Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) launched this past October in Alberta. Organizers aimed to bring awareness to an underrepresented talent pool while showcasing ways in which persons with disabilities are excelling in the workforce including higher tendencies in loyalty, productivity, and ROI as measured on an employee basis.

Creating opportunity through inclusion

Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) launched this past October in Alberta. Organizers aimed to bring awareness to an underrepresented talent pool while showcasing ways in which persons with disabilities are excelling in the workforce including higher tendencies in loyalty, productivity, and ROI as measured on an employee basis.

Inclusivity, diversity and equality campaigns are contributing to the growing awareness that triple bottom line results are driven by a corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform that highlights a barrier-free workplace.

Improvements to workplace access would allow 550,000 Canadians with disabilities to work more, increasing GDP by $16.8 billion by 2030.

Building a barrier-free workplace

Universal Design standards that elevate barrier-free inclusion and have been adopted in Ontario via the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and in the United States through the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). At a minimum, the workplace should offer easy wayfinding, functional washrooms and the ability for someone to access, exit, and pass independently through a building.

But there’s often a deeper level of attention to detail that will truly make your workplace barrier-free and inclusive. For instance, ensuring power strips are installed on desks to ensure that outlets are accessible. From there, how thick is your carpet, is there textual and tonal ground contrast surface to aid those with visual impairments, also are the slopes of your threshold ramps compliant with building safety codes?

We’re often surprised to learn what we might consider when considering others. Building certified accessibility into your CSR platform sends the important message of inclusion that extends well beyond your four walls. But the takeaway here is also the bottom line benefits to your business in making a move toward creating a barrier-free workplace: access to persons with disabilities who represent a qualified, hard-working, and loyal talent pool.

A culture of belonging

According to Benevity, the global leader in workplace giving, volunteering and community investment software, trends in corporate giving and CSR in 2018 are to build inclusive workplaces and foster cultures of belonging.

We like that language – ‘a culture of belonging’ and from a lived experience perspective can attest to the merits of building that culture and a barrier-free workplace into your organization’s CSR platform.

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