John Lalonde did not want his hearing loss to keep him from pursuing his dream job as a bike mechanic in Revelstoke, so this spring he reached out to his local WorkBC Employment Services Centre for help.
John had moved to Revelstoke with one goal – to learn everything there is to know about mountain biking. Then, just after being hired on at a well-known bike shop, John came up against what he calls, “the biggest barrier I’ve ever faced.” John’s family has a history of hearing loss and John’s hearing had recently deteriorated to the point where he was unable to hear anything when listening to customers’ bikes during repairs. A hearing test revealed that John had profound hearing loss in both ears.
A bike mechanic with hearing loss can struggle to diagnose the full-range of bike mechanical problems and John was worried about his ability to complete his job duties. He couldn’t afford a hearing aid, so he went to the Revelstoke WorkBC Employment Services Centre looking for help.
After a quick assessment, WorkBC helped John craft a plan to help manage his hearing loss and retain his job – and offered financial support to help him get two hearing aids. Now, thanks to his hearing aids and support from the WorkBC team, John is hard at work as a bike mechanic and sales representative.
“The staff at WorkBC blew my expectations out of the water,” said John. “They provided me with the tools to make myself the person I dreamed of becoming.”
John and other British Columbians with disabilities are using the WorkBC Employment Services Centres to access resources like assistive technology and training opportunities to help them find employment. Since April 1, 2015, the Employment Program of BC has provided employment services to more than 21,000 British Columbians that identify as having a disability.
This September, the provincial government is highlighting the information and resources available to employers and employees with disabilities as part of Disability Employment Month. The Province has a goal to have more people with disabilities employed in B.C. than any other province in Canada by 2024, as part of its Accessibility 2024 10-year action plan.
- There are approximately 334,000 British Columbians aged 15 to 64 years that self-identify as having a disability.
- The Technology@Work program with the Neil Squire Society receives $3 million annually to provide assistive technologies to workers with disabilities.
- Cost of workplace accommodations for a person with disability are $500 or less, on average.
- From April 1, 2015, to July 31, 2015, the Employment Program of BC provided personalized case managed services to over 55,000 people, of which, more than 21,000 had identified themselves as having a disability.
For a photo of John hard at work: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/21324468095/in/album-72157626170800057/
Find WorkBC resources and information about hiring people with disabilities: www.workbc.ca/Accessibility
To find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: https://www.workbc.ca/Work-BC-Centres/Pages/Work-BC-Centres.aspx
To learn more about the Technology@Work program: http://www.neilsquire.ca/bctechatwork/
To learn more about Disability Employment Month: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2015SDSI0042-001401
To learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/ministries/social-development-and-social-innovation
List of cross-government services for people with disabilities in B.C.: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/services-for-people-with-disabilities