Disability Inclusive Employer Self-Assessment Launched for Canadian Employers
Open Door Group and Presidents Group developed free tool for Canadian employers.
VANCOUVER June 2nd, 2022 – In time for National AccessAbility Week, Open Door Group and Presidents Group, two BC organizations committed to improving employment for people with disabilities in Canada, are pleased to launch a new tool to help employers create workplaces that are measurably more disability inclusive.
The two organizations collaborated to dive deep into recent international research on what practices truly increase inclusion and retention of people with disabilities in the workplace. The organizations conducted a literature review seeking the most promising practices leading to disability inclusion and an environmental scan to evaluate what resources are available to employers who wish to expand their diversity and inclusion scope to include people with disabilities.
The result is an online 35 question self-assessment that is free to access and takes about 15 minutes to complete. The assessment identifies top practices in areas such as hiring and retention, employee benefits, physical and digital accessibility, mental health, and metrics. Employers who complete the self-assessment download their results report of up to 20 pages of resources including quick reads and valuable resources like training programs, templates and guidebooks.
Alona Puehse, Chief Executive Officer at Open Door Group says this initiative helps bridge the gap between employers who see the value in making their workplaces welcoming to this vast talent pool and the knowhow it takes to get started. “We often work with employers of different sectors and sizes who want to be more disability inclusive, but a barrier is just knowing where to start,” Puehse explains. “This free, accessible, and evidence-based tool is intended to help fill that knowledge gap. In 15 minutes, employers can get a sense of where they’re at, and what tangible practices they can adopt to become more disability inclusive. In this competitive labour market, employers can’t afford to miss this aspect of workplace inclusion.”
Presidents Group senior staff Yat Li is a communication professional with a hearing disability. Li says, “Ensuring a web-based tool that is inclusive of people with disabilities is important. Designing online content that includes people with disabilities is both the right thing to do and easy to accomplish.” Robin Silvester, President and CEO of Port of Vancouver as well as the Co-Chair at Presidents Group, says “It was important to design this tool to be compliant with international web accessibility content guidelines (WCAG 2.1 AA) so that people with disabilities, including disabled employers and employees with disabilities looking to evaluate their own companies can use the tool. Additionally, we worked with professional writers and accessibility testers with disabilities to develop this tool. We did it on time, on budget, and I think it is going to have a huge impact.”
The tool can now be accessed at DisabilityInclusion.ca.
- In Canada, 20% of working age adults (25 and over) have a disability.[i]
- And yet, disability is the overlooked equity deserving group. Even organizations with mature diversity and inclusion efforts miss naming disability as a dimension of diversity.[ii]
- People with disabilities experience higher rates of unemployment than nondisabled Canadians. Among Canadians aged 25 to 64 years, disabled people are less likely to be employed (59%) than those without disabilities (80%).[iii]
- Nearly 650,000 Canadians with disabilities can work but are not currently employed.[iv]
- People with disabilities say employers have a long way to go to reach disability inclusion. A 2021 poll by Angus Reid and Rick Hansen Foundation found (40%) of those living with a disability say that companies fall short when it comes to hiring those who are disabled.[v]
About Open Door Group
Open Door Group is a CARF-accredited, not-for-profit organization and registered charity providing employment services to thousands of individuals across BC each year. Open Door Group works with individuals who are interested in preparing for, finding, and keeping meaningful employment and employers of all sectors and sizes. In addition to employment services, they produce BC’s Untapped Workplace Inclusion Awards.
About Presidents Group
Formed in 2013, the Presidents Group is a network of 25 change-driven BC business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces. Representing businesses of all different sizes and sectors, including crown corporations, transportation, tech, and food and beverage, the Group also plays an advisory role to BC’s Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. The Group’s vision is to make British Columbia the province with the highest employment for people with disabilities.
- [i] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-654-x/89-654-x2018002-eng.htm
- [ii] https://www.mercer.com/content/dam/mercer/attachments/private/gl-2021-the-state-of-disability-engagement.pdf
- [iii] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-654-x/89-654-x2018002-eng.htm
- [iv] https://www.crwdp.ca/sites/default/files/documentuploader/ont_cluster_report_accessible.pdf
- [v] https://www.rickhansen.com/sites/default/files/downloads/rhfpostelectioneng.pdf