By Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation;
Tamara Vrooman, president & CEO, Vancity Credit Union; and
Craig Richmond, president & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority
co-chairs, Presidents Group
Hiring a person with a disability is good for business.
People with disabilities have the qualifications, skills and experience businesses are looking for. What they need is opportunity. The opportunity to help B.C. businesses innovate, stay competitive and reach new customers and clients.
B.C. is proclaiming this September as B.C.’s second annual Disability Employment Month. It’s a chance to celebrate the contribution people with disabilities bring to the workplace and recognize the many inclusive employers around the province.
The provincial government is working with the Presidents Group – a variety of diverse B.C. business leaders – to champion employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Our goal is that by 2024 more people with disabilities are employed in B.C. than any other province in Canada.
We know hiring people with disabilities makes business sense. With close to one million job openings expected in B.C. by 2022, people with disabilities – 334,000 British Columbians aged 15 to 64 – represent an important employee talent pool. They are ready, willing and able to work.
Many employers already offer flexible work hours and remote working options – offering an accessible workplace is just one more element of the modern job. An open perspective and willingness to recognize how a diverse range of abilities can help your business is the essential first step.
A survey of supervisors with experience managing people with disabilities revealed that employees with disabilities performed better than their co-workers in terms of punctuality, attendance, work quality, task consistency, and overall proficiency. A Job Accommodation Network study also found that more than half of 1,100 employers of people with disabilities benefitted from increased overall company morale and productivity.
Employees with disabilities also bring a new perspective that can help make a business more welcoming to all. Almost 90 per cent of consumers prefer companies that employ people with disabilities, according to a study cited in a Conference Board report.
People with disabilities want to work just like anybody else. Let’s welcome them into B.C. businesses and help make our province stronger together.