Inclusion across Canada

Inclusion across Canada

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

Contributors:

Tova Sherman, CEO, reachAbility

As we enter a new decade it is difficult not to join the line of pundits reflecting on 2019 and predicting trends in 2020. As an inclusion leader, allow me to briefly reflect from that lens.

First and foremost, 2019 will go down as the year the ACA (Accessible Canada Act) was passed. For context, this act — dedicated to equalizing the playing field for Canadians with all types of disabilities — comes 35 years after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. That is no slight to Canada, as I am beyond excited for us to catch up and even surpass the United States in pure innovation and commitment to inclusion for persons with disabilities in both our professional and personal lives.

The ACA will benefit everyone in Canada, especially persons with disabilities, by helping to create a barrier-free Canada through the proactive identification, removal and prevention of barriers to accessibility wherever Canadians interact. Initially, the act will focus on areas under federal jurisdiction. In some ways, the act is catching up to the facts, as research for the past few decades has shown that persons with all types of disabilities (cognitive, physical, sensory, invisible and mental health) have fewer sick days and stay longer at their jobs than those who do not identify with these barriers.

With so many folks asking me about this new legislation, it certainly looks like 2020 is potentially a huge year for not just diverse workplaces, but leaders who want to expand their talent pool and customer base.

As the act is being “fleshed out” this is a crucial time to inform your management team that inclusion is a core commitment. Too many managers I speak with are expressing frustration that they are being asked to “add inclusion to their list of responsibilities,” leaving many to perceive inclusion as an add-on and not as a core value of their business.

It is crucial that leaders from the top down ensure the message is clear: The idea of inclusion of people with disabilities is not an afterthought or an additional responsibility. Rather, it is a requirement of all businesses who want to be the best. It just makes sense that today’s businesses reflect their clientele — and I can promise you, we are part of your clientele — no matter what your field.

So, what is a leader who wants to send the right message (and be in provincial/federal compliance) to do? What steps need to be taken? Fear not — there are loads of folks anxious to assist you in being a workplace that truly understands the win, win, win of inclusion.

Partnerships exist across the community ready to support your desire for an action plan and to assist you in developing and implementing those plans.

Now that is a win, win, win for us all!

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

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