It’s evident that the success of all diversity and inclusion initiatives start from the top down! The strength of any policy is directly linked to the attitudes, beliefs and biases of those implementing it. As an employer or human resources specialist, your commitment to modelling inclusive behaviours and attitudes will set the stage for your business’s success.
Committing to a diverse and inclusive workplace involves welcoming a broad range of ideas, perspectives, and working and learning styles. It invites you to consistently consider the value that differences bring. By adopting this “inquiry approach,” you can begin to ask respectful questions that help you to better understand the needs of your workforce and, by extension, your customer base and the communities you serve.
A basic understanding of human rights, as they relate to Canadian citizens experiencing disability, will support you in recognizing the solid legal framework in which this valuable competitive edge is grounded. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Human Rights Act, the Accessibility Act of Canada and the subsequent acts for each specific province are all examples of existing legislation with which you will want to be familiar.
Workplace policies may depend on the size of your company. In this toolkit, you will be provided with sample policy statements that (when added to larger policies on the same subjects) aim to address common accessibility requirements or goals for small- to medium-sized businesses across Canada. Strive to make inclusion policies available to all employees by communicating policies in different formats and posting them in a variety of places.
While we are slowly gaining ground in creating workforces that represent some aspects of diversity, such as race and gender, it is widely recognized that persons experiencing disability continue to be notably under-represented. Committing to a fully diverse and inclusive workforce is much more than statistics and percentages. It involves persons experiencing disability represented at all levels of a business to ensure “a voice at the table” and authentic access to the workforce. By accessing the broadest pool of candidates, employers can strengthen their attraction and retention strategies and more effectively create inclusive teams.
How to Navigate this Resource
In order to assist you in best navigating this resource, it has been divided into three primary sections:
Each policy section has been further divided into 5 subsections:
- What does it mean?
- Why is it important?
- Sample Accessibility Policy
- Putting It into Practice
- Additional Considerations
The Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE) holds the copyright to this resource, and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of CASE.
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