In order to determine detailed and precise accommodation measures for each individual, Accommodations Consultants require detailed and specific information on the functional limitations of a candidate. In order to provide the appropriate recommendations, professional documentation is, on occasion, required from the candidate. Requirements may vary from a detailed letter from a pertinent professional, a PPC questionnaire to be completed by a health specialist, a full psychological assessment report, or other documents to be determined, upon review of the candidate’s questionnaire.
Professional Documentation for Learning Disabilities
Although the candidate remains the main source of information, a professional report is required in cases where the disability is not evident or is subject to interpretation, such as in the case of a learning disability.
In the case of a learning disability, the PPC requires a psycho-educational assessment report that has been issued by a registered psychologist in good standing with the provincial college of psychologists.
The psycho-educational or neurospychological assessment report should have been issued while the candidate was an adult.
Furthermore, it should contain the following information:
- Description of relevant medical, developmental, psychosocial, family, academic and employment history. Confidential information relating to the personal history that the candidate doesn’t want to disclose can be blacked out.
- Appropriate standardized tests of overall cognitive ability with all subtests and standard or percentile scores reported. The most commonly used test is the WAIS-III
- Appropriate standardized tests of information processing (short-term and long-term memory, auditory and visual processing, processing speed, motor ability etc.) with standard or percentile scores reported e.g. WAIS-III subtests or WMS
- Appropriate standardized tests of academic achievement in the areas of Reading (decoding, comprehension, speed), Writing (mechanics, expression, fluency), and Math (calculation, applied problems, fluency), as well as Oral Language, if applicable. Commonly used tests include WJPB-R, WJ-III-Achievement, WIAT
- Clinical summary that is based on the comprehensive evaluation, that rules out alternative explanations for any discrepancy, and that clearly states the presence of a Learning Disability and how it affects the individual in assessment, work, and learning situations (as applicable). If a diagnosis is not explicitly stated, this summary should highlight if there are any statistically significant limitations.
- Recommendations in regards to appropriate accommodations in education, work and for exams based on the individual’s needs
To obtain an assessment report, the candidate must set an appointment with a psychologist with the appropriate background. Prior to making an appointment with a psychologist, please discuss the possible payment or reimbursement options with your manager, the hiring manager or the responsible HR officer.
How to find a psychologist
If the candidate does not already know a registered psychologist with the appropriate background, he or she can refer to the Canadian Psychological Association. Professional practices, including psychology, are regulated at the provincial level. Therefore, when requiring services, the candidate can contact the appropriate provincial professional board, association, etc. The candidate can find a list of the provincial colleges and associations at the following address: http://www.cpa.ca/public/findingapsychologist/
Most professional organizations offer an online referral service. The key words might vary across provinces but, generally, for a learning disability, the following key words for the relevant specialty are appropriate:
- Learning disabilities
- Cognitive-behavioral orientation
The cost of the assessment
Accommodations are made in order to remove barriers to a fair assessment of a candidate in an appointment process. Therefore, if documentation is required to fully understand his or her functional limitations, the cost of this professional assessment in itself should not constitute such a barrier. Consequently, the hiring manager should cover the cost of the assessment report. It is stated in the “Guidance Series – Integrating Employment Equity in the Appointment Process” that:
“Costs of assessments and/or time to make appropriate accommodations must not create an additional barrier. The organization is responsible for costs related to assessments that are required, up to the point of undue hardship, in order to determine functional limitations caused by a disability, and accommodation to offset such functional limitations during the staffing process."
For external candidates, basic information such as a note from a general practitioner, or from secondary/post secondary special education services indicating the relevance of such an assessment may be required in order to highlight the relevance of such an assessment.
For information on this aspect, please refer to the following address:
See: 3.2.7 Assessment, the 3rd “Did you know?” box
This information is provided voluntarily, is collected in connection with Personal Information Bank “Assessment Accommodations” (Bank # pending from TBS) and will be used by the PPC for the purpose of determining assessment accommodations for examinations, tests, interviews and other exercises which are part of the candidate evaluation for a staffing process in the Public Service of Canada. The information collected is protected in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act and is subject to the provisions of the Act, including the right of the candidate to access the information provided. With the candidate’s permission, the information collected may be retained by the PPC for use in future staffing exercises. If it is retained it will be destroyed 5 years after the most recent use of the information. Only those employed by or under contract to the PPC who are directly involved in determining the candidate’s assessment accommodations will have access to the information.
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