Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities

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This toolkit was created to help Ontario employers tap into a vibrant and underutilized labour pool—people with disabilities—and to assist employers in meeting the Employment Standard of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

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Transcript of "Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities"

  1. 1. An EnAbling Change Partnershipproject with the Government of Ontario Toolkit  December 2012 Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
  2. 2. Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilitiesby Louise Chénier and Jane Vellone About The Conference Board of Canada We are: The foremost independent, not-for-profit, applied research organization in Canada. Objective and non-partisan. We do not lobby for specific interests. Funded exclusively through the fees we charge for services to the private and public sectors. Experts in running conferences but also at con- ducting, publishing, and disseminating research; helping people network; developing individual leadership skills; and building organizational capacity. Specialists in economic trends, as well as organizational performance and public policy issues. Not a government department or agency, although we are often hired to provide services for all levels of government. Independent from, but affiliated with, The Conference Board, Inc. of New York, which serves nearly 2,000 companies in 60 nations and has offices in Brussels and Hong Kong. ©2012 The Conference Board of Canada* Published in Canada  •  All rights reserved Agreement No. 40063028 *Incorporated as AERIC Inc. Forecasts and research often involve numerous assumptions and data sources, and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. This information is not intended as specific investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice.
  3. 3. CONTENTSAcknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iForeword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iiChapter 1—Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Purpose of the Toolkit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2How to Use the Toolkit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Chapter 2—A Focus on Accessibility: Creating an Inclusive Workplace for Employees With Disabilities . . . . . . . . . . 4A Statistical Portrait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4What Is an Inclusive Work Environment for Employees With Disabilities? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4The Business Case for Creating an Inclusive Workplace for Employees With Disabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5How to Create an Inclusive Work Environment for Employees With Disabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6How the Accessibility Standard for Employment Can Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Chapter 3—Recruitment and Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Tapping Into the Talent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11Tips and Good Practices for Letting Prospective Applicants Know About Accommodations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14Tips and Good Practices for Interviewing and Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16Chapter 4—The Accommodation Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Duty to Accommodate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21Considerations for Developing a Written Accommodation Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Tips and Good Practices for Providing Workplace Emergency Response Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28Chapter 5—The Return to Work Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33Considerations for Developing a Successful Return to Work Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34Tips and Good Practices for Return to Work Processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38Chapter 6—Retention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45Tips and Good Practices for Managing Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46Tips and Good Practices for Career Development and Advancement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48Appendix A—Tools and Templates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54Appendix A.1: Accessible Interviewing Checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54Appendix A.2: Sample Interview Script Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55Appendix A.3: Sample Notification to Successful Applicants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56Appendix A.4: Sample Functional Capacity Assessment Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57Appendix A.5: Sample Written Accommodation Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61Appendix A.6: Sample Individual Accommodation Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62Appendix A.7: Examples of Job Accommodations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64Appendix A.8: Sample Worksheet—Identification of Potential Barriers During an Emergency Response . . . . . . 65Appendix A.9: Sample Individualized Employee Emergency Response Information Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69Appendix A.10: Sample Job Task Analysis Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71Appendix A.11: Sample Return to Work Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74Appendix A.12: Sample Return to Work Plan Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
  4. 4. Appendix B—Selected Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76Accommodation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79Return to Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80Appendix C—List of Interviewees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82Employers Interviewed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82Key Informants Interviewed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83Appendix D—Respondent Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84Appendix E—Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
  5. 5. AcknowledgementsThis toolkit has been prepared by The Conference Board of Canada’s Leadership and Human Resources Research(LHRR) division, under the direction of Ruth Wright, Director, LHRR.This toolkit was made possible by the support of the Government of Ontario. We also extend our deepest thanksto Alicia Edaño, Graham Gerrell, Phillipa Lue, Robert Thomson, Leslie Warren and Bonnie Yu, for their guidance andassistance during the project.We greatly appreciate the time that individuals with disabilities took to participate in our survey and in follow-up interviewsabout their experiences in the labour force.A number of organizations graciously provided us with insights and guidance for the toolkit through their participationon our Advisory Board. They included:We also are grateful to the following individuals for their insights: Michelle Edwards, Loblaw Companies Limited Melanie Moore, Centre for Independent Living in Toronto Amberlea Eisenhut-Bundle Sharon M. Myatt, Ontario JOIN Insp. Michael Grodzinski, Peel Regional Police Leah De Santis, Loblaw Companies Limited Dave Hingsburger, Vita Community Living Services Christina Sass-Kortsak, University of Toronto Kaye Leslie, Scotiabank Sgt. Brian Wintermute, Peel Regional Police Chuck Letourneau, Starling Access ServicesThank you, as well, to our internal reviewer from The Conference Board of Canada, Karla Thorpe.A special thanks to our editors, Nancy Huggett and Shelley Henderson, as well as to the publishing team, includingColette Boisvert, Josée Plouffe, Debbie Janes, and James Welsh, for all the work they put into this project.
  6. 6. FOREWORDThe Conference Board of Canada and the Government of Ontario are pleased to jointly launch the Employers’Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities.Ontarians enjoy a quality of life that is recognized internationally. To ensure we continue to do so, we must enhanceour competitive edge in the global marketplace on many fronts. Creating a province in which every person who livesor visits can participate fully makes good sense—for our people, our businesses, and our communities. This newguide encourages employers to access a vast but underutilized Canadian talent pool: people with disabilities.The Employers’ Toolkit was developed to assist Ontario employers in meeting the Employment Standard requirementsof the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. It contains practical advice on everything from sourcing talentthrough recruitment and selection, accommodations, return to work, and retention. In addition, the Toolkit featuresprofiles of Ontario businesses and organizations that have already started the journey to becoming more accessibleand inclusive to people with disabilities.Implementing sustainable change in this area will directly benefit communities and businesses and ultimately enhancethe prosperity of all Ontarians. Without the people with the skills needed to get the work done, Ontario businessescannot achieve their potential.As the population ages and labour force growth slows, shortages in specific industries and occupations will becomemore acute, affecting the quality of life of all Canadians. It is clear, therefore, that our continuing prosperity dependson our ability to value, build, access, and utilize the strengths of all our citizens—including people with disabilities.This Toolkit was developed through the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario’s EnAbling Change program, in part-nership with The Conference Board of Canada. On behalf of both, we offer our sincere hope that you will find it auseful tool for meeting the requirements of the Employment Standard and, more generally, for promoting diversityin your workplace. Together, we are creating new opportunities for all Ontario residents.Sincerely,Ellen Waxman Ian CullwickAssistant Deputy Minister Vice-PresidentAccessibility Directorate of Ontario The Conference Board of Canada
  7. 7. CHAPTER 1IntroductionI n 2005, the Ontario government passed the The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, (Ontario Regulation 191/11) became law in 2011. This or the AODA. The goal of the Act is “to make regulation includes accessibility standards for informationOntario accessible to people with disabilities by 2025.”1 and communications, employment, and transportation. Each of these standards has its own individual require-The AODA recognizes that people with disabilities are ments, but all three share common requirements sucha vibrant, important, and growing part of the Ontario as developing policies, and training employees. Thispopulation. By removing the barriers to participation regulation has phased-in compliance timelines to givethat exist in Ontario, the AODA seeks to maximize both organizations time to work accessibility into their long-the inclusivity of our society and the value that people term business plans.with disabilities contribute to our economy. This toolkit was created to help Ontario employersAccessibility standards under the AODA will affect understand and implement the Accessibility Standardan estimated 360,000 organizations in the province, for Employment (also referred to as the “Employmentincluding government, the broader public sector, and Standard” in this document). See Exhibit 1 for an over-private and non-profit organizations. The standards view of the various standards related to the AODA.address five key areas: customer service, informationand communications, employment, transportation, and In 2011, The Conference Board of Canada partnered withthe design of public spaces. the Ontario government’s EnAbling Change Program to develop resources to help employers meet the AODAIn 2008, the Accessibility Standard for Customer Employment Standard. As a first step, we engaged inService was the first standard to become law. This stan- a series of research projects—including a literaturedard sets out the requirements that organizations must review, a survey of Ontarians with disabilities, and in-meet to ensure accessible customer service for people depth interviews with key informants and best practicewith disabilities. employers. Using the knowledge gathered from these initiatives, we have created a toolkit that includes practical advice that will help employers tap into this vital talent pool and incorporate accessibility into their workspaces and processes to benefit from a diverse and1 Government of Ontario, Making Ontario Accessible. inclusive work environment. Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  8. 8. 2  |  Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities—December 2012 Exhibit 1 Standards Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Customer Service Standard Sections 22 to 24: Recruitment; interviewing and assessment; notifying successful applicants Employment Standard Sections 25 and 26: Informing employees of supports; accessible formats and communication supports Information and Communications Standard Sections 27 to 29: Workplace emergency response; individual accommodation plans; return to work Transportation Standard Sections 30 to 32: Performance management; career development and advancement; redeployment Design of Public Spaces Standard Note: This exhibit details only the sections related to the Employment Standard. Source: The Conference Board of Canada.PURPOSE OF THE TOOLKIT considerations for candidates with disabilities. It then moves on to the hiring process and, finally, careerThis toolkit provides practical advice to employers of development and advancement considerations. Eachall sizes about the implementation of the Employment section contains information about the specific relatedStandard. It includes resources such as checklists, tips requirements, as well as tips, advice, checklists, andand techniques, links to other resources, case studies sample templates to help employers review and revise(business profiles), and tips for small businesses to help organizational policies and procedures.employers implement accessible employment strategiesand practices. There are two sections of the toolkit that outline processes that large employers (with 50 or more employees) need toThe compliance dates for the Employment Standard are be aware of for employees with disabilities: the process tostaggered, depending on the size of the organization and develop individual accommodation plans, and the returnthe sector in which it operates. See Table 1 for the com- to work process. Small organizations (with fewer thanpliance dates, by type of organization, for the various 50 employees) are not required to document individualrequirements of the Employment Standard. accommodation plans or return to work processes; how- ever, they are still required to accommodate employees with disabilities.HOW TO USE THE TOOLKIT Additionally, Appendix A contains a collection of sampleThis toolkit is organized around the stages of employment. documents and forms that employers can review and useAfter exploring the context for the Employment Standard to craft their own employment strategies and practices.in Chapter 2, it starts with advertising and applicationFind this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  9. 9. The Conference Board of Canada  | 3 Table 1 Deadlines for Compliance With Ontario’s Employment Standard Type of organization Government Designated public Designated Private and non- Private and of Ontario and sector organizations public sector profit organizations non-profit organ- Section of Employment the Legislative with 50 or more organizations with with 50 or more izations with 1 to Standard Assembly employees 1 to 49 employees employees 49 employees Workplace emergency response information January 1, 2012 January 1, 2012 January 1, 2012 January 1, 2012 January 1, 2012 (s. 27) Recruitment January 1, 2013 January 1, 2014 January 1, 2015 January 1, 2016 January 1, 2017 (ss. 22, 23, 24) Employee accommodation January 1, 2013 January 1, 2014 January 1, 2015 January 1, 2016 January 1, 2017 (ss. 25, 26) Individual accommodation January 1, 2013 January 1, 2014 January 1, 2015 January 1, 2016 n.a. plan (s. 28) Employees returning to work January 1, 2013 January 1, 2014 January 1, 2015 January 1, 2016 n.a. (s. 29) Performance management, career development, and January 1, 2013 January 1, 2014 January 1, 2015 January 1, 2016 January 1, 2017 redeployment (ss. 30, 31, 32) n.a. = not applicable Source: O. Reg. 191/11.While available as a print document, this toolkit works the Employment Standard. The implementation ofbest in an online format, as chapters, sections, tools these best practices is not a requirement, but theyand templates, and other resources are hyperlinked. are suggestions to promote inclusive practices atStandard elements have been used throughout the chap- all stages of employment.ters to help users navigate the toolkit and to make it Business profiles—Each chapter includes a smalleasier to find specific material and resources quickly. and a large business case study so employers canThese elements include: see how organizations have successfully imple- Requirement text boxes—These special text boxes mented accessible strategies and policies. introduce each of the individual sections of the Tips for small businesses—Each chapter has a text box Employment Standard requirements that relate to that lays out the Employment Standard information in different aspects of employment. The upper por- a context that is relevant to the needs of small business tion identifies the section and defines the specific owners and operators. requirement in the original language of the law. Tools and templates—In addition to practical tips The lower portion of the box, called “Meeting the that businesses can use to help them meet the stan- Requirement,” gives a brief description of how dards, there are a number of tools and templates in organizations could meet the requirement listed. Appendix A that employers can repurpose for their Tips and good practices—These sections feature own organization. best practices that go beyond the requirements of Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  10. 10. CHAPTER 2A Focus on Accessibility: Creatingan Inclusive Workplace forEmployees With DisabilitiesF or many people, the concept of accessibility is force in 2009, which was almost three times the rate for about making it possible for people with disabil- Ontarians without disabilities (14.1 per cent).2 In 2006, ities to participate fully in everyday life. In fact, the employment rate for Ontarians with disabilitiesit means so much more than that. Accessible business (51.8 per cent) was significantly lower than the rateand employment practices benefit Ontario businesses for people without disabilities (75.4 per cent).3and the economy. This under-representation and underemployment ofA strong business case exists for creating accessible people with disabilities in Ontario’s workforce is a ser-and inclusive work environments for employees with ious challenge to the future prosperity of the provincedisabilities. The full inclusion of people with disabil­ and of Ontario businesses because as the populationities in all aspects of community life and the workplace ages, the talent market shrinks, and skills shortagesopens the door to their full participation in the economy emerge.4 Employers must create work environmentsas customers, entrepreneurs, and employees. This chap- that are more accessible and inclusive to tap into thister outlines the importance of accessibility to Ontario underutilized talent pool.employers. It also examines how employers can createaccessible and inclusive work environments for employ-ees with disabilities. WHAT IS AN INCLUSIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT FOR EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES?A STATISTICAL PORTRAIT An inclusive work environment is one where everyone is treated with respect and all employees are valued forIn 2006, approximately 15.5 per cent of Ontarians had a their contributions. In an inclusive workplace, colleaguesdisability.1 This proportion is expected to rise significantly and clients are treated with dignity, respect, and equality,over the next two decades as the population ages. and these values are reflected in the organization’s mis- sion and vision. Policies and procedures are implementedHowever, people with disabilities are often under- and managed so that employees’ rights are preserved.represented in the workplace. In Ontario, 39.1 per centof people between 16 and 64 years of age with dis- 2 Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Canada—abilities were either unemployed or not in the labour Ontario Labour Market Agreement. 3 Statistics Canada, “Chart 6. Employment Rates for People With and Without Disabilities.”1 Statistics Canada, Participation and Activity Limitation Survey. 4 Watt and others, Ontario’s Looming Labour Shortage, 5–11.Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  11. 11. The Conference Board of Canada  | 5Senior management fully supports these policies and reflect the markets they serve;they are communicated to employees at all levels of the benefit the community.6organization.5 In an inclusive workplace, all employ-ees are encouraged, and given the tools and supports RESPONDING TO IMPENDING TALENTneeded, to develop and advance in their careers. When AND SKILLS SHORTAGESemployees with disabilities face barriers to their career Large labour shortages are looming in Ontario. A recentadvancement, the organization takes specific actions to Conference Board research report indicated that vacan-remove these barriers. cies in Ontario could reach 190,000 in 2020, and rise to 364,000 by 2025 and to 564,000 by 2030.7 Although aAs one employee with multiple disabilities explained, sharp decline in manufacturing and natural resources jobsan inclusive work environment is one where she feels during the recent recession has delayed the inevitable,not only supported, but valued by her employer: pending retirements of baby boomers and fewer young workforce entrants, combined with a recovering econ- [My manager] … has an open door policy. She omy, will lead to labour shortages.8 shows complete understanding and complete sup- port of any health issues or ability issues that the Where will organizations find the employees they need in staff may have and I will use myself as a prime the future? Employers will need to look for new sources example. I have a lot of health issues that would of talent and be more inclusive in their hiring practices. probably dissuade many other employers from One largely untapped source of talent is people with dis- hiring me in the first place. She had absolutely no abilities.9 Employers who create accessible and inclusive compunction in bringing me in on staff …. and work environments for individuals with disabilities are has since promoted me to my present position. able to attract a wider pool of talent. After all, candidates with disabilities are less likely to apply for employ-By creating an inclusive workplace for her employees ment in organizations that do not visibly demonstratewith disabilities and making sure that any challenges they their commitment to inclusion.10 Furthermore, when anencounter in the work environment are addressed, this employee feels valued and respected, he is much moreemployer—who is a small business owner in the retail likely to work harder and to remain with his employer.industry—has ensured the engagement, commitment, andretention of a valued staff member. This is particularly This is especially relevant since, when matched withimportant in the retail industry, which experiences high suitable employment, people with disabilities are as,employee turnover. or more, productive than employees without disabil- ities.11 Furthermore, more diverse work teams create a wider range of solutions to business issues and areTHE BUSINESS CASE FOR CREATING AN more innovative.12INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE FOR EMPLOYEESWITH DISABILITIESThere are many business reasons for creating an inclu-sive work environment for employees with disabilities. 6 Deloitte, The Road to Inclusion, 3.More employers are creating and promoting an inclu- 7 Watt and others, Ontario’s Looming Labour Shortage, 10.sive workplace to: 8 Antunes and Macdonald, “Recession Only Delayed the Inevitable,” respond to impending talent and skills shortages 42–46. by taking advantage of a relatively untapped pool 9 Deloitte, The Road to Inclusion, 3. of talent; 10 Equality and Human Rights Commission, An Employer’s Guide, 4. 11 McCallum and Holt, “Outlook for People with Disabilities,” 4.5 Equality and Human Rights Commission, An Employer’s Guide, 2–3. 12 Equality and Human Rights Commission, An Employer’s Guide, 4. Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  12. 12. 6  |  Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities—December 2012 REFLECTING THE MARKETS THEY SERVE about people with disabilities and the contributions they The Ontario marketplace is becoming more diverse, and can make. These colleagues can then spread this new organizations should reflect the customers they serve to awareness to the wider community.15 better understand them and fill their needs. It has been estimated that the income controlled by people with disabilities and those at risk of disability (those aged 55 HOW TO CREATE AN INCLUSIVE and above) in Canada will be $536 billion by 2031.13 WORK ENVIRONMENT FOR Their impact on the Canadian economy increases sig- EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES nificantly when taking into consideration their friends and families, who are also more likely to go to busi- For some organizations, a journey that began with a need nesses that are inclusive of customers with disabilities. to comply with employment equity legislation, such as By creating an inclusive and supportive work environ- the Employment Equity Act and the Pay Equity Act, has ment for people with disabilities, employers can reach led to diversity and inclusion being integrated into the into different segments of the community and appeal to organization’s core values and culture. Exhibit 2 shows a wider customer base.14 this progression. BENEFITING THE COMMUNITY How did these organizations develop inclusive work Employees bring with them societal stereotypes and environments? In most instances, the successful creation beliefs that can be amplified in the workplace, poten- of an inclusive workplace includes the following essen- tially causing misunderstandings or miscommunications. tial elements: Enhanced awareness and education will change attitudes. leadership commitment; Cultural change within the workplace can also spread diversity and inclusion champions; outward and effect change in the wider community. a long-term, sustainable plan for inclusion; enabling policies and practices.16 As employees with disabilities take a more prominent role in the workplace, their colleagues will begin to con- front the stereotypes and assumptions they once heldExhibit 2The Journey to Inclusion for Employees With Disabilities Compliance with Employees with The workforce legislation concerning disabilities feel valued reflects and better Compliance representation of Diversity serves customers Inclusion and have equal people with disabilities advancement opportunities with disabilities in the workplace in the workplaceSource: Adapted from van Biesen and Rudy, Executive Inclusion, 4. 13 Kemper and others, Releasing Constraints, 24–25. 15 Equality and Human Rights Commission, An Employer’s Guide, 5. 14 Deloitte, The Road to Inclusion, 5. 16 van Biesen and Rudy, Executive Inclusion, 4–7. Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  13. 13. The Conference Board of Canada  | 7LEADERSHIP COMMITMENT Both large and small organizations can create andChanging an organization’s culture requires a sustained benefit from an inclusive work environment, as showneffort by senior leaders who are seen to be committed to in the case studies in the Business Profile boxes “Thethe change.17 They must communicate a convincing busi- Business Case for Hiring Employees With Disabilities atness need for creating a culture of inclusion for employees Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub” and “Creating an Inclusivewith disabilities. Senior leaders should model the inclusive Workplace for Employees With Disabilities: A Businessbehaviours they want to see throughout the organization. Imperative at Scotiabank.”DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CHAMPIONSChampions lead change. Organizations with superiorpractices for hiring and developing people with disabilitiesinvariably use champions to carry the message of inclu- TIPSsion to every employee throughout the organization.18 FOR SMALLChampions come from all levels in the organization— BUSINESSincluding senior leadership. Their goal is to help cre-ate a work culture that focuses on the abilities of all About Creating Inclusive Work Environmentsemployees—not on their disabilities. There is a strong business case for hiring and valuing employees with disabilities in small organizations:A LONG-TERM, SUSTAINABLE PLAN FOR INCLUSION Competition for talent can be intense for smallA vision is an excellent starting point when creating business owners, who may not be able to offer themore inclusive and accessible workplaces. For sustain- same salaries and benefits as their larger competitors.able change to occur, however, that vision needs to be Being able to attract, hire, and retain employees withintegrated into everyday processes and practices. A few disabilities opens up a whole new talent pool fromspecific actions can make daily business processes more which to draw. By creating an environment where employees withinclusive. Organizations can: disabilities feel valued, small businesses can ensure educate and raise awareness among employees about the retention of this valuable source of talent. the business benefits of inclusion and accessibility Small businesses are often a vital part of their commun- through educational workshops and learning sessions; ities. By visibly creating inclusive work environments review employment systems to ensure that the needs of for employees with disabilities, small employers can employees with disabilities are identified and met from demonstrate that they care about every member of their community and attract new business. the hiring process through to career advancement; provide appropriate accommodations to employees, Since the internal human resources processes are less where needed; complex in a smaller organization, the approach used to create an inclusive work environment for employees with ask employees with disabilities directly through disabilities can also be simplified. Small business owners employee surveys, focus groups, or discussions with should champion the cause of employees with disabilities employee resource groups whether the workplace and visibly model the inclusive behaviours and attitudes they supports their needs; want to see in the workplace. Furthermore, many community hold managers accountable for their efforts to create organizations can assist small business owners to not only an inclusive work environment for all of their direct hire, but also train, support, and accommodate their employ- ees with disabilities at little or no cost to the employer. These reports, including employees with disabilities. community-based organizations can include recruitment centres, community living centres, and employer networks.17 Jamison and Miller, The 7 Actions, 2. Appendix B lists organizations and resources that can assist18 Hastings, “Diversity Champions.” employers to create accessible and inclusive work environ- ments for their employees with disabilities. Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  14. 14. 8  |  Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities—December 2012HOW THE ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD individuals with disabilities and directs how organizationsFOR EMPLOYMENT CAN HELP should interact with and accommodate employees with disabilities. Compliance with the Employment StandardThe Accessibility Standard for Employment (Employment should help organizations create employment opportun-Standard) sets out specific requirements for employers ities and experiences that are more accessible to peopleto provide accessibility during the different stages of with disabilities.employment. It reaches beyond the duty to accommodate BUSINESS PROFILE The Business Case for Hiring Employees With Disabilities at Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub is a traditional Irish pub featuring path to become a prep cook. In an industry known for its hearty seasonal menus and live entertainment.1 It is a recog- high turnover, the retention of a dedicated, long-term, loyal nized landmark in Sarnia, Ontario. For manager Scott Dargie, employee has been very beneficial to the restaurant. there are many reasons for small businesses like his to employ CLOSER TIES WITH THE COMMUNITY people with disabilities. These include a shortage of available Small businesses are an integral part of the community where talent and the creation of closer ties with the community. they are located. According to Dargie, it is important for small A SHORTAGE OF AVAILABLE TALENT business owners to contribute to their community in any way Like other small employers in the food service industry, they can. Since small businesses provide the majority of Paddy Flaherty’s experiences high staff turnover among its employment opportunities in smaller communities, offering mostly young employees. This is a major business concern employment and an acceptable income to individuals with for Dargie. People with disabilities are an important source disabilities can also help the community where they live. of dedicated, long-term talent for his restaurant. He therefore However, this is a win-win situation. The fact that an employer works with a local organization (Sarnia Community Living) to hires and retains people with disabilities is often mentioned find suitable candidates with disabilities. This organization not throughout the community, which can help raise the organiza- only provides employers with potential employees, but also tion’s community and professional reputation. For example, offers job coaches who have worked in the industry to help Paddy Flaherty’s has been recognized by the local Chamber new employees learn their new job duties in an effective way. of Commerce for its employee relations practices. One of the This approach can be very successful for both the person reasons for the nomination was the restaurant’s practice of with a disability and the small business owner. For example, hiring people with disabilities. more than eight years ago, Paddy Flaherty’s hired one of the During his 29 years in the food industry, Dargie has always candidates provided by Sarnia Community Living as a dish- worked in restaurants that have employed people with dis- washer. The individual has a developmental disability and had abilities. For him, employing a person with a disability is not been told in the past that he was unemployable. Today, he unusual. If the candidate can perform the essential functions is still a dedicated employee at Paddy Flaherty’s and, during of the job, she should never be denied employment because his employment, has followed a normal career development of a disability. Dargie adds that small employers need to become more aware of not only the benefits of hiring and retaining employees with disabilities, but also the resources 1 All information about Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub is from Scott that are available to them during these processes. Dargie (Manager). Interview by Jane Vellone. April 11, 2012.Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  15. 15. The Conference Board of Canada  | 9 BUSINESS PROFILECreating an Inclusive Workplace for Employees With Disabilities: A Business Imperative at ScotiabankAt Scotiabank, one of Canada’s leading multinational financial DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CHAMPIONSservices providers, senior management believes that leveraging How do senior leaders at Scotiabank ensure that they listenthe unique skills and talents of all of its over 80,000 employees to the needs of their diverse workforce? Within the bank’sgenerates innovation and stronger business outcomes.1 They corporate human resources department, they have createdare committed to ensuring the inclusion of employees with the Shared Services group, which champions the hiring of adisabilities and their career success at Scotiabank.2 diverse workforce and develops strategies for inclusive and supportive work environments. The group spreads the mes-Scotiabank takes a proactive approach to ensuring the inclu- sage of inclusivity throughout the organization by coordinatingsion of employees with disabilities in its workforce.3 As Mark educational workshops and learning sessions. It is an invalu-Lamoureux (Director, Corporate Banking, Global Mining at able resource for managers who may have questions on howScotiabank) has stated: “The best advice I can offer new to be more inclusive of their employees with disabilities.employees with disabilities is that Scotiabank will hire peoplebased on their abilities and will give them what they need to As well, the Shared Services group identifies areas of concernachieve their potential.”4 within the organization and comes up with potential solutions to these problems. For example, six years ago, it realized thatLEADERSHIP COMMITMENT unconscious attitudinal barriers still existed among some ofThe entire organization is committed to creating an inclusive the hiring managers at Scotiabank, which limited the numberwork environment for employees with disabilities. This commit- of job applicants with disabilities recruited to the bank’s work-ment is demonstrated at the top. As Sylvia Chrominska (Group force. The group began hosting regular networking sessionsHead of Global Human Resources and Communications for the to which it invites six to eight promising external candidatesScotiabank Group) confirmed: “Our focus and commitment with disabilities. During these informal lunch sessions, theto the value of diversity and benefits of inclusion define our candidates meet with hiring managers and discuss job oppor-employment experience and guide our interactions with cus- tunities that suit their particular talents. The Shared Servicestomers, the public, and each other.”5 group screens the candidates’ resumés prior to the sessionsSenior leaders firmly believe that creating an inclusive work to ensure that they are viable candidates for positions at theenvironment is an ongoing journey. They must continually bank. Since it implemented the program, Scotiabank has hiredlisten to the needs of their workforce to ensure the success at least one or two individuals per session as interns, some ofof the organization, and the satisfaction and engagement of whom have become permanent employees. At the same time,their employees.6 during these sessions, the hiring managers learn to focus on the job applicants’ abilities, not their limitations. They can then bring this new awareness to future interviews.1 Scotiabank Group, Corporate Profile.2 Scotiabank, Persons with Disabilities. A LONG-TERM, SUSTAINABLE PLAN FOR INCLUSION Scotiabank has developed a multi-pronged approach to creat-3 All information about Scotiabank’s diversity program is from ing an inclusive work environment for people with disabilities. Kaye Leslie (Manager, Workforce Diversity). Interview by Jane Vellone and Louise Chénier. March 15, 2012. It has integrated the principles of inclusion and accessibility4 Scotiabank, Mark Lamoureux.5 Scotiabank, Sylvia Chrominska.6 Ibid. (continued …) Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  16. 16. 10  |  Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities—December 2012 BUSINESS PROFILE (cont’d) Creating an Inclusive Workplace for Employees With Disabilities: A Business Imperative at Scotiabank into every stage of an employee’s career. Some initiatives taken measure the satisfaction of employees with disabilities with by senior leaders and the Shared Services group are to: accommodation measures and promotional opportunities assign a dedicated resource person (Manager, Workforce through an annual satisfaction survey; Diversity) who focuses on the inclusion of employees with provide opportunities for employees with disabilities to disabilities; learn from each other through the creation of an employee educate and raise awareness among employees through resource group—Scotiabankers for Universal Access; educational workshops and learning sessions; provide all corporate communications in a variety of recruit talented employees through career fairs that focus on accessible formats. students with disabilities, recruitment ads in magazines and Although these are but a few of the initiatives offered at journals that specifically target candidates with disabilities, Scotiabank for employees with disabilities, they do demonstrate and special organizations like Career Edge—which coordin- that the efforts are meant to make these employees feel included ates internships for students with disabilities; and valued throughout their careers. These initiatives and the inform all job candidates and employees of the availability of development of new proactive interventions as new challenges accommodation measures and the process for requesting are identified have made Scotiabank a leader in the employment an accommodation; of people with disabilities. create the Scotiability Fund, a centralized budget that provides resources for accommodation measures, thereby eliminating funding concerns for front-line managers;Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  17. 17. CHAPTER 3Recruitment and Selection how to tap into the talents of potential candidates with Accessibility Standard for Employment disabilities. It then outlines each of the requirements that Requirements Related to Recruitment affect hiring processes under the Employment Standard. and Selection The chapter offers tips, good practice examples, and case studies to help organizations source, attract, assess, and SECTION 22 welcome job candidates with disabilities. Employers must notify prospective internal and external job applicants that accommodations for applicants with disabilities will be provided TAPPING INTO THE TALENT on request. See page 14 People with disabilities may experience difficulty SECTION 23 accessing job postings and can be uncertain, based on Employers must notify job applicants who are their previous experiences, about how an employer will invited to an interview or selection process that react when faced with a candidate with a disability. accommodations are available on request. In Employers, in turn, often lack awareness and knowledge addition, employers must consult with job appli- about people with disabilities. Some employers report cants to identify the supports they might need. difficulties sourcing candidates with disabilities. To make See page 15 the hiring process more accessible to potential employees with disabilities, employers can use inclusive practices SECTION 24 for both how and where they source candidates. Employers must notify successful applicants of its company’s policies for accommodation. Job postings from conventional sources, particularly See page 17 the Internet, may be difficult for people with disabilities to access. Many websites are not designed to be used with assistive technologies such as screen readers, andR ecruitment and selection processes are the are therefore inaccessible to certain users. Employers first stages of employment affected by the interested in tapping into the talents of candidates with Accessibility Standard for Employment disabilities can contact community organizations and(Employment Standard). It makes good sense for organ- recruiters that can offer assistance on reaching these can-izations to reach out to a range of applicants, including didates. (See box “Hiring and Employing People Withthose with disabilities. So this chapter begins by exploring Disabilities: Resources for Employers” and Appendix B
  18. 18. 12  |  Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities—December 2012for additional resources.) These organizations often have In addition to connecting employers with appropriatean existing database of candidates with disabilities who community agencies to support the process of hiringare searching for employment. and employing people with disabilities, JOIN offers other services, such as:Educational institutions with programs and services Access to Candidate Pool: JOIN offers employersthat support people with disabilities are another source a single point of access to a pool of approximatelyof talent—such as co-op placement programs in high 4,000 candidates through its job posting networkschools or networks for students with disabilities at col- and website.leges and universities. Universities and licensing bodies Business Leadership Network (BLN): The BLNcan be helpful resources for identifying highly skilled hosts breakfast series events, which allow employ-individuals, especially in accredited occupations. ers to hear from other employers about initiatives and practices they have used to successfully employFor example, the first line of the mission statement people with disabilities.of Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario, is: “We lead Employer Conference: This annual conference ofwith our commitment to diverse learners.”1 This com- employers highlights some advances and excellentmitment is reflected by the 21 per cent of students at prac­ices related to making the workplace more tthe college who accessed the Glenn Crombie Centre— accessible to people with disabilities. This JOIN-a multi-service centre that provides supports for students sponsored event includes employer awards forwith disabilities—in 2010–11.2 Contacting a student organizations that have made great strides indisability centre is an excellent first step for recruiters employing people with disabilities.who want to include candidates with disabilities in their Career Fair Connection: In 2011 and 2012, JOINpool of applicants. held a career fair to attract candidates with disabil- ities as well as top employers.Additionally, there are numerous national, provincial, Mentoring Connection: This program connects job-and local groups in Ontario that can help employers ready people with disabilities and professionals inaccess job candidates with disabilities. Umbrella organ- corporate Canada in a mentoring relationship. Theizations such as the Ontario Job Opportunity Information mentee learns about the corporate environment andNetwork are good places to start. the mentor gains greater understanding of people with disabilities.The Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network Employee Resource Group (ERG) Council: This is(JOIN) is a network of 22 community agencies in an employer council dedicated to supporting newlythe Greater Toronto Area (www.joininfo.ca). It helps formed ERGs by sharing best practices, lessonsemployers match their hiring needs to suitable candi- learned, and events related to inclusion and disability.dates with disabilities.3 (For additional umbrella organizations, see box1 Cambrian College, About Cambrian. “Hiring and Employing People With Disabilities:2 Cambrian College, “Performance Scorecard,” 4, 10. Resources for Employers.”)3 Note: All information about JOIN is from Sharon Myatt (Employment Development Consultant). Interview by Jane Vellone. April 11, 2012.Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  19. 19. The Conference Board of Canada  | 13Hiring and Employing People With Disabilities: Resources for EmployersONTARIO DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT NETWORK Services offered to employers:Description: The Ontario Disability Employment Network Job Accommodation Service: This is a Canada-wide, fee-(ODEN) is made up of regional employment service providers based service available to assist employers with providingwho work together to increase access to employment for people accommodations to employees and integrating accessibilitywith disabilities.1 and inclusion into their workplaces. Services include job accommodation evaluations, consultations and trainingServices offered to employers: ODEN is an excellent resource regarding the duty to accommodate and compliance withfor employers looking for community organizations in their area the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA),that can help them hire and retain employees with disabilities. and the review and design of policies and processes toEmployers who contact ODEN will be connected with local ensure a barrier-free workplace. (www.ccrw.org/jas)community service providers. This network can also help Disability Awareness Series: This educational programorganizations locate expertise related to accessibility, accom- is a series of five modules that employers can use them-modations, or training (e.g., sensitivity training) related to selves or deliver to their employees about inclusive workemploying people with disabilities. environments, unconscious stereotypes and attitudes, andMembers: Over 70 regional employment service providers. making all aspects of the employment process accessible. (www.ccrw.org/das)Website: www.odenetwork.com WORKink: This website includes tools and articles that employers can use to increase diversity and inclusion inROTARY AT WORK their workplaces. Employers can post jobs on this website,Description: Rotary at Work has formed a partnership with as well as search through a wide variety of resumés forCommunity Living Ontario to help Ontarians with disabilities potential candidates with disabilities. (www.workink.com)find meaningful and engaging work. The organization actively Skills Training Partnership (STP): STP is a unique recruit-encourages employers to consider filling vacancies with, and ment model designed to assist employers in developingto create job opportunities for, people with disabilities. training projects that prepare qualified job seekers withServices offered to employers: Rotary at Work will, if disabilities for employment. It is also an opportunity forneeded, put employers in touch with local employment agen- employers to gain expert assistance in recruiting, hiring,cies that can provide a range of assistance, including locating and training skilled employees with disabilities. The STPcandidates with disabilities, pre-screening, on-the-job training, website is a free online tool for employers, communityand assistance with accommodations. The organization can agencies, and people with disabilities, and it offers aalso provide testimonials from employers who have employ- variety of downloadable resources. (www.stp-pac.ca)ees with disabilities.2 Workplace Essential Skills Partnership (WESP): This is a Toronto-based, free pre-employment workshop avail­Website: www.rotaryatwork.com/page/home.aspx able to professional job seekers with disabilities. It is designed to simulate a small group office environment,CANADIAN COUNCIL ON REHABILITATION AND WORK and it helps job seekers gain the tools and confidenceDescription: The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work needed to be competitive in today’s job market. WESP(CCRW) is a cross-disability organization supporting people also helps employers save time, money, and energy bywith disabilities, employers, and community agencies in advan- connecting them with pre-screened, qualified, and job-cing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.3 ready candidates. (www.ccrw.org/wesp) Members: CCRW offers services to many parts of the commun-1 All information about the Ontario Disability Employment ity and has a variety of membership options, depending on Network is from Joe Dale (Executive Director). Interview by Jane Vellone. April 20, 2012. the services an employer is seeking. Types of memberships are Youth; Individuals; CCRW Conference Participants and JAS2 Rotary at Work, Ontario Districts 6290, 6400, 7070 7090, Ontario’s Rotary at Work. First Time Clients; Government/Non-Government/Non-Profit Organizations; Corporate (large business, 100 or more employ-3 All information about the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation ees); Corporate (medium-sized business, 50 to 99 employees); and Work is from Jaclyn Krane (Manager, Workplace Essential Skills Partnership) and Elizabeth Smith (Manager, Employer and Corporate (small business, 1 to 49 employees). Consultations and Partnerships). Interview by Jane Vellone Website: www.ccrw.org and Louise Chénier. April 20, 2012. Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  20. 20. 14  |  Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities—December 2012 These networks include employers who have hired people with disabilities and local resource providers, RECRUITMENT such as community organizations. As these umbrella organizations have access to a number of community REQUIREMENT: SECTION 22 organizations, they can match employers with a resource Every employer shall notify its employees and provider that will best suit their needs. These agencies the public about the availability of accommodation welcome the opportunity to learn more about an individ- for applicants with disabilities in its recruitment ual employer’s skills requirements. The more information processes. about the position and/or organization that an employer Source: O. Reg. 191/11, s. 22. provides, the easier it is for the community organization to identify and prepare suitable candidates. Also, employ- MEETING THE REQUIREMENT ers can connect with other employers to hear first-hand The requirement does not say how employers have some of the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. to let their employees and the public know that Appendix B provides an overview of selected organiza- accommodations are available. Employers can meet tions in various regions in Ontario that can assist in an this requirement by including a statement in their employer’s search for suitable candidates. job advertisements that lets prospective applicants know that, if they ask for them, accommodations are It is also interesting to note the most common techniques available to support them in applying for the job and used by people with disabilities in Ontario to find a job. during the interviewing and assessment process. (See Chart 1.) The methods are similar, if not exactly the It can be as simple as including a line about the organization’s commitment to accommodation in its same, as those used by other people. However, people basic profile in the job posting, such as: “Company with disabilities still experience lower than average XYZ is committed to providing accommodations employment rates and there is no guarantee that trad- [for people with disabilities]. If you require an itional methods of advertisement will reach them. The accommodation, we will work with you to meet your most common method identified was job postings on a needs.”1 Another example reads: “Accommodation job search website, followed by newspaper, journal, or will be provided in all parts of the hiring process as professional association ads. Word of mouth from family required under [organization’s name]’s Employment members or friends was the next most common method. Accommodation policy. Applicants need to make their needs known in advance.”2Chart 1 1 TD Bank Financial Group, Careers: Senior Auditor.Top Five Ways Job Seekers With Disabilities Find Jobs(per cent) 2 Charity Village, City of Toronto. Job posting on a job search websiteNewspaper, journal, or professional association ad TIPS AND GOOD PRACTICES FOR LETTING Word of mouth from family members or friends PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS KNOW ABOUT Word of mouth from current employees ACCOMMODATIONS Job posting on an employer’s website 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 IMPORTANCE OF INFORMING THE PUBLIC ANDSource: The Conference Board of Canada. PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS ABOUT ACCOMMODATIONS From the perspective of potential applicants who have disabilities, communicating clearly and publicly about the availability of accommodations in the recruitment Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  21. 21. The Conference Board of Canada  | 15process sends a powerful signal that their candidacyis welcome. In fact, over 70 per cent of individuals INTERVIEWING AND ASSESSMENTwith disabilities who responded to our survey indicatedthat it would be helpful to know that accommodations REQUIREMENT: SECTION 23are available when applying for a job. One survey (1) During a recruitment process, an employer shallrespondent said: notify job applicants, when they are individually selected to participate in an assessment or selection In my experience looking for employment, process, that accommodations are available upon I cannot determine how supportive an employer request in relation to the materials or processes to will be until I have actually joined the organiza- be used. tion. I still feel shy discussing it, but seeing this (2) If a selected applicant requests an accommoda- information would definitely make me more tion, the employer shall consult with the applicant likely to ask for accommodations to allow me and provide or arrange for the provision of a suitable to work even better. accommodation in a manner that takes into account the applicant’s accessibility needs due to disability.REVIEWING JOB DESCRIPTIONS TO MAKE SURE Source: O. Reg. 191/11, s. 23.THE STATED REQUIREMENTS ARE NECESSARYBeyond mandatory notice of the availability of accom- MEETING THE REQUIREMENTmodations, it is a good practice to review job descrip- Employers must let applicants who have beentions to ensure that the stated requirements are, in fact, invited to participate in a recruitment, assessment,necessary to the completion of the job. There are certain or selection process know that accommodationsoccupations where having a specific disability may are available upon request. They can do this inaffect someone’s ability to do the job. For example, many different ways—including by telephone orelectrical utility companies employ field technicians in writing (via e-mail or letter)—when invitingwhose job requires functional mobility to access any applicants for an interview, depending on thepoles, wires, or stations that may require repair. These method the organization uses to contact inter-are known as “bona fide” job requirements. viewees. Employers may also provide candidates with contact information for a person they can get in touch with if an accommodation is required.Bona fide job requirements are duties that are essential However, having a contact person is not a specificto the completion of a job. Employers should be aware requirement of the Employment Standard.that requirements are not bona fide if they: relate to incidental duties instead of essential parts If a selected applicant requests an accommodation, of the job, or the employer must consult with the applicant and are based on co-worker or customer preferences.4 provide a suitable accommodation that takes into account his accessibility needs. A candidate with a disability often knows best which accommoda- tions will be appropriate. So, rather than guessing what will be required, the organization must ask him. Effective accommodation requires collaboration between the employer and candidate. Employers may use the Accessible Interviewing Checklist provided in Appendix A.1 to help them review their interviewing and assessment procedures.4 Ontario Human Rights Commission, IV. Human Rights Issues. Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  22. 22. 16  |  Employers’ Toolkit: Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People With Disabilities—December 2012TIPS AND GOOD PRACTICES FORINTERVIEWING AND ASSESSMENT Tips for Interacting With Individuals With DisabilitiesEDUCATING AND TRAINING MANAGERS ABOUT Put people first. When interacting with people with dis-MAKING HIRING PROCESSES ACCESSIBLE abilities, employers should focus on the person first rather than the disability. If uncertain about proper etiquette in aTo optimize how inclusive their selection practices particular situation, employers should ask the individualare, organizations need to consider how applicants can with a disability to clarify her preferences rather thanaccess the interviewing and assessment process, as well make assumptions.as how hiring managers conduct interviews. Although In addition, it is important to use language that emphasizesthe interview format and physical location are important the individual rather than the disability. For example, insteadconsiderations for accessibility, hiring managers/recruit- of referring to an “autistic person,” the more appropriateers also need to use non-biased interviewing methods. terminology is “a person with autism.” This language struc-See Appendix A.1: Accessible Interviewing Checklist ture first recognizes that people with disabilities are peoplefor an example. deserving of respect and the same treatment that other people receive. It then recognizes that they have a disability that may have an impact on how someone should communi-A manager who has not had exposure to people with cate with them, or demonstrate respect and equal treatment.1disabilities may feel uncomfortable during the inter- Below are some specific tips for interacting with peopleview, perhaps because she does not know, for example, with disabilities:whether to speak to a candidate with hearing loss or to Any disability—It is appropriate to offer assistancethe candidate’s interpreter. This could affect how the when it appears that an individual with a disabilitymanager rates the applicant’s performance. To increase needs it, but wait until the offer is accepted beforecomfort and confidence in dealing with people with assisting him.disabilities, employers will benefit from educating and Physical disabilities—Place yourself at the person’s eye level when possible. Do not touch the individual’straining hiring managers on bias-free interviewing pro- wheelchair or other assistive device, as this is part ofcesses and disability sensitivity/awareness. her personal space. Vision loss—Identify yourself at the beginning of aMINIMIZING BIAS IN THE INTERVIEWING PROCESS conversation and announce when you are leaving.To minimize bias, organizations should try to make the Hearing loss—To get the attention of an individualinterviews as similar as possible. For example, using with hearing loss, tap gently on his shoulder or arm. Look directly at the individual and speak clearly andscripts that lay out which questions will be asked and at a normal volume. Keep your hands away from yourwhat will be said ensures that a recruiter does not focus face when speaking and use short sentences. If theon areas where he has a personal interest or bias. For an individual uses a sign-language interpreter, speakexample of a standard script, see Appendix A.2: Sample directly to the individual, not the interpreter.2Interview Script Guidelines. For further information on disability etiquette covering a wide range of disabilities, see the United Spinal Association’sAs well, employers should recognize that people with publication Disability Etiquette: Tips on Interacting Withdisabilities may not have the same level of experience People With Disabilities. (www.ub-disability.buffalo.edu/as other candidates, due to either lack of access to jobs etiquette.pdf)or health-related leaves of absence from the workforce.Instead of rigidly following minimum experience require- 1 Titchkosky, “Disability: A Rose by Any Other Name?” 126–28.ments, employers should allow some leeway to focus onthe abilities of the candidate. Can the applicant do the 2 Albright, “How Can We Help,” 21.job, even if she does not have the experience?Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca
  23. 23. The Conference Board of Canada  | 17Employers should consider any transferable skills that Disability-specific community organizations—suchthe applicant can bring to the position. One survey as the CNIB, Canadian Hearing Association, orrespondent described an interview situation: Community Living Ontario—are excellent sources of training programs. These organizations have in-depth In my last major interview, I was about to explain knowledge of the challenges and barriers faced by my gap. The interviewer said, “Don’t worry about individuals with a specific disability, as well as of the the gaps. We are assessing your skills right now significant talents they have to offer, and can translate and people have gaps for many reasons.” I found this knowledge into practical tools and strategies for that quite liberating. employers. In addition to using the resources listed pre- viously in this chapter (see box “Hiring and EmployingSome people with disabilities may have limited or no People With Disabilities: Resources for Employers”),experience in the competitive workforce. Some organiza- employers can use Appendix B: Selected Resources totions have successfully used pre-employment training find community agencies that provide comprehensiveprograms to prepare people with disabilities to enter the training or that can point employers to appropriateworkforce as well as to assess candidates’ job skills. training providers.By placing candidates in a pre-employment program,managers can discover where the candidates excel and NOTIFYING SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTSwhere they need additional support. This will minimizeany downtime, which could occur as new hires adjust REQUIREMENT: SECTION 24to their work environment. Many community organiza- Every employer shall, when making offerstions that support the employment of people with dis- of employment, notify the successful applicantabilities also offer pre-employment programs. of its policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.Another low-cost solution that employers can leverage Source: O. Reg. 191/11, s. 24.to assess candidates’ skills is job shadowing, where acandidate follows an employee in a specific role for MEETING THE REQUIREMENTa set period and watches as the employee completes Employers can meet this requirement by insertinghis job tasks. This is beneficial, for instance, for people information about their accommodation policy intowith developmental disabilities, who may learn better letters or other communications of offers of employ-through demonstration and doing tasks than through ment. Small organizations (1 to 49 employees) areverbal instructions about how to complete the tasks. Job not required to have a written process for develop-shadowing is also an effective way to develop accurate ing individual accommodation plans unless they arejob descriptions. designated public sector organizations. However, small organizations still must accommodate anPROVIDING SENSITIVITY AND AWARENESS employee with a disability.TRAINING TO MANAGERS See Appendix A.3: Sample Notification toEmployers can use sensitivity and awareness training Successful Applicants for an example of wordingto educate their hiring managers on interacting comfort- that can be used to inform a prospective employeeably and respectfully with applicants with disabilities. of an organization’s accommodation process.This will reduce both the manager’s and the candidate’s For more information on accommodations forapprehension during the interviewing process. employees, see Chapter 4. Find this report and other Conference Board research at www.e-library.ca

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