Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Laws




Michael Lynk


The duty of accommodation has enabled great progress in Canadian human rights law for persons with disabilities, particularly in the workplace. However, persons with chronic pain disorders have faced greater challenges in accessing the accommodation duty’s promise of equality, which is demonstrated through caselaw analysis. To assess the efficacy of the accommodation of persons with chronic pain disorders, we must answer three questions: (1) what is the theoretical understanding of disability and chronic pain disorders; (2) how are chronic pain disorders accommodated practically (using the workplace as our social illustration); and, (3) what happens after accommodation fails. A hierarchy of disabilities in terms of legitimacy and access to rights has developed, in which chronic pain disorders fall lower than “mainstream” disabilities, primarily due to a lack of medical legitimacy. Thus, persons with chronic pain disorders are subject to differential treatment on the basis of their disability, which is potentially discriminatory.