disability employment

Government of Ontario Recognizes Disability Employment Awareness Month


On October 4, 2016 The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Accessibility, recognized Disability Employment Awareness Month in Ontario in her statement to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) applauds Minister MacCharles and the Government of Ontario for their commitment to inclusive employment.

From left to right: Joe Dale, Executive Director ODEN; Diana McCauley, Member of ODEN Board of Directors; The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Accessibilty Goverment of Ontario.

From left to right: Joe Dale, Executive Director, ODEN; Diana McCauley, Secretary ODEN Board of Directors and Senior Manager, Employment Services and Knowledge Enterprise, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario; The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Accessibility, Government of Ontario.

MINISTER TRACY MACCHARLES STATEMENT

Mr Speaker, I’m honoured to rise in the House today to recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Monsieur le Président, je suis honorée de me tenir devant l’Assemblée aujourd’hui pour célébrer le Mois national de la sensibilisation à l’emploi des personnes handicapées.

I’d also like to recognize the rich and enduring history of indigenous people in Ontario.

Toronto is a sacred gathering place for many people of Turtle Island, and I’d like to pay particular respect to the Mississaugas of the New Credit.

Today, Ontario joins governments and communities across the country to advocate for the inclusion of people of all abilities in our workforce. The fact is, increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and building accessible workplaces is a matter of fundamental importance to our society today – and our economy of tomorrow.

It will expand business.

It will grow the economy.

It will diversify workplaces.

And it will strengthen communities.

There are many compelling reasons to promote inclusive employment, Mr Speaker – 800,000 of them are undeniable.

That’s the number of Canadians with disabilities out of the workforce — talented people who are ready, willing and able to contribute to their communities and economy.

It’s a social, cultural and economic imperative for the entire country, Mr. Speaker.

And it’s one that the Government of Ontario intends to address.

Il s’agit d’un impératif social, culturel et économique pour tout le Canada.

Et c’en est un à l’égard duquel le gouvernement de l’Ontario compte bien s’engager.

It’s why, 11 years ago, members of this House came together to support the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

It’s also why, this spring, Premier Wynne appointed Ontario’s first Minister Responsible for Accessibility.

AND I am honoured to serve in this role.

We have a bold vision for the future, Mr. Speaker; one where our province is accessible to people of all abilities by 2025.

To get there we will encourage employers to hire more people with disabilities – to expand their talent pool and strengthen their workforce.

We will also continue to work with companies, communities and individuals to embed accessibility in our workplaces and neighbourhoods to make inclusion part of our lives.

With a goal to become accessible by 2025, Ontario has become a global leader.

Across the province, communities, businesses and not-for-profits are implementing important accessibility standards.

Our accessible employment standard is helping to shift the way employers approach recruitment and retention.

It includes requirements to incorporate accessibility into hiring processes, workplace information and career development.

As we move forward, we will continue to highlight how simple and beneficial accessibility can be.

Inclusion should be a standard part of doing business in Ontario, Mr. Speaker.

We want all Ontarians to embrace accessibility.

Not simply as a legal obligation but as an exciting business and community-building opportunity.

That’s why our government is developing a cross-cutting, multi-ministry employment strategy for people with disabilities.

This new strategy will not only fulfill a major budget commitment.

It will also address recommendations made by the Partnership Council on Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities and the Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Panel.

By taking a whole-of-government approach and by listening to people with disabilities – it will help connect more people to the labour market while helping more employers to become accessible and meet their labour needs.

The idea is to offer streamlined services and in-demand training to address the requirements of job seekers and businesses.

We also understand that to achieve an accessible province by 2025, we need to change perceptions.

That’s why promoting a cultural shift is one of the three pillars in Ontario’s Accessibility Action Plan.

It will help to eliminate stigma, entrench inclusive values and lift expectations.

And we’re proud to partner with forward-thinking employers and organizations that can help spread the word.

The Ontario Disability Employment Network – a provincial accessibility champion – is hosting a number of employer events this month to promote the contributions people with disabilities make to workplaces.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is also reaching out to employers, organizing discussions that highlight how inclusive employment can boost a business’s bottom line.

Then there’s Dolphin Digital Technologies, Mr. Speaker.

The award-winning Ontario IT company has hosted an employment mentoring day for people with disabilities for the last six years.

This year’s mentorship day is expanding to six communities across the province.

Dolphin knows workers of all abilities would help companies reach a diverse global market.

And we know our economy would benefit from a larger tax base, increased innovation and competitive new sectors.

This is how inclusion can grow our economy, while strengthening our society.

Mr. Speaker, accessibility will build Ontario up.

It will help people of all abilities in their everyday life.

Monsieur le Président, l’accessibilité permettra de faire progresser l’Ontario.

Elle aidera les gens de toutes capacités au quotidien.

I invite everyone to join me in observing National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Let’s work together to break down employment barriers this month and every day of the year.

Thank You.

-end-

For more Disability Employment Awareness Month resources, visit the DEAM section of the ODEN website.

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ODEN Recognizes Disability Employment Awareness Month


Ensuring workplaces welcome the talents of all people, including persons with disabilities, is a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy.

In this spirit, the Ontario Disability Employment Network will be recognizing Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) this October to raise employer awareness of this talent pool and celebrate the many and varied contributions of persons with disabilities.

The 2016 Disability Employment Awareness Month theme is “Engage Talent!” Each week during October’s Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM), we will hear from successful employers who hire persons with disabilities as an integral element of their business strategy.

Text: October 2016 Disability Employment Awareness Month #DEAM Engage Talent! Image: Many hands in the air all giving thumbs up.

ODEN has planned a number of activities during this month to reinforce the value and talent persons with disabilities add to our workplaces. We invite you to take part in these events and will be providing our members with exclusive resources to use throughout the month of October. As well, we will be promoting our members’ DEAM related activities.

Subscribe to our mailing list and visit DEAM Resources for ways you can get involved this October!

Share #DEAM on Facebook
Spread the #DEAM message on Twitter
Visit our LinkedIn Company Page
Join our LinkedIn Group

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Strategies Used by Employment Service Providers in the Job Development Process


Strategies Used by Employment Service Providers in the Job Development Process: Are they consistent with what employers want?

 

Dr. Luecking, President of TransCen Inc., was one of the keynote speakers at the Ontario Disability Employment Network’s Conference in Alliston this past November.  Dr. Luecking collaborated on this recently released technical report which focuses upon strategies used by job developers and how they resonate with employers.  Although this study was undertaken in the U.S,. it may contain lessons for providers of employment services here in Ontario as well.

We asked The Network’s Employer Champion Leauge member, Mark Wafer, who owns a number of Tim Horton’s stores in the Toronto area for his opinion of the study and this is what he had to say:

“This is a very well written article, in fact it mirrors very closely to what I say all the time about nurturing relationships with employers, using strategies that work for the business and following up constantly to ensure success.  Any time I speak with service providers this is the message I present.

This article would be a good handout to a lot of the service providers i have met recently who still use the same old charity approach.”

Mark Wafer

http://www.dol.gov/odep/ietoolkit/publications/500.pdf

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Canada Summer Jobs 2012


Canada Summer Jobs 2012
“Creating jobs, strengthening communities”

Canada Summer Jobs is a Government of Canada initiative that provides funding to help employers create summer job opportunities for students. It is designed to focus on local priorities, while helping both students and their communities.

About Canada Summer Jobs 2012

Canada Summer Jobs:
* provides work experiences for students;
* supports organizations, including those that provide important community services; and
* recognizes that local circumstances, community needs and priorities vary widely.

Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees to create summer job opportunities for young people aged 15 to 30 years who are full-time students intending to return to their studies in the next school year.

The application period for Canada Summer Jobs 2012 is from February 1 to February 29, 2012.

NOTE: To obtain more information please call 1-800-935-5555 or see www.servicecanada.gc.ca criteria.  The criteria to assess the proposals focus on:

* service to local communities;
* jobs that support local priorities
* jobs that provide career-related experience or early work experience;
* jobs with a salary that contributes to the student’s income;
* employers who provide supervision and mentoring;
* project activities that are directed toward members of, and support the vitality of, an Official Language Minority Community; and
* employers who intend to hire priority students (students with disabilities, Aboriginal students and students who are members of visible
minority groups).

How to apply for Canada Summer Jobs

Before completing an application, employers must consult the Canada Summer Jobs Applicant Guide and review the local priorities for their constituencies. To help employers complete their application, the Canada Summer Jobs Applicant Guide and the local priorities are available online at: www.servicecanada.gc.ca , by calling 1-800-935-5555, or by visiting any Service Canada Centre.

The Applicant Guide contains the following information for employers:
* eligibility criteria;
* instructions for completing the Canada Summer Jobs application;
* the assessment process; and
* the approval process.

Employers can apply online or print an application from the website. They can also get an application by visiting any Service Canada Centre. The deadline for applications is February 29, 2012.

Apply online:
The online application process is quick and easy. An electronic confirmation number of successful receipt will be generated once the online application is submitted.  Employers must keep this number for future reference.

Download a paper application form:
Employers can download a printable form. Completed applications may be submitted in person, by mail, or by fax, at any Service Canada Centre.

Completed applications may be submitted using one of the following methods:

Online: Applications must be submitted on February 29, 2012, 23:59 Pacific Time. Applying online is quick and easy.
In person: Applications must be received before the closing time of the local Service Canada Centre on February 29, 2012.*
By mail: Applications must be postmarked on or before February 29, 2012.*
By fax: Applications must be faxed to a Service Canada Centre by February 29, 2012, 23:59 local time.*

*An employer submitting a paper application in person, by mail or by fax will receive a letter of acknowledgement.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is February 29, 2012. Applications received or postmarked after the closing date of February 29, 2012, will not be assessed.

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Equal Opportunity in the Workplace (National Post)


Equal opportunity in the workplace

National Post · Oct. 6, 2011

Mark Wafer, who owns six Tim Hortons stores in the greater Toronto area, believes legislation to make workplaces accessible to people with disabilities is necessary, because in many cases companies simply wouldn’t invest the money and effort without it.

“But there’s a far better reason for making your business accessible to people with disabilities, both as customers and employees,” he says. “It just makes really good business sense.”

Over the past 16 years, Mr. Wafer has hired more than 70 people with disabilities, and he has no doubt that it has given him a competitive advantage.

“I’ve hired people with disabilities for jobs ranging from customer service all the way up to management. They’re in meaningful positions. That means they get equal pay. There are no subsidies from the government,” Mr. Wafer says.

“What happens over a period of time is you start to notice that people with disabilities tend to stay with you for much longer, because it’s taken them so long to get the job in the first place. That’s a tangible benefit, because turnover is expensive. The other upside is because you’ve created an inclusive workforce the other employees want to stay, too. They want to be part of something special.”

As a result, while the typical turnover rate for Tim Hortons stores in southern Ontario is between 70% and 80%, at Mr. Wafer’s stores, it is 35%.

It’s time to dispel some of the myths that hold back employers from hiring people with disabilities, says Joe Dale, project manager at Rotary at Work and executive director at Ontario Disability Employment.

“There are all sorts of myths: that it’s going to cost them more, that productivity is not going to be as good and employees with disabilities are going to miss a lot more work. While there isn’t enough of a strong research base that dispels those myths, we do have lots of anecdotal information that does,” he says.

“What’s more, I think people are pretty resilient, but particularly so people with disabilities who have found ways to get around their disabilities and can be more creative than others. They develop great problem-solving skills. I am not sure most employers necessarily understand that yet, or what a valuable labour source that people with disabilities can be.”

Rotary at Work has helped a growing number of employers dispel the myths by connecting them to employees with disabilities.

“Rotary at Work reflects an important partnership between Community Living Ontario and Ontario Rotary Clubs to assist Ontarians with disabilities to find appropriate employment by forging relationships with businesses,” says David Onley, Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor.

Mr. Onley is a shining example: Afflicted by polio at a young age, he suffered partial paralysis. After extensive physical therapy, however, Mr. Onley regained the use of his hands and arms and partial use of his legs. He is able to walk with leg braces and canes or crutches, but he generally prefers to get around using his electric scooter. He is able to drive a car using hand controls for acceleration and braking.

Another issue many companies don’t understand – much to their detriment – is the fact that when they make their business accessible to employees with disabilities, they’re also making them accessible to customers with disabilities.

“If you use the same business model when looking at creating accessible retail space, the cost/benefit ratio also favours a return on your investment,” Mr. Wafer says.

In fact, Statistics Canada pegs the number of people with disabilities at around 16.5% of the population. “If you think about it in other terms, that’s the combined population of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” Mr. Dale says. “It’s the largest minority in the country. It’s a significant niche for businesses to tap into.”

And that’s what Mr. Wafer has found to be the case. At one of his stores, he worked with Excellence Canada to ensure the building met Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards. Included in the upgrades was a simple system in the drive-through for people with any communication disabilities.

“It’s just a sign with a bell that says if you are deaf or have other communication barriers, please press the button for better customer service and drive to the window,” Mr. Wafer says. “When they come to the window, if they can’t tell us what they want we have an order-assist pad they can use to order.”

Today, his Tim Hortons drive-through attracts customers who would never have previously have used a drivethrough.

The opportunities for businesses that understand the advantages of hiring disabled people as well as developing goods and services for them exist in every industry. One industry where there is enormous potential, however, is technology, which, through a combination of legislation and efforts by organizations such as the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC), has seen progress in developing technology and applications that are accessible to people with disabilities – although there is still a long way to go.

The IDRC is a research and development centre at OCAD University that works with an international community of open source developers, designers, researchers, advocates and volunteers to ensure that emerging information technology and practices are designed inclusively.

“We really need legislation for cultural change,” says Jutta Treviranus, professor and director, Inclusive Design Research Centre and Inclusive Design Institute at OCAD University.

“Even if people don’t follow the letter of the law, it increases awareness. It’s a necessary way for organizations to realize that yes, this is a right people have and we do need to attend to it. But the practicality needs to be supported by other things, the tools and necessary resources.

“There’s also an amazing opportunity here. The market size of individuals with disabilities around the world is approaching the market size of China, so if there’s an organization that takes this on and begins to support that market, the growth opportunity is huge.”

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2011 Provincial Election Campaign: Election Tool Kit


View/Download the entire document in PDF format here

Note: Portions of this document have been adopted, with permission, from Community Living Ontario’s 2011 Provincial Election Action Kit

Index
  • Political Action by Charitable Organizations                    .…………………………………. 2
  • Strategies for Members – Campaign 2011                  ………………….……………………. 3
  • Prepare a Media Strategy                                               ………….……………………………. 3
  • Working with the Media                                                 ………….……………………………. 4
    • Overview                                                                ………………………………………. 4
    • Making Your Message Newsworthy                 ………………………………………. 4
    • Writing a News Release                            ………………………………………………. 5
    • Preparing to be Interviewed                    ………………………………………………. 5
    • The Interview                          ………………………………………………………………. 6
    • Tips for Working with Television & Radio Reporters       ………………………. 7
    • Organizing a News Conference                            ……………………………………. 7
    • Other Opportunities for Media Coverage                 ………………………………. 8
  • Recommended Approaches to Candidates                 ………………………………………. 9
    • Letters to Candidates                     ………………………………………………………. 9
    • Phone Calls to Candidates                      ………………………………………………. 9
    • All Candidates Meetings                         ………………………………………………. 9
  • All Candidates Meetings and Candidates at the Door                 ………………………10
  • After the Election                              ………………………………………………………………10
  • Feedback                                   ………………………………………………………………………10
  • Appendices
  1. Key Messages – Background and Details                            ………………………………11
  2. Sample Letter to Candidates                              ………………………………………………15
  3. Face to Face Questions for Candidates                                ………………………………17
  4. Fact Sheet – Disability and Employment                           ………………………………19
  5. Election Campaign Checklist                            ………………………………………………20
  6. Media Interview Request Form                                  ………………………………………22
  7. Election Campaign Feedback Form                          …………….…………………………23


Political Action by Charitable Organizations – Do’s and Don’ts
Charities are given special legal status because of their purposes which promote the good of the community. Legally, this status means that the financial and other resources of charities should be used for one or more of their charitable objects. Charities get some tax exemption and can issue tax receipts for donations if they are registered with Revenue Canada.
To the extent that charitable status is important, there are some things a charitable organization should not do in the context of an election. Taking some actions might well put the charitable status of the organization in jeopardy.

A charity should not use any of its financial or human resources to contribute to or campaign for any candidate or political party.

This, of course, does not limit people who are served or supported, members, volunteers or staff from engaging in political activity including running for office on their own time and with their own money, except that Board members and staff should, and in some cases are required by organization’s policies, disclose any such activity to the organization.
Some other examples of do’s and don’ts are:


Allowed as a Charity

Not Allowed as a Charity
  • Taking part in lawful public policy debate at meetings or through the media
  • Visiting a candidate to discuss issues
  • Submitting questions to a candidate about issues
  • Asking questions at public meetings
  • Developing positions on particular issues and forwarding them to candidates or parties
  • Providing plain language information for self advocates and members
  • Encouraging people to vote
  • Monitoring the accessibility of polling places
  • Providing transportation
  • Illegal activity at public demonstrations
  • Picketing for or against a candidate or party
  • Erecting signs for or against a candidate or party on the charity’s property
  • Endorsing a candidate
  • Telling self advocates and members who to vote for (personally or in writing)
  • Promising to reward or punish people for voting any particular way

Possible consequences of “crossing the line” or even appearing to cross the line:

  • Public criticism and loss of donors
  • Complaints to Election Authorities; the Charities Division of the Attorney General; and/or Revenue Canada leading to investigations and potential loss of charitable status
  • Possible litigation for improper use of charity assets

 

Strategies for Members – Campaign 2011

1. Form an Election Strategy Committee

–  Make a list of accomplishments, identifying key achievements of your organization.  Focus on personal stories of people with disabilities and their families first and the role that your organization played in supporting them. Where possible, provide specific numbers on how many people have been assisted, the positive outcomes that have been achieved and the barriers that people continue to face.
–  Try to quantify the impact of the issues raised by our key messages in your community by gathering statistics on the effect on individuals in your community.
–  Identify individuals/families that have compelling stories related to the key messages.  Enlist their support to speak to the media and to political candidates.
–  Identify individuals who have personal relationships with local members of the media and with local provincial candidates.
–  Identify a key spokesperson – Choose a person who is empowered to speak on behalf of your organization. Ensure that person has the support from your organization – Executive Director or Board President – and that they are comfortable speaking to the media and to politicians.
–  Assign responsibility for each part of the strategy and set time lines for accomplishing them.

(See Appendix 5 for a handy Election Campaign Checklist)

2. Prepare a Media Strategy

A/ Prepare a Media Package

–  Key message handout fact sheets (provided in part 2 of this package)
–  Local fact sheet of accomplishments, statistics on those served and impact on your community of the issues raised by our key messages.  Include a local contact name and phone number.
–  Copy of your latest newsletter
–  Stories of individuals related to key messages (include photographs where possible)

B/ Send media package to:

–  Assignment editor of local newspaper (if it’s a weekly, address to the Editor)
–  Local radio news directors and talk show hosts
–  Local televisions station assignment editor
–  Other media identified by your Strategy Committee members

C/ Follow-up with each outlet to:

–  Make sure package is received
–  Ask if any other information is needed
–  Offer to provide individuals with interesting stories
–  Ask if photo opportunities could be arranged
–  Determine interest in coverage (do a pitch!
–  Ask if other reporters/producers at the same publication/station might be interested in the story

 

Working with the Media

Overview
Although you have less control over the content of a news story, compared to an advertisement or public service announcement, your message has more impact when carried as part of a news story.  The public, in general, views news stories as more objective and more important.
The newsworthiness of a story is measured in many ways, but reporters look for stories that involve conflict, controversy or that hold some emotional appeal.
A number of things will influence the media in their decision on whether to do a story on Employment issues that affect people who have a disability, including:

  • How serious is the problem?
  • How many people are affected?
  • When did they last do a story on this, and what is new since then?
  • How many other organizations/individuals have similar stories?
  • What else is happening in the news today/this week?

Making Your Message Newsworthy

  • Keep the message short and simple.
  • Make sure your message is strong and conveys the seriousness of the problems currently facing Employment Services.
  • Make sure that wherever possible, you back your statements with facts and numbers.
Writing a News Release

–  Put your key message in your headline and in the first sentence of the release.   Make it brief and easy to understand.  Often, journalists will decide in the first sentence or paragraph whether this is a story they will cover.
–  Your release should answer the questions, who, what, where, when and why?
–  Avoid covering more than one or two issues in your news release.  Choose the topic/issue that most directly affects people with disabilities, rather than your organization.  If possible, your release should fit onto one page.
–  Make it look neat and easy to read.  Each release you send should have a similar look to it.  Your logo and name should be large.
–  Include the name and phone number of a contact person at the bottom of your release.  That person should be comfortable answering the media’s questions and be able to speak credibly on behalf of your organization. Make sure that the designated spokesperson is accessible by phone to the media.
–  It is helpful to send the news release to an individual reporter, rather than to the publication or broadcast outlet newsroom.   Your organization should have an up-to-date media contact list.  To establish a list, call each media outlet and ask for the name of the Assignment Editor (daily newspapers), the Editor (weekly newspapers) or the News Director or Assignment Editor at radio and television stations.  Don’t forget local magazines.
–  In cases where there are only a few media outlets receiving your release, you may wish to deliver them yourself to give you the opportunity to meet a reporter. Establishing a personal relationship with a reporter can often lead to better coverage.  If you are unable to personally deliver the release, fax it to members of the media.  Faxing implies urgency and ensures that most media outlets receive it at approximately the same time.
–  When you know the release has been received, follow-up with a phone call to ensure it has been received by the most appropriate person.  Ask if there is any further information they require and use this opportunity to “sell” them on the importance of this story – not to you, but to the public.

Preparing to be Interviewed

Whether you have solicited news coverage or are unexpectedly approached by the news media, it always pays to take the time to plan for each media interview.
–  If a reporter calls you unexpectedly and wants to interview you immediately, explain that you have some business to attend to, but say you will call them back within a specified amount of time.
–  Ask what the reporter’s deadline is.  Call them back as quickly as you can – always before their deadline.
–  Make sure you have their name, phone number, publication/station/program.
–  If the interview is for broadcast, ask how the interview will be used.  It may be used in its entirety as a feature, or be cut into short “clips” or “bites” to be used as part of newscasts.  You can then judge the length of your answers accordingly.
–  Ask if they will be interviewing anyone else for this particular story and if they know when this story is expected to run.
–  Tell them when you will call back.
–  Plan what you want to say – your message, the facts and examples to back your position up and answers to questions you think the reporter may ask.

(See Appendix 6 – Media Interview Request Form)

The Interview

–  Assume the reporter you talk to knows very little about disability and employment issues.  Keep the information you provide very simple, unless the reporter requests more complex information.   Avoid using jargon or short forms they may not understand.
–  Be message driven, rather than question driven.  While you do not want to avoid answering a reporter’s questions, try to use the questions as an opportunity to convey your main message and information you think is important.   Use ‘bridging’ to answer a question in a manner that allows you to steer the interview in the direction you would like to take it. For example:
Question: “Doesn’t government already fund employment programs and supports?”
Answer: That is true, but when you consider that last year taxpayers spent over $3.3 billion dollars on income support for people who have a disability and roughly $35 million on employment supports, how can we expect to see significant improvements of labour market participation for this group. If we want more people to reduce their dependency on the income support system and become contributors to the tax base, we must invest in the services and supports that will achieve this outcome. 49% of people who have a disability are still unemployed – that’s more than 6 times the national average.  Let me give you some examples.”
Other bridging phrases -“That is not true…here’s what you should know.”
“That is worth considering and may be true, but have you considered…?”
“I think there’s a more important point to be made here…”

*  Do not ask to speak “off the record”.  Assume everything you say, even in offhand remarks, could be tomorrow’s headline!
*  Try to make the interview as relaxed for you and the reporter as possible.  In all but very exceptional cases, the media is not out to “get” anyone.  They have a job to do – find out what the story is and tell it.  Help them do their job in any way you can.
*  If you don’t know – say so.  Then tell them you can help them to find the information they require.
*  Be pleasant.  Never appear angry or defensive.

Tips for Working with Television and Radio Reporters

–  Be prepared.  Time passes very quickly when you are being interviewed for a “longer” radio or television segment.  What may seem like a long time – ten or fifteen minutes – never seems like enough time when it’s done.   Make sure your strongest points are made at the beginning and try to repeat them again in the middle and at the end of your interview.  People often remember the first and last things they hear.
–   Television reporters (and newspaper photographers) look for highly visual stories.  The more action/color/crowds you provide, the more likely you are to get coverage.
–  Watch out for the dreaded, “Ums.”  Speak clearly and slowly.
–  On TV, appearance does count.  A pleasant, confident demeanor and a neat, professional look will ensure that your message is carried without distraction.

Organizing a News Conference

–  Depending on the importance of your announcement, you may consider holding a news conference.  In many cases, if the announcement is not a major one and if there is nothing visual to offer photographers, a simple news release sent to the media is enough to achieve your goals.
–  If you hold a news conference, time it to suit the deadline of the media outlet most important to convey your message.   If you want same day television coverage on the evening news, aim for early afternoon.  If a morning newspaper is most important, avoid morning news conferences.  Newspapers dislike running “old” news on the front page, so if a story has already run for a full day on radio and television, you will not likely get as good coverage in the paper the following morning.
–  If you are holding a news conference, choose a room that will look full according to the number of people you are inviting.  Encourage as many of your employees and clients to attend as is possible.

Follow-Up
–  If a reporter has done a good job, take the time to pick up the phone and tell them that you appreciate their work.  Reporters don’t like to think that they are advocates for organizations, but they do like to know that they have told the story in a fair and accurate manner.  If you have received positive response as a result of their story, let them know.
–  Save newspaper clippings, as well as video and audio tapes of interviews.  They can sometimes be used to forward to other reporters who are considering doing a similar story.

Other Opportunities for Media Coverage

Radio Talk Shows – Call your community radio stations to determine if they have interview or phone-in programs.  If they do, ask to speak to the producer.  Tell her/him that you would like to forward some information that may be of interest for a future program.  If he/she is agreeable, arrange to call back after the producer has had time to review it to see if an interview might be arranged.  Offer to provide other guests, such as prominent employers and employees who have a disability.
Local Television or Cable Shows – Many local television stations have interview programs that focus on news or feature stories.  All community cable stations carry programs that feature stories of local interest in the cities/towns they serve.  Again, call stations for the names of the programs and speak directly to the producers to “make your pitch.”
Editorial Boards of Newspapers – For major issues, a meeting with a local newspaper’s editorial board can be very productive.  While these discussions vary, they are often more for increasing the newspaper’s awareness of an issue, rather than to produce a story.  Your organization may wish to partner with other organizations with similar goals to discuss the broader issue of the impact of so many people who have a disability being out of the workforce.
Save these opportunities for very important issues and go prepared to answer some tough and penetrating questions.  Be sure to include employers, self-advocates and even family members.
Op-Ed Pieces – These articles are called “op-ed” because they run on the page opposite the editorial page.  Often, newspapers are looking for opinion/information pieces that are written by prominent or outspoken members of the communities they serve.  Put together a strong idea and an outline, call the newspaper’s editor or managing editor and “make your pitch.”  The key to a strong op-ed article is to focus on human issues, tell stories with emotional impact and make your issues easy to understand.
Letters to the Editor – This is a simple way to show your local newspaper the importance of disability issues to their readers.  Whenever coverage is given to issues relating to people who have a disability, encourage members to send response letters to the editor.  In those letters, members can express their own views, their thanks to the newspaper for recognizing the importance of these issues and their gratitude or displeasure at the actions/statements of others.  Letters must be brief (two paragraphs maximum) and must be signed.


3. Recommended Approach to Candidates

A. Letters to Candidates
Send a letter to each candidate that briefly describes the issues related to the key messages and inform the candidates that they will receive a phone call to discuss issues related to employment services for people who have a disability.  Ask the candidates for a commitment to meet with the organization’s representatives prior to the election, and/or, in the coming months if they are elected.Include with the letter:
–  Key message backgrounder (Appendix 1 – Key Messages: Background and Details)
–  Local fact sheet of accomplishments, statistics on those served and impact on your community of the issues raised by our key messages.  Include a local contact name and phone number.
–  Stories of individuals related to key messages (include photographs where possible)
–  Employment and Disability Fact Sheet (Appendix 4)

B.     Phone Calls to Candidates
–  Request for Meeting – If not possible discuss  issues on the telephone
–  Request for support
–  If unwilling to meet during the campaign, request a commitment to meet after the election (should they be elected) to discuss action
If you do not have time to meet with all candidates, give priority to those who are most likely to be elected.

C.    All Candidates Meetings
–  Call candidates or local newspaper to determine dates/times of meetings.  Because some meetings deal with specific issues, only those meetings of a general nature or those dealing with social service/disability issues need to be covered.
–  Assign a delegation, including prominent employers, self-advocates and possibly family members to attend each meeting and, when possible, make a statement and pose a question to candidates regarding key messages. (Appendix 3 – Face-to-face Questions for Candidates)
–  Provide delegation with the Ontario Disability Employment Network’s  materials about All Candidates Meetings
–  Consider hosting an all candidates meeting in cooperation with other social service or disability groups in your community.

All Candidates Meetings and Candidates at the Door

Opportunity: All candidates meetings and door-to-door canvassing by candidates are an excellent way to get our messages on the agenda. The more often they hear our message, the more likely they are to see our issues as important issues in an election campaign and once the new government is formed.
Approach: Whether in an all candidates meeting or at the door, it is best to stick to one issue or question, and to keep it relatively simple. The door-to-door canvass, however, can provide the opportunity to have a longer conversation. In a very few minutes, you can make several powerful points with a candidate and give her/him a chance to respond.
Caution: It is very important that your organization not be seen as supporting one candidate or party over another. As an individual, of course, you can be as political as you want. However, if you associate your actions with that of the organization, caution is very important. When asking questions, it is perfectly all right to say “I believe…” or “Our organization believes….” followed by a statement and question. (See Appendix 3 – Face-to-face Questions for Candidates)

After the Election

–  The Ontario Disability Employment Network will contact Party Leaders and prominent politicians to request a meeting to discuss actions to be taken in future by the Network and by government to address key issues.
–  Members should contact newly elected MPP’s to request a meeting to discuss action to be taken in future.

4. Feedback

Don’t forget to keep the Network informed about your election strategy – meetings, media coverage, follow up and responses from political leaders. It will be important to the Network to know who our allies are and where the opposition sits when it comes time to pursue our key messages and issues with the new government. Your experiences will also give other members incentive to join the campaign.

The Network would also like your feedback on how useful you found this package. Did it help? Did it serve your needs? Do you think a consistent media strategy from the sector is helpful?
Please take a moment to complete the Feedback Form found in Appendix 7.

Appendix 1

Key Messages – Background and Details
Issue 1: Access to Services and Supports


Background
Currently the ODSP Employment Supports program provides subsidies to employment agencies that assist people who have a disability get into the workforce. These agencies are paid in two primary ways. There is a set fee based on the achievement of a job. This amount is $1,000 if the person is assisted to find a job and stay in that job 6 weeks; and a further $6,000 if the person lasts an additional 7 weeks for a total of 13 weeks on the job.

In many instances this places the service agency at risk. What if the cost of providing service exceeds $7,000; what if the person quits or looses the job prior to the 13th week? The agency could work with an individual for months and not receive any compensation whatsoever.
Ultimately this lands on the back of the person who has a disability. The agency’s first task, when a new client shows up at their door, is to assess the potential cost of providing service and the risk of the person not lasting in the position. If they assess their cost will exceed $7,000 or the risk too great they are more likely to decline service to that individual. For many people who have a disability this means further discrimination based on the severity of their disability.

The second payment scheme under ODSP Employment Supports is a monthly fee for each month the person stays on the job. For people who are Income Support recipients this amounts to 50% of the Income Support savings for that individual or $250 per month, whichever is greater. This is intended to provide incentive to the service agency to find ‘better’ jobs – more hours of work per week at higher wages = better compensation for the agency.
This makes sense in theory however it also contributes to further discrimination for people with more severe disabilities and barriers. Generally speaking, people with more severe disabilities have higher support needs which represent higher costs. At the same time, these individuals often enter the workforce in part-time, entry-level positions. In this scenario, the agency is faced with higher costs and lower revenues. Again, this is not a good business model for the service agency.

More recently, Service Canada has entered into a Federal/Provincial Labour Market Agreement with Ontario, downloading certain disability support programs and resources. This has landed with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and will soon roll out under the Employment Ontario banner. Employment Ontario has maintained the former Service Canada programs which currently provide funding for some Accessible Resource Centres and a wage subsidy program.

EO has not yet released its new Disability Service Strategy however our understanding, at this point, is that they will integrate disability services and supports into generic, one-stop EO Centres that will service all people looking for work. Given that the Canada Manpower Centers of the 70’s and 80’s could not provide services to people who have a disability, we are afraid that the new EO model will not do any better.

The range of disabilities along with the range of interventions and supports that specialized agencies have developed over the past 30 years cannot be replicated under one roof. In the 70’s and 80’s when a person with a disability showed up at a Canada Manpower Centre they were referred to the local sheltered workshop. Even today, where only a few sheltered workshops exist, this represents an old service model that takes resources to operate and continues to entrench people who have a disability into a life of dependency on the Income Support system.

Our Message
We believe that all people who have a disability who are motivated to work should have access to the services and supports they need. These services and supports should not be denied or limited based on the severity of the individual’s disability. This must also include access to a range of specialized disability support agencies that have the expertise to provide supports for a particular disability. All people who want to work should be supported to do so. That’s in everyone’s interest.

Issue 2: Greater Investment in Employment Services and Supports
Background
In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the Ontario Government spent over $3.3 billion dollars on ODSP Income Support for this sector of our population. This has been growing at over 5% per year and will continue to escalate at even greater levels into the future. In the same period, the government’s budget for ODSP Employment Supports was $55 million dollars on, of which only $35 million was spent on direct supports to help these people get into the workforce. Clearly the results are a reflection of the investment.

There are a number of gaps in the current system. Perhaps one of the greatest is in the lack of investment in prevention. It is well understood that it is more difficult to get people off the income support system, once they’re on it, than to provide alternatives to help them avoid the income support system altogether. One area that will have a positive, long-term impact is to invest in youth.

Kids who have disabilities are frequently excluded from the workforce in the same way as adults who have a disability. Most graduate from high school with very little work experience if any. They don’t have any idea about what type of jobs they are interested in or are suitable to them, or any concept about workplace culture, responsibilities, etc. These kids are headed straight to the ODSP office to sign up for Income Support.

Currently most Boards of Education are cutting back on work co-op programs and co-op placements for students who have a disability. At the same time there are very few funding strategies that help kids with disabilities get summer jobs and after school jobs. There is a significant gap in programs and supports for employment programs for kids who have a disability; programs that can prepare them for the world of work.

Our Message
If we want to: raise people out of poverty; contain Income Support expenditures; and, increase contributions to the tax base, we must do more to help people who have a disability get into the workforce. We must invest in the services and supports that will help people who have a disability gain entry to the workforce.

We must also develop strategies and programs to help kids get into the workforce sooner, giving them access to the same experiences as their non-disabled peers. Kids who have a disability must have summer and after school jobs so their transition to the working world is more natural.

Issue 3: Ontario Needs an Employment First Policy Framework

Background
Funding for employment supports is extremely fragmented and inefficient. Currently there are five different Ministries and Government Departments that fund services and supports to help people who have a disability get into the workforce. This does not include Worker’s Compensation, Employment Insurance, CPP or private insurers. These funding bodies are disconnected. All have different eligibility criteria, rules and regulations, reporting procedures, different data collection systems that are not integrated or compatible and most critically, different types of services and supports that they will fund. There is no relationship between them from an operating perspective.

At the same time, some of these Ministries also fund programs that are based on old service delivery models that perpetuate a dependency on social assistance for people who have a disability. Some even fund programs that directly compete with and undermine the objectives of those programs and services funded to help people who have a disability get into the workforce.

The system is extremely hard to navigate for people who have a disability and service agencies are often not able to access the resources and services that people need in order to be successfully employed.

Our Message
When it comes to day options and programs, Ontario needs a Policy Framework that crosses all Provincial Ministries and Departments that fund services and programs for people who have a disability – MCSS DSA, MCSS ODSP-ES, MTCU Employment Ontario, Ministry of Health, Provincial portions of Service Canada, Municipal Employment Programs and Ministry of Education. This Policy Framework places employment as the top funding priority for daytime supports and services for people who have a disability

  • It focuses on integrated work at commensurate wages – “real work for real pay”
  • This is not to be confused with a ‘work for welfare’ approach whereby participation in work is required in order to access income support and people are penalized for non participation.


Appendix 2

Sample Letter to Candidates

Your letterhead or logo

Date:

Dear:  (candidate for provincial election)
On behalf of _____(your organization)__________________, we are writing to request an opportunity to speak with you before the October 6th election. There are matters of great urgency that affect the lives of many people in our community, and we want you to know about them.

People who have a disability comprise over 16% of the population in Ontario. At almost 2 million people, this group is our largest minority. According to a recent report by the conference Board of Canada this will grow to 20% by the end of this decade. At the same time, people who have a disability are disproportionately excluded from the labour market. Statistics Canada reports that 49% of people who have a disability are unemployed – over 6 times the National average. This also means most of these people live in poverty.

Access to Services and Supports

People who have a disability can work and want to work. There are many studies and reports that validate that, with the right services and supports, people who have a disability can make a significant contribution to the workforce. Currently there are many limitations and restrictions that deny access to the necessary services and supports people need to help them get into the workforce. Often, people are refused access to the services and supports they need based on the severity of their disability. At other times service agencies cannot access the right services and supports for job seekers due to restrictive funding models. There is a trend to move to ‘generic’ employment centers in Ontario. Generic service models have not been effective in the past and continue to excluding people who have a disability from the workforce.

Ontario must ensure that all people who have a disability, who want to work, have access to the services and supports that will help them achieve this goal. They must also have access to the network of service agencies that provide the specialized services and support they need?

Investing in services and supports that will help people who have a disability get into the workforce

Last year, the provincial government spent over $3.3 billion dollars on ODSP Income Support for this segment of our population. This has been growing at over 5% per year and will continue to escalate into the future. In the same period, the government spent about $35 million dollars on ODSP Employment Supports to help these people get back into the workforce. If we want to: raise people out of poverty; contain Income Support expenditures; and, increase contributions to the tax base, we must do more to help people who have a disability get into the workforce.

Ontario must invest more resources into the supports and services that will help people who have a disability become contributing citizens of this province?

An Employment First Policy Framework

Funding for employment supports is extremely fragmented and inefficient. Currently there are five different Ministries and Government Departments that fund services and supports to help people who have a disability get into the workforce. This does not include Worker’s Compensation, Employment Insurance, CPP or private insurers. These government funding programs each have their own mandate, rules and regulations, eligibility criteria, reporting, data systems and so on. There is no relationship between them from an operating perspective.

At the same time, some of these Ministries also fund programs that are based on old service delivery models that perpetuate a dependency on social assistance for people who have a disability. Some even fund programs that directly compete with and undermine the objectives of helping people who have a disability get into the workforce.

Ontario needs a Policy Framework that coordinates the efforts of all Ministries and Government Departments and that places employment as the top funding priority for day supports and services for people who have a disability. This must be developed in consultation with the disability sector – service providers and people who have a disability.

If you are elected what will you do to help people who have a disability get into the workforce and become contributing members of Ontario?

Will you:

  • Improve and ensure access to the specialized services and supports that people need to be successful in the workplace?
  • Increase the investment in employment services and supports for people who have a disability?
  • Help create a policy framework that prioritizes employment when it comes to government spending on disability services (other than housing and residential supports)?

I look forward to your response as I weigh my voting options for the upcoming election. If you would like more information on any of these issues, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

 

Sincerely,

 

(Your Name)


(Contact information)


Appendix 3

Face to Face Questions for Candidates

We are trying to focus our efforts on a few issues. Here are some straightforward questions you can ask candidates if they come to your door or if you are able to attend an ‘All Candidates Meeting’.

Opening Statement:

People who have a disability comprise over 16% of the population in Ontario. At almost 2 million people, this group is our largest minority. According to a recent report by the conference Board of Canada this will grow to 20% by the end of this decade. At the same time, people who have a disability are disproportionately excluded from the labour market. Statistics Canada reported that 49% of people who have a disability are unemployed – over 6 times the National average. This means most of these people live in poverty.

Access to Services and Supports

People who have a disability can work and want to work. There are many studies and reports that validate that, with the right services and supports, people who have a disability can make a significant contribution to the workforce. Currently there are many limitations and restrictions that deny access to the necessary services and supports people need to get into the workforce. Often, people are refused access to the services and supports they need based on the severity of their disability. At other times service agencies cannot access the right services and supports for job seekers due to restrictive funding models. There is a trend to move to ‘generic’ employment centers in Ontario. Generic service models have not been effective in the past and contribute to the disenfranchisement people who have a disability thereby excluding them from the workforce.

Is your party prepared to ensure that all people who have a disability, who want to work, have access to the services and supports that will help them achieve this goal and to preserve the network of service agencies that provide the specialized services and support these individuals need?

Investing in services and supports that will help people who have a disability get into the workforce

Last year, the provincial government spent over $3.3 billion dollars on ODSP Income Support for this sector of our population. This has been growing at over 5% per year and will continue to escalate at these levels in the future. In the same period, the government spent about $35 million dollars on ODSP Employment Supports to help these people get back into the workforce. If we want to: raise people out of poverty; contain Income Support expenditures; and, increase contributions to the tax base, we must do more to help people who have a disability get into the workforce.

Is your party committed to investing more resources into the supports and services that will help people who have a disability become contributing citizens of this province?

 

Creating an Employment First Policy Framework

Funding for employment supports is extremely fragmented and inefficient. Currently there are five different Ministries and Government Departments that fund services and supports to help people who have a disability get into the workforce. This does not include Worker’s Compensation, Employment Insurance, CPP or private insurers. These government funding programs each have their own mandate, rules and regulations, eligibility criteria, reporting, data systems and so on. There is no relationship between them from an operating perspective.

At the same time, some of these Ministries also fund programs that are based on old service delivery models that perpetuate a dependency on social assistance for people who have a disability. Some even fund programs that directly compete with and undermine the objectives of those programs and services funded to help people who have a disability get into the workforce.

Ontario needs a Policy Framework that coordinates the efforts of all Ministries and Government Departments and that places employment as the top funding priority for day supports and services for people who have a disability.

Will your party commit to working with the disability sector – service providers and people who have a disability to create an Employment First policy framework for Ontario?

Appendix 4

Fact Sheet – Disability and Employment

  • 16.5% of Canadians live with a disability. In Ontario, this represents over 1.9 million people. This is predicted to grow to 20% by the end of this decade. This represents the largest minority in the province.
  • While the numbers vary according to the source, a significant number of people who have a disability are currently out of the workforce.
  • StatsCan reported that 49% of people who have a disability are unemployed.
  • Human Resources and Skills Development Canada cite the unemployment rate for people who have a disability at 10.4% vs. the National average of 6.8%.
  • In 2010/11, the Province spent $3.3 billion on Income Support for people who have a disability. This has been growing at over 5% per year.
  • In the same period, the Ministry of Community and Social Services budget for ODSP Employment Supports was $55 million, of which about $35 million was spent on direct supports for people who have a disability who were attempting to access the labour market.
  • People who have a disability are a viable source of labour. Studies and reports show:

*  90% of people who have a disability scored as average or above in terms of performance on the job – DuPont
*  86% have better than average attendance – DuPont
*  97% rate as average to above average in terms of safety on the job – DuPont
*  46% of people who have a disability work harder than other workers – Harris
*   39% of people who have a disability are more reliable than other workers – Harris
*  People who have a disability are 5 times more likely to stay on the job – Pizza Hut
*  Informal reports from employers also demonstrate people who have a disability to be more loyal and to have a positive affect on employee morale and customer appreciation

  • The Conference Board of Canada is predicting a one million worker shortfall in Canada

  • In January, 2011, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses cited that in a survey of members, 34% reported shortage of skilled and semi skilled workers to be their number one business constraint and a further 13% reported shortage of unskilled labour as their primary business constraint.

Appendix 5

Campaign Checklist

Task Person(s) Responsible Timeline

Preparation

*  Form an Election Strategy Committee
*  Prepare a fact sheet that contains bullet points outlining the severity of the impact of the issues raised by our key messages in your community
*  Identify individuals who have personal relationships with members of the media and with provincial politicians
*  Identify a key spokesperson, empowered to speak on behalf of your organization
*  Determine dates of all-candidate meetings and assign people to attend

Media Strategy

Prepare media package that includes:

*  Key message handout fact sheets (provided in part 2 of this kit)
*  Local fact sheet of accomplishments
*  Statistics on challenges/problems created by underfunding in your community.
*  Local news release or note that includes name and phone number of local contact
*  Information sheet on the individuals who have agreed to tell their stories (include photographs where possible

*   Follow-up calls to media including request to meet with local editorial board to discuss issues

Political Strategy

*  Letters & package of info to each candidate(see draft)
*  Follow-up phone calls to candidates – where appropriate, request for meeting
*  Determine dates of ‘All Candidates Meetings’
*  Assign Delegation to attend All Candidates Meetings
*  Consider hosting an All Candidates Meeting in cooperation with others

Follow Up

Report your election campaign activities to the Ontario Disability Employment Network Government Relations Committee at gparker@waypointcentre.ca along with any response from the media or candidates

Post-Election

Contact each newly elected MPP to request a meeting to discuss specific action to be taken in future

Follow Up

Let us know about any follow up meetings and responses. Contact our  Government Relations Committee at gparker@waypointcentre.ca

 

Appendix 6

Media Interview Request Form

Date:   ____________________

Time:  ____________________

Name of reporter: ___________________________ Contact #

Publication/Station:           __________________________________

How will this be used? ______________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________

Others being interviewed: __________________________________

Reporter’s deadline: ______________________________________ (call back as soon as possible)

When is this story expected to run? _________________ (do not ask for a copy of the story)

The main message I want to convey:

Facts/Statistics to support my main message:

Examples (such as stories about people affected):

Other messages (if time allows):

How Did It Go/ Follow-up?

Appendix 7

Election Kit Feedback Form

After using the election kit, please take a few minutes to complete this form and return it to Ontario Disability Employment Network.  Your comments will help us improve our election package for future campaigns.

I found the following pieces of the election kit helpful: _________________________

I did not find the following pieces of the election kit particularly helpful (suggest improvements if any):

I would add the following elements to the kit: ______________________________

I would remove the following elements from the kit: ________________________________

General comments: ___________________________________________________________

 

Please return completed form to: gparker@waypointcentre.ca

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Achieving Social and Economic Inclusion, from segregation to ‘employment first’ (CACL)


Links to the study entitled "Achieving social and economic inclusion"CACL has  completed a research study on employment supports for people with intellectual disabilities. The study looks at effective policies and practices for transitioning from sheltered and enclave based employment services for people with intellectual disabilities to supports that enable inclusion in the labour market. The research study follows on a renewed international interest in what have been dubbed “employment first” or “employment focused” approaches marking the first major Canadian contribution to this dialogue.

Click here to view the study

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Mayor Bradley recognized as ‘catalyst’ by Community Living Ontario


June 14, 2011 — JD Booth

Community Living Ontario recognized Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley as a “community catalyst” in an awards ceremony at its 58th annual conference last week.

Conference Committee chair Doug Cooper, who made the presentation, called Bradley a “staunch supporter” of the community living movement.

“He believes in people’s capacity to be productive, contributing citizens and knows first-hand the value of people who have a disability and what they bring to the workplace,” said Cooper.
– See more at: http://www.lambtonshield.com/mayor-bradley-recognized-as-catalyst-by-community-living-ontario/

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Sarnia Pushes for Faster Accessibility (Sarnia Observer)


May 10, 2011

The begining portion of this article discusses Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley’s support for accessibility issues.

http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3115802

By CATHY DOBSON, The Observer

The sooner, the better.

Sarnia council wants the quick removal of barriers that create additional challenges for the disabled in Ontario.

The city’s politicians went on record Monday opposing efforts by the Association of Municipalities and the Ontario Public Transit Association to delay the province’s Integrated Accessibility Regulation (IAR).

At Mayor Mike Bradley’s urging, council voted to support the IAR and asked Lambton County council to do the same.

Council also endorsed a request from Coun. Bev MacDougall to ask the provincial government to commit dollars to assist municipalities meet the new standards.

“As an aging community, there’s going to be greater need for our buildings to comply and the costs will be significant,” MacDougall said.

Coun. Jon McEachran said he’s heard local business owners say they are concerned about the cost.

“When push comes to shove, it could cause some small businesses to go out of business,” McEachran said.

“I’m all for the legislation, especially for new construction, but I’m leery of voting for something if it is retroactive.”

City staff said they believe the legislation relates to new construction only.

“The key is that this is a good business opportunity to expand customer base,” said Bradley, who has aggressively taken up the cause of access issues.

It’s also a matter of respect, he added.

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Rich Donovan Speaks At Champions for Change 2010 (Rough Transcript)


To view a PDF of the transcript, click here

Notice to reader

The following is a rough draft transcript of the proceedings as indicated.  This is not a certified verbatim transcript, nor is it intended to be so. This is merely a written copy of communication access provided via captioning.  It should only be used as an unedited guide for the reader. This rough draft transcript may not be reproduced or distributed in any way, shape or form without the express written consent of Neeson & Associates Court Reporting and Captioning Inc.

Rich Donovan:

I thank you, ODEN, for hosting me today and allowing me to speak to all of you..

Today we’re going to try to talk about disability.  You walked in today thinking that disability was in the corporate environment, and I’m going to give you concrete facts and figures too because I think we will all agree that we are not quite where we want to be yet.  There’s a lot of work to do.

There’s a quote somewhere that says, well, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  The idea of that is often true.  But if it’s broken, first you have to declare it broken, and then you have to figure out how to fix it.  I think today we will say the system is broken.  It is not working.  We are not getting the results that we want to get.  So how do we fix it?  Let’s take a look at that.

So this is what I call the magic number one slide because I am a firm believer that everyday business is derived from numbers.  So what is disability?  What are we actually looking at globally?  This is not a social issue in a boardroom.  This is a business issue. If you look at it with a social mindset, you are dead on arrival. We have to look at this in cold statistics.  So here you see the macro statistics.  How big is the population?  Globally, persons with disabilities represent 1.1 billion people, roughly the size of China.  Now, you tell me the CEO that doesn’t want to be in China, I will tell you the CEO that is going to be fired. What do we talk about when we talk about income?  We are talking about roughly 4 billion dollars.  Most of this is through transfers, money transferred to persons with disabilities.  Roughly 540 billion dollars is disposable income.  So that’s roughly the same amount that the U.S.’s population was 50 years ago.  And we all know what happened in the U.S.  In Canada we are looking at an income bracket about the size of the GTA.  Now, again, if you went to the CEO of Bell and said, ignore the GTA, he would probably look at you sideways and say, what the hell are you talking about?  So there’s a lot to tap into there, but they just don’t understand that yet.  That’s not their fault.  That’s our fault.  It’s our job to help them understand the opportunity.

Now the bottom two lines of this chart show what I call a sink hole.  So for each person with a disability, there are two or three people, family or friends, who are emotionally invested in those people.  That represents an additional 2 billion people globally or 8.1 trillion dollars, and that’s disposable income, folks.  From a marketing perspective, it doesn’t get more of a strong bond emotionally than disability.  So if you are trying to grab a mother who has a kid with CP or a mother who has a kid with ADD and you can tap into that emotion and you can tap into that, it’s the Holy Grail market.  So I don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of persons of disabilities, people say. I look at him sideways and his primary market is women.  So I say, do you find you’re taking advantage of women when you tap into their market?  He says, no.  It’s part of business.  That’s the same thing here.  It’s part of doing business.  Next slide, please.

What does this look like from an ecosystem point of view?  How do you fit together what we are looking at from a perspective of the marketplace of people with disabilities is interacting with the corporate community.  When I say corporate community it can be the mom and pop shop on Main Street.  So you can see in the VENN diagram, people with disabilities on the left and employers on the right.  How do these interact, and how as a service provider should you be looking at this?

Well, I’m betting that today you look at this as simply getting people a job.  Pretty simple, right?  That’s how we have all thought of it.  It ain’t that. The thing is you cannot get the job until you sell the idea..  The way you sell the idea to a corporation is simply one word, “revenue.”  Until they bring in revenue, they are not going to hire us.  They are just not.  We have seen globally governments trying to mandate this stuff, in Europe, in South America, and in Canada.  It doesn’t work.  It doesn’t happen that way.  If you go back to the ’60s and ’70s and the  Women’s Movement in the U.S. and Canada, jobs didn’t come until the ’80s.  You had years of circulating ideas and the marketplace and changing how the marketplace works and then 15 years later, somebody got invited and said, oh, yeah, we should hire these guys.  Yeah, let’s do that.

And all the laws that were there, they didn’t really move the needle.  What moved the needle was corporation’s self-interest, it makes these folks more powerful consumers.  And that is what will happen in disability today.  Here’s the good news.  I will take half as long as it would if we did it through employment first.  Employment first will probably take 30 years.  This will take 10 to 15.  That’s the good news.  Next slide, please.

So how do we actually do that?  I think you have all heard the market has design, the market has need.  We have all been hearing that for 10 years.  What does that mean?  What does that actually look like when you get into the boardroom?  Because if it’s not part of the corporate plan, if it doesn’t have a budget and somebody’s butt isn’t on the line for results, it’s going to go precisely nowhere.  So corporations need a plan to get this done.  And what we have done is developed a framework where companies in all kinds of different industries are actually going to do this.  I have looked at global disabilities support specifically in the areas of employment, and they are all pretty much the same.  It starts to become, okay, how much do I have to spend to get over the law to equal the fine that I have to pay? Simple math.  Every good corporation will do the same thing because they don’t have a framework to use to say, okay, how do I turn these 1 billion people, these two billion people into additional revenue?  One guy just looked at me and said, Okay.  Show me how.  And nobody knows exactly how yet.  That’s the work we have ahead. So this is the first step.

We have broken this down into 7 different areas.  On your left is the employee’s side.  On the right is the revenue side, and right smack dab in the middle is the shareholder and if it doesn’t make sense to the shareholder, it’s going nowhere.  If it is not incremental in value to the shareholder, nobody is going to do it.  The big thing on our side is this makes sense, and when I speak to groups like this, usually the question I get is, well, I don’t want to wait 5 to 10 years.  How do I do this tomorrow?  When you figure that out, let me know, because change on this scale takes time.  And the unfortunate part is we have been barking up the wrong tree for 40 years.  So we got 40 years of trying, working, doing our best and meaning very well, but not moving the needle.  In fact, I would say we are actually going backwards.  The numbers are actually getting worse.

So there’s got to be something like a framework and a way forward for us to help shareholding companies to understand the reason for doing this, and then actually go do it.  I think that’s the step that’s missing today is I think we have done a pretty good job of making the case over the last 10 years.  I think we have done a really poor job of step two.  I think we have done a really poor job of planning and landscaping.  I think we have to evolve into that.

So on the left side is the employer’s role.  There’s two roles for the employers.  One is to recruit.  How do I recruit and get these people? And secondly, more importantly, how do I keep them?  How do I move them to an organization?  How do I take the guy in the wheelchair who can’t speak, is deaf, from day one to CEO? How do I get this guy a job?  Because that’s our language today.  How do I make these people incredibly successful? Success is defined differently for different people, whether you’re CEO of Bell Canada or working in another area, success is possible for everybody.  It’s just scaled differently.

So we are looking at diversity recruiting and turning it into disability recruiting.  What we tend to do in disability recruiting is trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.  Have any of you tried that?  It’s hard. From the laughs in the room, perhaps some of you have done that too.  We need to find what works for people.  From a marketing and finance ability, we need to get those folks in the door.  That’s how they did it in other markets. That’s how we have to do that today. The companies who don’t do that have a lot of trouble hiring people who are diverse. Companies who try to find this specific role often find they aren’t meeting the roles they are looking for.

Second, the process needs to be owned by the business.  You will find a lot of these programs, I call them “programs” for people with disabilities have been set out specifically for people with disabilities.  They don’t work, folks, because nobody in business is invested in them. Nobody cares. I know this guy who was coming in for the program who will hire everybody.  We will try that and see if it works.  The managers never met the guy.  They weren’t invested in the guy.  So what happens to that individual?  He is going to work.  He is going to sit off in the corner and do his job well, and then he’s going to say, Hey, they aren’t investing in me as an employee, and he’s going to walk out the door. They will ask, Why am I doing this? The guy just walked out the door of that group.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  It is not successful. So it’s key that managers own the employees, otherwise you are doomed to failure. Always recruit where there is success. Don’t go to places that you don’t usually go.  I know that sounds strange, right?  I mean, how are you going to find new people if you are going to the old places? There are people with disabilities everywhere.  You’re just not finding them. So find that right person, go back to where you had success, and keep going back to that wealth.  Don’t try to reinvent the wheel here.  You are going to waste your time, waste your resources, and everybody is going to be frustrated.

I’m going to quickly go through the next point.  We all know that what works here is talent first and disability second.  I take that to the extreme.  I ignore the disability. People with disabilities know how to deal with themselves.  They know how to figure out their environments.  Leave it up to them.  Focus on the job.  Focus on success.  Don’t even talk about disabilities. I go to probably 50 events a year including people with disabilities, and I never once talk about disability.  I always talk about being successful.  And that’s really something — for someone who has been doing it the same way for 30 years, that may be a challenge, but it works. It works every single time.  We all know the guy is disabled.  But you don’t need to talk about it. Focus on why he’s here.

The other point I would say is be honest.  This is hard.  There is no magic wand here. Companies are going to make mistakes, and that’s a good thing.  Prepare them for that.  If you think it’s going to be all wine and roses and it is not wine and roses, it’s going to be a tough sell on day two. So keep that always in your minds. So retention.  Again, this goes back to first, you always focus on productivity. Everything is about productivity.  Not being nice or doing good things, squeezing every ounce of productivity from that resource we can. They do that with every employee on the floor, why not your guy?  Why isn’t your guy treated exactly the same? Make sure he has the tools to perform. Always focus on the results.  It is not about the process.  It is not about the accommodation.  It’s not about finding budgets.  It’s about delivery. I had a professor in business school where I highly recommend you read his book.  I can’t remember the name of the book, but Google might find it or you will find it. His 200-page book came down to one word SHIP, that’s S-H-I-P, in case you are wondering. Always deliver.  No matter what you do, at the end of the day, you always have ship results.  And that applies to persons with disabilities too. This isn’t about jobs.  This is about value.  And if the results aren’t there, give more.

Career management.  I don’t know if people ever talked about career management for persons with disabilities.  We all focus on getting their butts in the seats.  What do you do once they are there and how do you develop?  How do you retain?  How do you move these folks along?  And should you do it as fast as everybody else? I call it career management on steroids. If you find a great person with a disability  and he or she is fantastic, move them quickly.  Give them more responsibilities quickly. Move them faster than you move anybody else.

Next slide, please. So now we look at the right side of our Matrix which is the customer side.  And I think this is more important than the employee side.  I think this is the most important side. When we develop this market as a viable marketplace and figure out how to speak to them not like they are tokens, but figure out what makes them tick as consumers.  Figure out what pushes their buttons.  Figure out how they evolved themselves from buying decisions to buying to consumption, then we will have a much different conversation. Today we are having a conversation about  doing what is right.  And, man, going to bed at night, that’s got to make you feel good, that you’re doing what is right. But I guarantee you there’s always those words at the back of your brain going, you know what?  Is this actually right?  Is this actually going to get me to where I want to go?  Is this actually going to unlock the potential of these individuals? I will leave that for you to decide.  I can’t answer that question for you. This is the way you do this.

So on the left, you see this picture and what you can’t see, is this guy is an amateur marshal arts fighter and he wears a hearing aid and it says, because life is inversely proportional to what you can hear. Because this guy was knocked out in the ring, his hearing aid is gone. That is how people with disabilities are seeing themselves.  They aren’t seeing themselves as a charity case.  They aren’t seeing themselves as this body of people with disabilities.  They are starting to be empowered. And when that happens, companies can tap into that. The thought goes from, isn’t that nice? To, wow, isn’t that cool? That’s the conversation we have to have.

In the middle you see this rather trendy lady.  And it’s very forward.  I don’t know if you can see it, but it’s very sexy.  And we all know sex sells.  I guarantee you, you did not think I would be talking about disability and sexy, did you? That’s where this is going because we know that sex sells.  We need to start incorporating that into the world disability market as well. Taboos need to go out the window.  How do you see yourself as an individual?  You’re sitting on the couch as a double amputee.  Now your brand is this woman with two wooden legs that are gorgeous.  That’s your brand today. And probably all of you have seen the brand Itel which are cool economic kitchen tools. This was created by a woman with disabilities who wanted to continue cooking.  Now Itel doesn’t market to that community.  Their main marketplace is 22 to 28.  They just think it’s cool. So that’s an example where the development needs to go.  Use disability as an inspiration and make it cool.  That’s where this is going in the next 5 to 10 years.  Some of my clients are already starting to do that. And what you’re going to see in the next 3 years is going to blow your mind and you’re going to say one day, I wonder if that was inspired by people with disabilities.  And it will be.

Next slide, please. Digital, I feel compelled to put this slide in there for digital because the reality is there is no store front anymore.  Your company is known by the worldwide web.  For one in 44 don’t use fliers anymore.  They don’t use the newspaper. They get everything online. In the older age bracket, I think the statistic was 70% baby boomers had made more online purchases in the last 35 days.  So even babyboomers are getting on board with this idea. So being digital is critical and the idea of using social network and using digital Delivery effectively for a corporation, disabilities need to be part of this. And this is where the innovation becomes really powerful because if a guy uses his hand to navigate a website, he can do it and it just became easier for everybody else. So I spend a lot of time with these techno geeks that talk about stuff and I only pretend to understand, but they now say, “How would A person with disability do it so I can incorporate that and leverage it.”

So the three questions that companies need to ask are, “Can customers access your sites and communicate with you?  Can they access your products?  Can they access your messages and play with them?” If they can do those three things, you are free to go.  And nobody can do those three things yet, but we will get there eventually. How do you do this?  How do you as a company go home today and actually start to do some of this stuff? This is the solution in the box slide. The questions are always how.  You may understand the why, but you don’t understand the how. The how not to do this is comply with the law.  That is how most companies are approaching this today.  I will comply with the law and do what the government tells me and I’m done. Yeah, well, your competition is going to kick your butt because they are looking at this as an important marketplace.

So first what you have to do is figure out where disability meets its strategic objective. The strategic objective for one company is not the same as another like TD Bank.  TD Bank is a consumer based company that has to focus on marketing strategies and customer service standards. A company like Alcan has to look at things like product innovation, how to make their processes better and their products better around this idea of accessibility integration. So for each company, it is not one size fits all. You can’t go in with one thought for everybody.  You have to focus on the strategic niche of the individual company. Build the team.  Who is going to be accountable for results?  Nobody is doing this for us today. There are some companies doing it as a platform.  They have that figured out, but there’s no accountability for this stuff, there’s no budgets or no little concrete activity going on. There are probably in North America out of 1,000 companies, 5 that do this.  5. Define your audience and gather insights.  What does this market want?  How do you make things accessible, for example, for a person who is blind?  Many people don’t know the answers because they don’t ask the question. So there needs to be a process of real rigorous strategic planning that goes into this stuff.  And it’s hard.  It takes time.  It takes money.  It takes risk.

Fourth, craft the strategy.  Well, obviously, people who don’t do step three probably don’t do step 4, right.  They might tell you they are.  They might tell you they have a disability strategy, but they probably sat in a room with 12 To 15 people who have a disability who know nothing about business.  That’s a strategy for failure. Just because they have a disability doesn’t make them smart enough to figure this stuff out. So you need to get your best people in the room as you would with any other marketplace to come up with this strategy.  That has not happened to compare yet.

And fifth, develop and test a hypothesis.  Some of this is going on.  Pepsi Co. did a commercial for Super Bowl a couple years ago. They had a hypothesis.  They said let’s throw in this ad and see if it works.  They spent $15,000 to develop the ad, and $3 million for the ad space, and they generated the biggest buzz of any Super Bowl commercial they have ever done, and they are still getting buzz out of it for a $15,000 initial investment. So they did it with Jim Mac (ph.) and he’s the one who threw all those free throws and was a YouTube sensation.  They get $3.5 million YouTube hits which is the largest YouTube campaign ever.  Why?  Because thousands of kids with autism all clambered to this site wanting to see what was going on. And guess what?  They aren’t drinking Coke anymore. So it was a valuable business decision to do that.  All they did was refocus the aim of the marketplace and understand that this stuff has impact.  That’s a big jump from number 1 to number 5.  And what you will find is the really good companies, the guys who take the risk, they will start at number 5 and work their way backwards.  That’s hard, though. The better way to do it is start at number 1 and work your way through.

Next slide, please. So finally, and I’m happy to announce this is the first time that these numbers are being seen anywhere in Canada or the U.S. for that matter so you’re getting a sneak peek at this stuff. How do you measure shareholder investment?  How do you measure what this means to a company’s bottom line?  Because at the end of the day, as I said before, that’s all that matters. All of this other stuff we talked about, it’s all noise.  It’s all a consultant standing up here making a good story, but if it doesn’t make money, it doesn’t matter.

So let’s see what happens when the companies who do disability well but have not gone through the entire S&P/TSX composite in Canada. Every company needs to be tested.  That’s difficult because you’re testing them all on the same criteria. In Canada, about 16% of firms show any kind of business related mention of disability. Of these 237 firms, 7.2% have meaningful external representation of interest in the disability space.  And when I say representation, I don’t mean charities or thing like that.  I mean hard core business opportunities. In the States, there are 500 companies that show representation of disability and of those 500, 5.2% of companies do anything meaningful around disabilities, things like marketing campaigns, diversity outreach in a meaningful way. And it’s nice that you hire everybody, but do you actually hire everybody? That’s what we have to talk about. So when you take those companies and you analyse their stock prices over the last 5 and 3 and 1 year and what do you get?

Next slide, please. You get improved performance,

that’s what you get.  So over the last 5 years in Canada, you get a performance of 600 to 400 bases points for companies that do disability well. In the U.S., that range is between 900 and 200 base points for companies who do disability well. The economic rationale is simple.  If you do disability well, you will likely have a better customer responsiveness process than your competition. If you are in tune with what’s going on in the marketplace, you probably opened new markets.  You are probably going to have a process that is better than your competition. And oh, by the way, in the next 15 years, watch those numbers go up because all of these customers are going to flock to the leaders. This has just started to become part of our mainstream conversation. We all have been talking about this for years because we are in the industry.  But when this tips, this will be on CNN, this will be on CTV and on BBC.  This will be part of our mainstream culture and these numbers will get even bigger. The companies who are doing this well are in danger because they have done well.

But if we talk about this in terms of a hockey game, we are in the 7th minute of the first period. We are just beginning.  We are probably just scratching the surface of what can be done. The good news for this room is the opportunity is there.  The upside is there.  I know I sound like a downer, a down person when I talk about service providers, but you guys have very big opportunities ahead of you. Because the penetration is so low today, if you feel like companies are going to get on this band wagon which I assume they are going to, you are going to be the experts. You have to figure out how to translate that expertise into value for your client.  And if you think your clients are people with disabilities, come talk to me. I would like to convince you otherwise, because your clients are not the employers.  Your clients are the people they are going to hire. Because I have never met a man or women able to sell a glass of water in a reservoir.  But take that glass of water to a desert, the price is going to go way up.

You have to get ready for that.  You have to change your business to be ready for those changes. That’s my message for you.  Take what you know today, what you think you know about the next 5 to 10 years.  Things have changed a lot in the last 2 years.  What about the next 5 to 10? That’s your job today as ODEN is to figure out how to position yourself for that change because I tell you, there are companies out there today, and they are the best companies out there today in disability who are avoiding service providers because they are not getting what they want. That’s a tough question to hear in this room.  How are you going to evolve your product to deliver for your customer?  And, again, your customer is not people with disabilities.  That’s your product.  Your customers are the people who are going to hire those people.  That’s the bottom line. So I will leave you with that statement.  I would be happy to take questions now or after.  It’s going to be challenging, but it’s an exciting challenge and it’s going to be a great 10 years.  Good luck.  Thank you.  (applause)

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Change Begins with Leadership (Belleville Intelligencer)


From the Belleville Intelligencer on Jan. 25, 2011 – An article about Joe Dale and Mark Wafer’s efforts through the ‘Rotary at Work’ initiative to educate other Rotarians  about the benefits of hiring a job seeker who has a disability.

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