Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Putting the spotlight on National Disability Employment Awareness Month


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It shouldn’t be this way. According to the Conference Board of Canada (conferenceboard.ca) website, “people with disabilities struggle to find employment and are a talent pool often overlooked by employers.” The Board notes that “barriers to employment range from negative attitudes and incorrect assumptions about the abilities of individuals, to job application procedures that are often difficult for those persons with disabilities.”

Many are able to work, especially when work spaces and facilities are more accessible, allowing those with physical disabilities to be part of the workforce.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an annual event that celebrates workers with disabilities and the importance of inclusive hiring practices. (DEAM’s core messaging is all about promoting employment inclusion for people who experience disability and to celebrate the many and varied contributions of workers with disabilities.)

This messaging is particularly crucial, given the challenging employment times many are living in, as Canada navigates the COVID-19 economic recovery.

According to the Government of Canada website (https://www.canada.ca), inclusive workplaces are good for business as “inclusive practices help to reduce turnover, improve attendance and safety records, engage employees and boost company morale.”

There’s an army of businesses who embrace this mandate. Companies like Amazon and its “All Abilities Hiring” policy, where the company employs people with disabilities across a variety of roles, from engineering to accounting, customer service, to sortation and delivery centres and everything in between. “We intentionally design our employee experience to be accessible so that Amazonians with disabilities can accomplish their goals,” from a recent Amazon press release.

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