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Accessible Employment Practices

Upcoming Workshops

Making Accessibility Real in Your Organization

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Kitchener/Waterloo, ON

The Conference Board of Canada, in partnership with leading employers and service providers of the Kitchener/Waterloo area, invite you to attend a half-day workshop for employers on making workplaces more accessible for people with disabilities.

This workshop is designed to provide organizations with a deeper understanding of strategies and practices for making workplaces truly accessible, approaches to nurture a culture of inclusion, and techniques for productive conversations around accommodation. It will leave you with actionable ideas on how to bring an inclusive and accessible philosophy to life in your organization, while leveraging the business benefits of accessibility.


  • Regular Rate: $75
  • Small Business: $50 (Please contact us for more details on registering as a small business)

Questions? Contact:

Waterloo A/B Room
Holiday Inn Kitchener-Cambridge Conference Centre
30 Fairway Road South, at Highway 8
Kitchener ON

This workshop is sponsored by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario under the EnablingChange Program.

Accessibility Innovates

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Toronto, ON

The Conference Board of Canada, in partnership with thought-leaders and innovators from the Greater Toronto area, invite you to attend a one-day workshop for employers on making workplaces more accessible for people with disabilities and leveraging technology to make Ontario barrier free.

Having a strategy to address accommodation through all stages of employment is essential. This workshop is designed to provide organizations with a deeper understanding of strategies and practices for making workplaces truly accessible, and approaches to nurture a culture of inclusion. The program will include actionable ideas on how to adapt the workplace for employees with mental health needs and disabilities so that they can be productive and contribute to the success of your organization. Participants will have the opportunity to explore emerging technologies that connect highly skilled and motivated job seekers to employers and new tools to open your business to the growing consumer market of people with disabilities.


  • Regular Rate: $100
  • Please contact us for more details on registering as a small business.

Questions? Contact:

Ryerson University
The Peter Bronfman Learning Centre
7th Floor, 297 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON

This workshop is sponsored by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario under the EnablingChange Program.

Now Released

The Business Case to Build Physically Accessible Environments

Making work spaces and facilities more accessible would allow people with physical disabilities to participate more fully in the workforce, lifting overall economic activity by $16.8 billion by 2030, according to a new report by The Conference Board of Canada.

The report, The Business Case to Build Physically Accessible Environments, provides results of a survey of Canadians with physical disabilities to identify barriers for workforce participation and calculates the economic impacts associated with increased labour participation.

This research was undertaken by The Conference Board of Canada on behalf of the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Welcome to The Conference Board of Canada’s website on accessibility. Accessible workplaces and employment practices that support people with disabilities are an emerging priority as our population ages and employers seek new sources of skilled, highly motivated employees.

About 11% of working-age Canadians have disabilities. Most disabilities are mild to moderate and levels of educational attainment are quickly catching up to the general population.1 Yet persons with disabilities are far more likely than the general population to be unemployed or underemployed. Barriers to employment range from negative attitudes and incorrect assumptions about the abilities of individuals, to job application procedures that are often difficult for those persons with disabilities.

Accessibility Practices

Ontario has introduced standards concerning employment of people with disabilities. Ontario’s unique approach focuses on good practices as opposed to numerical targets, and other jurisdictions may soon follow with similar regulations. The bottom line, however, is that accessible employment practices are simply fundamentally sound practices that benefit businesses and the economy. Some benefits include better job retention, higher attendance, lower turnover, enhanced job performance and work quality, better safety records, and a more innovative workforce. The full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life and the workplace opens the door to their full participation in the economy as customers, entrepreneurs, and employees.

This website contains educational material and resources to help you and your organization create an accessible and inclusive workplace for people with disabilities.

Hot Topics on Accessible Employment Practices 

For up-to-date information on news and developments in accessible organizations please visit the Accessible Employment Practices LinkedIn Group.

Obstacles Become Allies: Managing With Disability Sharpens Trouble-Shooting Traits

Feb 26, 2016
Anna-Karina Tabuñar (guest author)

On February 2, 2016, The Conference Board of Canada was pleased to host the Toronto debut of a new documentary film, Talent Untapped, by Ottawa journalist Anna-Karina Tabunar. The film explores the journey of Anna-Karina herself and several other highly talented individuals with a range of disabilities as they navigate their own personal challenges and achievements. This 34-minute film packs a great deal of information about the myths and truths surrounding employment of people with disabilities. Storytelling is a powerful way to educate an audience, and the director leverages the medium well. Following is a thoughtful and visual article from Anna-Karina that illustrates the importance of focusing on peoples’ capability.

Ruth Wright, Director, Leadership and Human Resources Research
The Conference Board of Canada

It’s the morning rush and you’re racing to work. Cars and bicycles are buzzing by. People are jostling around you.

Now add this twist: You can’t see. Everything is a big blur.

That’s how Dave Brown perceives the world. He is legally blind. Dave has 10 per cent vision due to a congenital condition called albinism. His pink skin and white hair are also the effects of albinism.

What sets him apart is not so much the way he looks, but the way he works.

Dave employs a valuable skill honed not from schooling or professional training, but out of daily necessity. Like anyone with a disability, Dave navigates physical barriers every single day. A dip in the sidewalk can throw him off balance. An electric car he can’t hear can be a potential hazard. Just leaving home means mitigating risks.

“I need to be acutely aware of my surroundings all the time,” he explains. “Being legally blind, I need to be comfortable in my space. It is in my best interest to be there early, to meet people, to scope the space.”

Boot leather and public transit are Dave’s main source of transportation. Sidewalks and pathways are his lifelines. If one is closed because of construction or a snow bank, he needs a backup plan.

“Transportation is a huge deal. How and when I get around are a big part of my planning. Transportation can add hours to my day,” he says.

Dave works in a highly visual business. He is a television reporter with AMI-TV, Canada’s fully accessible television network. Most journalists rely on visual cues and the nuances of body language to conduct interviews. Dave doesn’t have that luxury. Preparation is his best ally.

“Before I do interviews, I plan ahead and choose a location that is extra quiet so I can screen out noise and distractions. I don’t have the luxury of a teleprompter or cue cards. I can’t use them. I do a lot of scripting work and tonnes of memorization. I have to be extra prepared. If I’m not, my work suffers,” Dave says.

“Having a disability, people can think of a bunch of reasons to dismiss me. I make sure than my output is better than anyone else’s.”

To put him ahead of the pack, Dave makes planning, anticipating, and trouble-shooting second nature.

Kent Kirkpatrick also knows that mode. Kent is the outgoing chief administrative officer for the City of Ottawa. He too navigates barriers in his motorized wheelchair. Kent lives with advanced multiple sclerosis.

As the highest-ranking manager for the City, he juggles complex issues and files. On top of that, he manages another imperative—his fatigue and limited mobility.

“I’m more self-aware now than before I had a disability. I have to plan for everything. It’s a function that goes on in the back of my head all the time,” Kent explains.

The way he communicates with his staff and colleagues takes extra thought and preparation.

“In the past, I could command a room with my physical stature. When your physical size is muted, you rely more on the quality of your thoughts and words to command an audience.”

When you have no choice but to circumvent mountains every day, challenges at work are merely molehills. When considering a job candidate who just happens to have a disability, focus on the capability. That individual comes equipped with innate problem-solving skills and ingenuity that will bring unique value to your organization.

Anna-Karina Tabuñar directed the documentary film Talent Untapped, which explores disability in the workforce and her own personal journey with disability. She hosts the weekly current affairs program “Canada in Perspective” on AMI-TV.

The views and/or opinions expressed in this article belong to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect The Conference Board of Canada’s position. Responsibility for content accuracy also rests with the author(s).

1    Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey on Disabilities, 2012 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, December 3, 2013).

Contact Us

For more information on accessibility research by The Conference Board of Canada, please contact us by e-mail.


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Compliance Questions

For any questions regarding compliance or legislation, please contact the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

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