This September marks the fourth annual Disability Employment Month in British Columbia and provides an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce, and the employers and communities who support their success.
By raising awareness about the skills that people with disabilities can bring to the workplace and encouraging businesses to build inclusive, diverse workforces, people with disabilities have more opportunity to contribute to the economy, earn an income, and better support themselves and their families.
Throughout September, WorkBC Employment Services Centres, organizations and communities throughout the province will host open houses, job fairs, workshops and appreciation events. Job seekers and employers can contact their local WorkBC Employment Services Centre to learn more about the Disability Employment Month events in their area and the resources and supports available to help people with disabilities obtain employment.
The Presidents Group, an advisory committee to government, is a change-driven network of B.C. business leaders who are focused on increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The group is celebrating Disability Employment Month with the launch of a website sharing their own learnings and experiences as inclusive employers. These success stories and case studies will help other businesses build more inclusive, diverse workforces.
Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction –
“Equality of opportunity, and full and effective participation and inclusion in society are principles outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. People with disabilities have skills and talents that employers are looking for and should have an equal opportunity at meaningful employment. By proclaiming Disability Employment Month, our government wants to raise awareness and get more people with disabilities into good, well-paying jobs in B.C.”
Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO, Vancity and co-chair, Presidents Group –
“Having a diverse workforce – one that has different experiences and can appeal to different parts of the market – is a competitive advantage. So often we think that hiring people with disabilities is the right thing to do only from a societal and community point of view. At Vancity, we’re demonstrating that it's the right thing to do from a business point of view as well.”
Craig Richmond, president and CEO, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and co-chair, Presidents Group –
“At YVR, we are working hard to become one of the best places in Canada for people with disabilities to find meaningful, secure employment. Our team members with disabilities bring unique skill sets and perspectives to their roles, and their contributions are helping us provide a more-accessible airport experience for everyone.”
- Approximately 334,000 British Columbians, aged 15 to 64 years, self-identify as having a disability.
- The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 4.5 percentage points higher than for people without disabilities, and they are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as someone without a disability.
- A Job Accommodation Network study found that more than half of 1,100 employers of people with disabilities benefitted from increased overall company morale and productivity.
- Almost 90% of consumers prefer companies that employ people with disabilities, according to a study cited in a 2012 Conference Board of Canada report.
- The provincial government offers a number of services and programs that support job seekers and employees with disabilities and employers who want to build an inclusive workplace, including:
- Employment Program of BC
- WorkBC Employment Services Centres
- Community Action Employment Plan
- There are 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province that serve British Columbians, including people with disabilities.
- The Presidents Group – a group of 22 influential business leaders – are encouraging and supporting employers across different sectors to hire more people with disabilities: www.accessibleemployers.ca
Resources for job seekers with disabilities: www.WorkBC.ca/Accessibility
Access assistive technologies to support employment goals: http://www.neilsquire.ca/individual-programs-services/technologywork/
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
For employers wanting to learn more about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities: www.accessibleemployers.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction: http://ow.ly/hI4O30ezQtt