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September is Disability Employment Month in BC

Most people know that people with disabilities have to overcome challenges - challenges in finding accessible housing, using public transportation, and finding employment, to name just a few. At Pacific Medical Law, we are reminded of this every day as we work to help our clients with cerebral palsy or spinal cord injuries for example, people who, through no fault of their own, are unable to find employment in a traditional workplace.

September 1st marks the beginning of BC's second annual Disability Employment Month. It's a chance to recognize and celebrate the contribution people with disabilities bring to the workplace and recognize the many inclusive employers around the province.

BC has set a goal to have the highest labour-market participation rates for people with disabilities of any province in Canada. This is one of the objectives of Accessibility 2024 - BC's 10 year action plan to make BC the most progressive province in Canada for people with disabilities. The plan also includes strategies for improving the inclusiveness of government, and communities, as well as increasing accessible housing, transportation and employment, among other things.

A recent letter to the editor in the Vancouver Sun focused on inclusive hiring and highlights a number of reasons why inclusive hiring makes sense. For example:

  • A survey of supervisors with experience managing people with disabilities revealed 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 found more than half of 1,100 employers of people with disabilities benefited 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.

Approximately 334,000 British Columbians aged 15 to 64 years self-identify as having a disability - that's 15% of the population. According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, only 55% of persons with disabilities aged 15 to 64 years participate in the labour market, compared to 78% of persons without disabilities. The cost of workplace accommodations for a person with disability is $500 or less on average. People with disabilities represent an important employee talent pool that can add value to a workplace. Hiring people with disabilities just makes sense for so many reasons.

To see the full letter to the editor go to: (It's just smart business - Vancouver Sun Sept 1, 2015)

More details on the business case for hiring people with disabilities can be found at: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2015SDSI0042-001401

For more information about Accessibility 2024, go to: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/accessibility

 

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