Canadian Association for Supported Employment

Guiding Principles

CASE Commitment to Person-Centred Language

CASE is committed to advancing the inclusion of persons who experience disability in the Canadian workforce. We recognize the powerful role that language plays in shaping perspectives, assumptions and beliefs. We understand that words can have a significant impact on how people are viewed and treated in the workplace. We acknowledge that language is an influential and ever-evolving force for social change.

CASE believes that we must understand the power of language within the context of the systemic devaluing of persons who experience disability. To do this requires ongoing work to address unconscious bias and to recognize the systemic inequalities that we may inadvertently perpetuate. We are committed to contributing to healthy workplace cultures that affirm and celebrate human diversity.

CASE maintains a commitment to person-centred language in all of our communication. We believe that:

  • It is critical to respect the language choice of persons who experience disability to self-identify as they wish.
  • Language should respect a person’s whole being and must acknowledge the impact that culture, personal experience, and multiple identities can have.
  • Changing our language requires intention and effort. Person-centred language can be integrated into our daily actions to create empowering workplace cultures that are respectful to everyone.
  • The commonly accepted meaning and impacts of language are continuously changing. We have a responsibility as an association to reflect and explore the impacts of the language we use over time.
  • While CASE will use person-centred language in all our communication, we mean no disrespect to people who choose to identify themselves in other ways.

Person-centred language focuses on the person first. It recognizes that, regardless of any over-arching disability labels that may have been attributed to a person, their qualities, strengths and experiences are unique to them. A commitment to using person-centred language challenges us to advocate for the use of respectful and empowering language at all times.

Supported employment has been used for decades to successfully connect diverse job seekers with sustainable employment.

CASE has drawn on global research, national surveys and local public engagement to develop supported employment values to guide the organization’s work.

CASE believes that all Canadians, including persons experiencing disability, can work and, indeed, have the right to use their skills to earn a living wage. Employment is a valuable part of a meaningful life. Employment is a pathway to financial independence and an opportunity to contribute to communities, form personal bonds, and learn and grow. Even so, about 52% of persons who experience disability are unemployed in Canada, compared to the national unemployment rate of less than 10%.

Job seekers and employees who experience disability, just like anyone else starting a new career or job, may require supports and assistance to achieve employment success in both the short and long term. Suppport should be provided and encouraged. The creation of inclusive recruitment and selection processes, as well as inclusive and accessible workplaces, is crucial to creating a labour force that is welcoming and equitable to all.

It is in this context that CASE has established nine guiding principles that inform and drive our work:

Image of CASE's 9 Guiding Princples: Choice and control - Employment support is guided by the job seeker. Partnership & mentoring - Inspiring employers and persons experiencing disability to mutually benefit from workplace inclusion. Job search - Successful employment is achieved through timely and appropriate support. Natural supports - Employment supports are as unobtrusive as possible. Continuous quality improvement - Stakeholders evaluate services and the service provider implements improvements. Paid employment - All employees receive the same rate of pay and benefits. Full inclusion: Job seekers are socially and economically included in their community. Individualized - The specific needs of the employer & skills of the job seeker are considered. Long-term support - Employment stability and career enhancement are valued.

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Click on the links provided to learn more about CASE.

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