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EnAbling Change: Hiring People with Disabilities – Key to Unlocking Ontario’s Full Potential

By 26 September 2018 No Comments

OTTAWA, Sept. 26, 2018 — The Information and Communications Technology Council is pleased to announce the release of its report: EnAbling Change: Removing Barriers and Supporting Meaningful Employment of Ontarians with Disabilities in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Over the last year alone, the Canadian ICT sector saw gains that were twice that of the economy. At the same time, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, 5G, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and 3D printing are scaling quickly and accelerating the demand for digital talent. This need is so acute that by 2021, we estimate Canada will see a demand for approximately 216,000 digitally-skilled workers – 88,300 of that will impact Ontario. Meeting this demand will undoubtedly necessitate building a strong supply pipeline comprised of all human capital streams, including underrepresented groups like women, Indigenous communities and people with disabilities.

With support from the Government of Ontario, the EnAbling Change report, completed in partnership with ICTC, March of Dimes Canada (MODC) and AccessAbility Advantage is the first step in this process. Through first-hand insights and feedback gathered from ICT employers across Ontario, the study identifies barriers and challenges in the recruitment and retention of people with disabilities and paves the pathway for the development of programs and initiatives to fill these gaps.

”Expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Ontario makes strong business sense. It supports a better understanding of underserved markets, builds an inclusive and creative work culture, and explores the capacity of innovations to extend to all Canadians. ” – Namir Anani, President & CEO of ICTC

The need for these solutions is clear. While the study found that Ontario ICT employers were committed to creating and promoting inclusive and accessible workplaces, they sometimes experienced architectural or technological challenges along the way; or were simply not aware of complete accessibility requirements. Additionally, many employers voiced concern regarding not knowing where to access information or best practices on this topic, and stated that access to resources and information are essential.

The importance placed on these resources also emphasized some other key trends identified in this study:

  • The will to create accessible and inclusive workplaces is strong. The majority of employers expressed not having preconceived notions of what a person with a particular disability is or is not able to do, and instead tended to consider them for all roles with an assessment on a case-by-case basis.
  • 80% of employers stated that they would accept pre-screened candidates such as those selected via MODC’s Employment Services.

These are just a few examples of the study’s findings, underlining important considerations as we look to build the inclusive and diverse talent pipelines of the future. The lessons learned and insights gathered in this report will be used by MODC to create training programs, resources, and materials that can help employers reach a larger talent pool with disabilities.

Ultimately, hiring people with disabilities is not just about doing the right thing – it’s also about doing the smart thing. Engaging people with disabilities and helping them find meaningful employment opportunities across the economy and in ICT is a sound business strategy, and a key component of Canada’s ability to compete in the digital economy of the future.

Please click here to access the full report. For questions or media inquiries, please contact Alexandra Cutean, Director of Research & Policy at a.cutean@ictc-ctic.ca.

For inquiries about upcoming free training on accessible employment for employers in the ICT sector, please contact Shirley Marie Garcia, Associate Director of Human Resources at traininginstitute@marchofdimes.ca.

 

About ICTC

ICTC is a national centre of expertise for the digital economy. With over 25 years of experience in research and program development related to technology, ICTC has the vision of strengthening Canada’ s digital advantage in the global economy. Through forward-looking research, evidence-based policy advice, and creative capacity building programs, ICTC fosters innovative and globally competitive Canadian industries, empowered by a talented and diverse workforce.

About March of Dimes Canada

March of Dimes Canada (MODC) is a federally registered national charity that offers a wide variety of programs and services to Canadians living with disabilities. Since 1951, MODC has been on the forefront of the disability movement with a mission that dedicated to maximizing the independence, personal empowerment and community participation of people with disabilities.

MODC Employment Services offers a full range of services to help people with disabilities find paid employment, and to help business owners and employers meet their hiring needs. MODC AccessAbility Advantage provides accessibility consulting and training to organizations across both public and private sectors in Ontario. MODC Training Institute supports the organization’s vision of inclusivity by providing ongoing training and education to its staff and the community, thereby promoting inclusive leadership and workplace practices.