Creating accessible workplaces

Physical and cognitive abilities are known as dimensions of diversity. Here are a few universal truths about accessibility that will help guide your thinking in pursuing an accessible workspace:

  • People with disabilities comprise the largest minority group in the world.
  • Disabilities impact all defined Human Rights characteristics.
  • You can be born with a disability.
  • You can acquire a disability
  • The chances of you aging into a disability is almost guaranteed.

Check out this infographic New Data on Disability in Canada

As an employer, whether you have office space, a manufacturing plant, or a retail location, there are ways to decrease barriers and limitations for those who face physical or mental limitations.

  1. Physical workspace analysis - The first step as an employer is to ensure there are no physical limitations within your place of business for both patrons and employees.
  2. Visibility of important workplace information – Is the information crucial to both employees and patrons visible to those who are visibly impaired? Are you using a font color that is not conducive to those with vision troubles?
  3. Accessible washrooms - Ensure that your washrooms are accessible for everyone, and this includes being gender-neutral and designed for anyone who may have mobility issues.

Including those with accessibility needs in a remote workspace

Make sure that any office tools you and your teams must rely on are accessible for everyone to complete their work. This includes software employees use to complete their work, email, chat, and meeting platforms. For example, if you extensively use a video conferencing platform, does it offer live captions or transcriptions for those who cannot hear or struggle with following a meeting by ear alone? These tools can support employees with disabilities, but they can also be beneficial for everyone on your team.

Think about when you schedule meetings. You can take the pressure off your employees by scheduling meetings well in advance so that people can have time to prepare. As an employer, you can also take into consideration meeting times. Meetings early in the morning or later in the evening may be challenging for people with chronic illness; try to organize or plan for late mornings or early afternoons. When in doubt, consult employees and at what times work best for them.

Share meeting agendas ahead of time. This allows people time to review necessary materials and feel comfortable, particularly if they need to contribute. After your meetings, also make sure to send out materials for people who are visual learners rather than auditory learners. Make sure you are using fonts that are clear and legible in contrasting colours.

Making your business accessible

Learn how the government of Nova Scotia plans to make the province fully accessible by 2030.

Everyone Everywhere with the Rick Hansen Foundation

Making Meetings and Events Accessible

Available funding

Businesses can apply for a cost-shared grant to make accessibility-related improvements. Improvements can be for clients and customers, for employees, or both.

Federal Funding: Enabling Accessibility Fund

Provincial Funding: Business ACCESS-Ability Grant Program

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