Procedures and Guidelines

Accommodation of residents with disabilities

Categories: health safety wellness PGME

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To provide guidance to support and to promote the training of Residents with documented disabilities through reasonable accommodation, in compliance with applicable laws and regulation.


The University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine, Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) is committed to reasonable accommodation of the needs of Residents with documented disabilities by making efforts to create a barrier-free learning environment and by providing other supports and services within the limits of available resources.

Accommodation cannot compromise patient safety and well-being and must take into consideration the rights and needs of other Residents.

Regardless of disability, all Residents must meet educational standards for certification and independent practice.

Accommodation is a shared responsibility. It is most effectively provided when those involved, including the Resident, approach the process with fairness, sensitivity, respect for confidentiality and co-operation. This requires the exchange of relevant information to the appropriate parties, and constructive negotiation to reach mutually acceptable solutions.


For the purposes of this policy, disabilities are those defined as such in Section 2(1)(d.1) of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.

Disability means: (i) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes: (A) epilepsy; (B) any degree of paralysis; (C) amputation; (D) lack of physical co-ordination; (E) blindness or visual impediment; (F) deafness or hearing impediment; (G) muteness or speech impediment; or (H) physical reliance on a service animal, wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device; or (ii) any of: (A) an intellectual disability or impairment; (B) a learning disability or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in the comprehension or use of symbols or spoken language; or (C) a mental disorder’.

Scope of this Policy

This policy applies to all individuals with disabilities who: are considering applying to the PGME residency training programs; have applied to the PGME residency training programs; have been accepted into a PGME residency training program; are currently enrolled in a PGME residency training program at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan.

Given the intensive nature of the residency training, as well as the specialized needs of the medical profession, investigation of the feasibility of accommodation options may take some time. In addition, the implementation of accommodation plan, when deemed feasible, may involve some modifications to the scheduling of components of the residency program. As such, the sooner a student registers, the sooner the process for accommodation can begin.

This policy is based on Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and applicable laws, as well as University of Saskatchewan policy on Academic Accommodation and Access.


The College of Medicine, PGME is committed to using reasonable accommodations and progressive efforts to ensure that Residents with documented disabilities are considered for selection to residency programs for which they are academically qualified, ensuring full and safe access to the educational and learning environment and to the University facilities and services.

Residents, or those applying for a residency with a documented disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodation(s) that will assist them in meeting the essential skills and abilities associated with the residency program in which they have been accepted.

Each Resident with a documented disability is entitled to reasonable accommodation, to the point of undue hardship that will assist her or him to meet the academic as well as the technical standards.

The test of undue hardship is assessed on a case by case basis at the University level with input from the residency program, department/division, the Saskatchewan Health Authority and may also include input from other relevant bodies.

Consideration of undue hardship will include, but will not be limited to the following factors: the nature of the requested or required accommodation, patient health and safety concerns, benefit of the accommodation, efficacy, impact on other protected rights, impact on other Residents, members of health care teams and service users, disruption to collective agreements, financial costs of the accommodation.

The University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine, PGME will endeavour to meet the identified needs of each Resident through reasonable accommodation by adapting services, courses, and programs if feasible and as resources allow (and may require members of the University and clinical community to exercise creativity and flexibility in responding to the needs of students with disabilities), while maintaining appropriate academic standards.

The duty to provide reasonable accommodation must be determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant factors. A reasonable accommodation cannot place incremental patient care responsibilities on other members of the health care team. A reasonable accommodation must take into consideration the needs of other Residents and must not negatively impact the ability of other learners to achieve their learning goals and objectives.

A reasonable accommodation must not lower the educational standards required of the Resident as set out in the document entitled Essential Skills & Abilities Required for Postgraduate Medical Education.

The Resident with a disability must be able to demonstrate the knowledge and perform the necessary skills independently. In certain circumstances an intermediary may be necessary to assist in effecting a reasonable accommodation. The appropriateness of an intermediary will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. However, no disability can be accommodated if the intermediary has to provide cognitive support, substitute for cognitive skills, perform a physical examination and/or in any way supplement clinical judgment.

If the Resident would be unable to fulfill his/her duties and/or meet the educational standards required of the Resident even after reasonable accommodation to the point of undue hardship, then accommodation is not appropriate.

Any Resident within a residency program who cannot attain the required competencies, despite reasonable accommodation, may be terminated from the residency program.

Residents will be informed that in order for a requested accommodation to be implemented it may be necessary to share relevant information on a need to know, confidential basis with individuals involved in providing the accommodation. All personal information, including personal health information, shall be kept confidential in accordance relevant regulation. The information will be shared with only those who need to know in order to assist the Resident in obtaining reasonable accommodations.

The specific logistical requests for accommodation will be forwarded to those responsible for facilitating them and disclosure of the nature of the disability may be required.
PGME will seek consent of Residents in writing to this degree of disclosure in order to permit the College of Medicine to meet their needs.

When there is uncertainty or disagreement between the Residents request for accommodation and what the program determines reasonable, with the Resident’s permission, the case should be referred to the Accommodation Planning Committee (APC). In situations where Residents do not agree with a decision as determined by the APC, they may appeal. The appeal process is outlined in the University policy Students with Disabilities: Academic Accommodation and Access document (Section 5 Dispute Resolution Process).


It is the responsibility of the Resident/applicant to self-identify and initiate the process for accommodation needs, organizing their assessment of disability and accommodation requirements. The primary resource is the Access and Equity Services at the University of Saskatchewan. The College of Medicine- PGME (Resident Resource Office, Program Director) may be able to direct Residents/applicants to other resources.

It is the Resident’s/learner’s responsibility to register in a timely fashion with the Access and Equity Services. As disability registration and Accommodation Planning Committee (APC) meeting may take time, Residents are responsible for meeting all prescribed deadlines related to disability accommodation. Residents are required to actively participate in the APC meeting in order to receive appropriate accommodation.


Residents who chose not to disclose their disability and request accommodation prior to a rotation/learning experience may not appeal unsuccessful evaluations on the basis of their disability. Accommodations cannot be made retroactive to an exam or clinical evaluation.

Instances or concerns of non-compliance with this policy should be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean, PGME.



Coordinator, Academic and Non-academic Processes, PGME Office

Phone: 306-966-6145


Access and Equity Services, University of Saskatchewan