Ottawa debuts Canadian Business Disability Network

New network 'national alliance of businesses dedicated to creating a barrier-free Canada'

Ottawa debuts Canadian Business Disability Network

Ottawa’s new Disability Inclusion Business Council (DIBC) has officially launched an independent, self-governed business disability network. Through the Canadian Business Disability Network (CBDN), industry experts – jointly resourced by member companies – will provide programs and services to help businesses in enhancing the accessibility of their workplaces, as well as the products and services they offer to clients.

“The launch of the Canadian Business Disability Network is a true testament to the government and Canadians’ commitment to building accessible businesses,” says Kamal Khera, minister of diversity, inclusion and persons with disabilities.

The network will “help Canadian businesses develop and share knowledge that will create a more accessible economy,” she says in the press release.

Addressing workplace barriers for people with disabilities

The DIBC was formed under the employment pillar of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The council’s aim is to address workplace barriers faced by persons with disabilities.

The 2022 Canada Survey on Disability found that 27 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and over – or about 8.0 million persons – report having a disability that limits them in their daily activities. An estimated 30.4 per cent of persons with a disability are not in the labour force.

Here’s how to welcome employees who have speech disabilities, according to a previous report.

Founding members of disability network

Several companies were announced as founding members, including EYTELUS HealthIBM and Manulife.

“We’re invested in creating workplace environments that are free of barriers and biases, while fostering independence and dignity to help unleash the full abilities of all Canadians,” says Jad Shimaly, chair, CEO and chief inclusiveness officer at EY Canada.

In June, the Canada Disability Benefit Act received royal assent after it passed unanimously in the House of Commons and passed in the Senate. The legislation allows the federal government to create the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB), which will supplement existing federal and provincial/territorial disability supports, according to the government.

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