Canadian Association for Supported Employment

Inclusive Workplace

Please Note

Employers: before implementing any policies, please read our Introduction and Key Considerations.

Inclusive Workplace: What does it mean?

  • An inclusive workplace is more about culture than anything else. It is about creating a workplace where everyone is treated with respect and valued for their contributions. In an inclusive workplace, colleagues and customers are treated with dignity, respect and equality, and these values are reflected in the company’s mission and vision. Policies and procedures are implemented and managed so that employees’ rights are preserved.

  • Business owners and managers need to fully support inclusive policies, and the policies must be communicated to employees at all levels of the organization.

  • In an inclusive workplace, all employees are given the tools and supports they need to develop and advance in their careers. If an employee who experiences disability faces barriers to their career advancement, the company takes specific actions to remove those barriers.

Why is it important?

  • Workplace culture is a system of shared meaning that separates one business from another. It sets the stage for everything from innovation, risk-taking and performance, to competitiveness and stability.

  • Workplace culture sets the tone for how employees act and interact. Essentially, the unique culture of every business communicates a set of expectations around “how things are done” within that particular company.

  • Positive and inclusive work cultures create a sense of identity for employees, foster a sense of commitment, and guide or shape the attitudes and behaviours of all employees.

  • An inclusive workplace is more likely to attract and retain a diverse workforce, which has the potential to outperform competitors.

  • An inclusive workplace benefits all employees.

Sample Inclusive Workplace Policy

The following policy sample should be part of a larger inclusive workplace policy. This larger policy should also address any legislative accessibility and human rights requirements in your jurisdiction, the purpose of the policy, the scope of the policy’s application, who is responsible for administering which parts of the policy, and the procedures that must be followed under the policy.

[Name of Organization] cultivates an inclusive and respectful workplace. An inclusive and respectful workplace includes treating colleagues with dignity and fairness, and maintaining a workplace that is free of harassment, discrimination, and violence. It also means welcoming colleagues with different backgrounds and capabilities. This diversity brings a wealth of experience to our organization that builds a better team.

Putting It into Practice

  • An inclusive workplace cannot be forced. Offering a regular cycle of training, seminars and events that educate employees on the importance of diversity can help to enhance understanding and provide a safe space for everyone to become aware of personal bias.

  • A complete strategy to create an inclusive workplace should include:
    • A plan to identify, prevent and remove barriers
    • Education and training programs
    • The development of inclusive policies

  • Note that this policy does not intend to address anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies required under legislation.


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