A new pilot project that will improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities was launched in Vancouver today and several founding employer partners were on hand to show their support.
The BC Centre for Employment Excellence received $640,000 from the Province to create the BC Partners in Work Innovation Project, a collaboration that will bring together local businesses and a network of local service agencies that support people with disabilities who are looking for work.
Over the next three years, a recruitment specialist will work with participating employers to understand their staffing needs and then work with partner agencies to match the right person to the job. The specialist will identify any supports that are needed and monitor job placements to make sure the employment relationship remains successful. The goal is to start with a small group of employers and then expand to other companies in subsequent years.
The project, which runs until March 2018, is a new way of supporting leading B.C. employers who wish to include people with diverse abilities in their recruitment and retention strategies.
Supporting employment for people with disabilities is a key building block in Accessibility 2024, government’s 10-year plan to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities.
Funding for the project is provided through the Community and Employer Partnerships, a program featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint that helps align training and education with in-demand jobs and provides support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market or who face unique challenges.
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell -
“This project will take a unique approach to recruitment, one that will benefit people with disabilities and employers. People with disabilities are still under represented in the workforce, we need to change that. We have a goal to make British Columbia the best place in Canada for people with disabilities. This project is another step in the right direction.”
BC Centre for Employment Excellence managing director Susanna Gurr -
“Traditional ways of connecting people with disabilities to employment often start with the job seeker. This initiative is different in that the client is the employer. Similar to a recruitment service, the pilot will focus on matching employers with the right candidates based on the opportunities they have to offer.”
London Drugs director of warehousing and distribution Brian Best -
“London Drugs recognizes the potential value in hiring applicants within our community with disabilities. Our stores, head office and distribution service centre are looking forward to partnering with the BC Partners in Workforce Innovation Project to bring in quality candidates ready to perform service roles at London Drugs.”
- The founding group of employers includes: London Drugs, Seaspan, and CREW Management. In addition, the project team has formed partnerships with the BC Construction Association’s Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) to support employers in the construction industry and with the Canucks Autism Network to align with ongoing employment initiatives involving employers in their network.
- Service agencies participating in the BC Partners in Workforce Innovation Project include: Community Living BC, Open Door Group, Neil Squire Society, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (representing the BC Employment Network), and BC Centre for Ability.
- The contract for the BC Partners in Work Innovation Project is formally with the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC). The BC Centre for Employment Excellence is the delivery organization for SRDC.
- There are approximately 335,000 British Columbians between the ages of 15-64 with disabilities.
- According to a recent Stats Canada report, (statcan.gc.ca) the employment rate of Canadians aged 25 to 64 with disabilities was 49% in 2011, compared with 79% for Canadians without a disability. Among those with a 'very severe' disability, the employment rate was 26%.
- In 2015-16, the ministry has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of BC. The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
- Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
- Job Creation Partnerships
- Labour Market Partnerships
- Project-Based Labour Market Training
- Research and Innovation
For information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
To find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
To learn more about the Centre for Employment Excellence: www.cfeebc.org
For more information on Accessibility 2024: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility
For photos of the BC Partners in Work Innovation launch event: www.bcpartnerswin.org
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation