Tools for Business Leaders Looking to Create Accessible, Inclusive Workplaces

If you are an employer who wants to champion a more accessible, inclusive workplace, the Presidents Group is here to help with next steps.

The Presidents Group is a network of change-driven BC business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces. The group is co-chaired by Tamara Vrooman, president & CEO of Vancity and Craig Richmond, president & CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority. Members include leaders such as Jim Lightbody, CEO of British Columbia Lottery Corporation, Lisa Beecroft, owner of Gabi & Jules Bakery, and Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia, CEO of Century Plaza Hotel and Absolute Spa Group.

The Presidents Group knows that while many employers understand the business value of hiring a diverse workforce, it’s hard to find the right information and resources to help. What has been missing for them is up-to-date, practical advice – created by employers for employers – about how to effectively recruit, hire and retain a diverse employee base, inclusive of people with disabilities. In response to this need, they launched accessibleemployers.ca. Whether you’re a small business owner, a non-profit organization, or a large employer, this site is for you.

As employers themselves, the Presidents Group knows the challenges of finding – and keeping – good employees. They also know the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and fostering inclusive, accessible workplaces.

“People with disabilities bring different perspectives, are innovative, and are often energetic about trying something new, so they improve the culture, morale and energy of our organizations in ways that are beyond the bottom line,” says Vrooman.

With close to one million job openings expected in BC by 2025*, and 334,000 British Columbians aged 15 to 64 with a disability**, people with disabilities represent an important employee talent pool that is largely untapped. Many people with disabilities are highly educated, and yet their unemployment rate is higher than for people without disabilities. In addition to meeting talent needs, it’s just good business. 90% of consumers prefer companies that employ people with disabilities. For companies interested in gaining a competitive advantage, this is important to know.

The site accessibleemployers.ca helps employers share their collective learnings about being a more accessible, inclusive workplace. On the site you will find a collection of success stories, best practices and how-to guides that are practical and easy-to-use for organizations of all sizes. These resources are focused on how to be more accessible and inclusive in areas such as: hiring, workplace adaptations, employee supports and workplace culture.

As you explore the site, the Presidents Group wants your feedback. What did you find useful? What was missing for you? What is working in your organization?

September was Disability Employment Month, but it remains a great opportunity for organizations of all sizes to review the inclusiveness and accessibility of their workplace. The Presidents Group hopes you find the site helpful, and is keen to hear from you as you continue on your journey.

Mahin Rashid is a strategic community development leader and dedicates her career to ensuring equal opportunities for everyone in our province. She works currently as an accessibility and inclusion consultant for the Presidents Group, a network of senior business leaders working to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities in BC.

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