Government launches Disability Inclusion Business Council

Employers 'falling short' in developing, building careers

Government launches Disability Inclusion Business Council

The Canadian government has announced the formation of a new Disability Inclusion Business Council to help support and advance inclusion the workplace. Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough said that the council would focus on promoting cultural change in regards to disability inclusion in the workplace.

This “marks a significant step in prioritizing accessibility and disability inclusion in the workplace,” she said. “The council will work towards creating long-term benefits for businesses, the economy, persons with disabilities and all Canadians. Through this joint effort, we are making sure that Canadians with disabilities can fully participate in the workforce by ensuring they have equitable access to employment opportunities across the country."

As of now, there are around 2.2 million Canadians with disabilities, with an additional 645,000 who’re not currently employed. According to the government’s release, these individuals are disproportionately underrepresented in the labour force, facing a myriad of barriers which prevent their accessing jobs.

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To turn the tide, this new group will be looking at the best ways to include persons with disabilities into the workplace – including authoring a detailed report with nation-wide recommendations.

"Organizations rightfully want to recruit differently abled people. However, they seem to always fall short on developing and building their careers,” says Paul Clark, Executive Vice President of TD Bank Group and Co-Chair of the council.

“Just like anyone else, it's important that we focus on development. We must recognize that the onus is both on ourselves and the person that we bring into the organization to create career opportunities. I want to encourage everyone to do their part in making their organization a more accessible place for our diversely abled colleagues. One thing we cannot lose sight of, especially in regard to our colleagues with disabilities, is talent retention and development."

The council includes the following members:

  • Paul Clark, co-chair (TD Bank Group),
  • Anita Huberman, co-chair (Surrey Board of Trade, representing the Canadian Chamber of Commerce network)
  • Jad Shimaly (EY Canada)
  • Naveed Irshad (Manulife Canada)
  • Tamara Vrooman (Vancouver Airport Authority)
  • Stephen Liptrap (Former CEO of Lifeworks)
  • Karl Blackburn (Conseil du patronat du Québec)
  • Andy Canham (SAP Canada)
  • Diane Brisebois (Retail Council of Canada)
  • Dave McCann (IBM Canada)

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