language that persons with disabilities use to interact with the world and other people. In addition, this Standard takes an equity approach so that one type or subtype of disability does not take precedence over another.

This voluntary Standard can be used for conformity assessment.

Development of this Standard was undertaken by Accessibility Standards Canada (ASC). The content was prepared by the Employment Technical Committee impanelled by ASC, under the authority of ASC management, and has been formally approved by the Technical Committee.


  1. This Standard was developed by consensus, which is defined as a substantial agreement implying much more than a simple majority, but not necessarily unanimity. Consistent with this definition, a member may be included in the Technical Committee list, but yet not be in complete agreement with all the clauses in this Standard.

  2. This Standard is subject to periodic review, and suggestions for improvement will be referred to the appropriate technical committee.

Legal notice for draft standards

Legal notice for draft standards

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Summary of the draft standard

During their employment journey, people with disabilities can encounter many barriers to accessibility and inclusion in the work environment. The goal of this standard is to address work-related barriers caused by both individual actions and systems.

This standard envisions a work environment that is:

  • accessible, 
  • inclusive, 
  • barrier-free, and
  • free of discrimination.

Like all of Accessibility Standards Canada’s standards, this one contributes to  a Canada without barriers by 2040. It supports our mandate as well as the Accessible Canada Act. It is based on the disability community’s philosophy of “Nothing without us.” This means that people with disabilities are involved in decisions that affect them.

This is the first version of the standard, developed by Accessibility Standards Canada’s technical committee on employment. The committee includes experts with disabilities. It made sure the standard also aligns with other relevant standards, such as the CSA Z1011: Work disability management system.

The standard will facilitate accessibility and inclusion in the work environment. It defines a framework for making systemic change by providing solutions and policies for work environments. For balance, it provides approaches in accessibility and accommodation that focus on the individual.

Key requirements of the standard 

  • Develop organizational systems, policies, and practices. Develop structural supports and show leadership 
    • Emphasize the need for the organization to support accessibility and the inclusion of workers with disabilities
      • Do this by creating measurable objectives and supporting policies
    • Having an inclusive and accessible employment system requires the support of key parties in the work environment 
      • Ensure these parties have clear roles and responsibilities related to accessibility and inclusion
  • Engage, educate, and create a supportive culture in the work environment
    • All workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity
      • Ensure the organization aligns with this principle in a way that is healthy and inclusive of disabilities
    • This applies to the work environment culture, leadership, communication, worker participation, training, and education 
  • Create a disability management system. Accommodate the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities in the work environment
    • A work disability management system addresses the accommodation needs of persons with disabilities
      • This is true whether their disability is longstanding or acquired while at the organization 
    • Develop policies, processes, and programs for disability management in the work environment
  • Identify, prevent, and remove barriers encountered during recruitment, hiring, and onboarding
    • When the recruitment process is fully accessible, it enables organizations to diversify the work environment and reach qualified applicants. It also reduces the likelihood of discrimination
    • The principle of treating people equitably, without discrimination, is to be respected throughout the recruitment and hiring process. This will ensure maximum benefit to the organization. It will also provide more equitable opportunities for workers with and without disabilities
  • Identify, prevent, and remove barriers encountered in worker retention, professional development, pay equity (compensation), performance management, and job separation
    • Create policies and practices that will strengthen job retention and career advancement for all workers, with a focus on workers with disabilities
    • This section also outlines responsibilities for creating an accessible work environment that will: 
      • foster the continued employment of workers; 
      • provide workers with equitable opportunities for training and promotion; and 
      • ensure workers are compensated based on merit. 
    • In addition, this section describes management’s responsibility for providing accommodations that will not create additional barriers for workers with disabilities

Table of contents

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1. Introduction
2. Scope
3. Reference publications
4. Definitions
5. Structural support, policy, and leadership (systems, policies and practices)
6. Culture, engagement, and education
7. Recruitment, hiring and onboarding
8. Retention and career development
9. Work disability management, accommodations, stay at work and return to work
Annex A (informative)
Annex B (informative)
Annex C (informative)
Annex D (informative)
Annex E (informative)
Annex F (informative)