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How are Workplaces Supporting Canadian Workers With Disabilities?

November 28, 2021

This is the weekly Careers newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Globe Careers and all Globe newsletters at the link below. Radhika Panjwani is a former journalist from Toronto and a blogger.

Underneath the veneer of her successes and accomplishments in Canada’s charitable sector, Wanda Deschamps struggled to make sense of the duality she experienced at work where she says she was both “highly praised and harshly admonished.”

Ms. Deschamps says she was often misunderstood because she lacked the intuitive ability to interpret her colleagues’ non-verbal social cues. Even though she was highly intelligent and competent, she could come across as blunt.

CERB and CRB Discriminated Against Canadians With Disabilities, New Charter Challenge Claims The Star

Unlike other income replacement programs like parental or maternal benefits, the Canadian Pension Plan Disability benefit did not count toward the $5,000 threshold to qualify for CERB and CRB. By Rosa SabaBusiness
Toronto Star, Nov. 26, 2021

A worker with a disability has launched a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, claiming that the federal government’s COVID-19 relief programs for workers discriminated against workers with disabilities.

Valerie Jacob hopes this challenge could bring long-overdue recognition to the value of workers with disabilities and the many structural and cultural barriers they face in seeking and maintaining employment.

B.C. Charity Touts Diverse Hiring as Partial Solution to Labour Shortage

By Simon Little & Aaron McArthur Global News
Posted October 8, 2021

As businesses across British Columbia struggle with a labour shortage, one Vancouver-based charity thinks it has part of the solution.

Mission Possible says many employers are depriving themselves of good workers through unconscious bias and stigma around poverty, mental illness, disability and neurodiversity.

The organization, which helps people who have experienced homelessness or other major life challenges get back into the workforce, has now produced a hiring guidebook to help employers make use of a relatively untapped labour pool.

Remote Work Made Life Easier for Employees With Disabilities. Advocates Say the Option Should Stay

By Angela Yang Globe Correspondent,Updated September 9, 2021,

The pandemic upended corporate culture as workers traded office buildings for their kitchen tables. For most, the change was largely a matter of convenience. But for many people with disabilities, it was transformative – getting to and from a workplace was the most arduous part of their day.

From the city to the suburbs and beyond, getting from one point to the other in a timely fashion has always been complicated for them. Some Boston workers live in rural towns far from public transit stations and are either unable to drive to work or need support to do so.

People With a Disability Still Struggle to Find Work – Under Half are Employed

Melanie Carroll
Aug 18 2021

New Zealand’s “disability employment crisis” continues, with unemployment rising for people with disabilities, says the chief executive of Workbridge.

Unemployment remained high for people with a disability, with only 42.5 per cent of working age disabled people in work in the three months ended June, Stats NZ said on Wednesday.

That compared with the 78.9 per cent of non-disabled people aged 15 to 64 who were employed over the June quarter.

“I’m pretty despondent about it, to be honest, because there is a fractional increase,” said Jonathan Mosen, head of disability employment organisation Workbridge.

Warning Job Applicants With Disabilities May Miss Out if Artificial Intelligence Used to Hire

Melanie Carroll
Aug 04 2021

How IBM Is Using Artificial Intelligence to Combat Bias in Advertising

IBM is trying to figure out how to use artificial intelligence to identify bias in advertising and mitigate it. Coming up with an equitable ad industry is better for both consumers and companies, said Sheri Bachstein, CEO of The Weather Compan…

New Zealand employers are crying out for skilled workers but may be ruling out potential talent without realising it.

Many large organisations use algorithms to assess performance in job interviews and about 40 per cent use artificial intelligence (AI) when screening potential candidates, according to a global report by business consultancy Accenture.

Woman With Disabilities Wants Change to Province’s Household Income Policy

Saint John woman says she’d lose her disability benefits if she married long-time partner Vanessa Balintec , CBC News
Posted: Jul 19, 2021

Saint John resident Kaitlyn Layden has been advocating for the revision of Social Development’s household income policy for years. She says the policy forces her to choose between getting married and moving in with her fiance or having financial stability with the department’s support.

Kaitlyn Layden remembers the intense joy she felt after getting engaged to her fiance Lucas Massey in 2017. After over four years together, she was ready for the next step – getting married, moving in together and maybe adopting a few pets.

Return to the Workplace Highlights Accessibility Concerns for Disabled Employees

The pandemic called attention to workplace barriers for disabled people. By Kiara Alfonseca
July 15, 2021

As COVID-19 restrictions loosen and the country settles into a new normal, disability advocates have mixed feelings about the future of the workplace and public health in the U.S.

Marcie Roth, executive director and chief executive officer of the World Institute on Disability, hopes the accommodations that have been made for all workers during the pandemic continue as the world goes back to normal.

“For lots of people with disabilities, returning to normal horrifies us,” Roth said. “Returning to normal means exclusion, inaccessibility, rigidity, a lack of imagination. Rather than the notion that we would be building back better … we would really like to be building forward better.”

Canadians Concerned About Disability Poverty, On-Board with Proposed New National Benefit

Survey of Canadians living with disability underlines relative poverty, other social barriers June 22, 2021

Recognizing the challenges faced by Canadians with disabilities –
problems that have only been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic – the federal Liberal government laid out plans to help in its September 2020 Speech from the Throne. The government promised a new Canadian Disability Benefit, modelled after the seniors’ guaranteed income supplement.

Details since the fall have been scarce, but in the spring budget the federal government set aside almost $12 million over three years to consult and reform existing programs and benefits with an eye towards the new unified benefit.

Corporate Canada, It’s Time to Look Beyond Ramps and Elevators

Tim Rose
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published May 19, 2021

Canadians with disabilities have long faced significant barriers to employment. Now, more than a year into the major economic and social tsunami of COVID-19, those barriers have been exacerbated.

As a high-risk group, Canadians living with disabilities – both visible and invisible – have been more socially isolated during the pandemic, and a recent Statistics Canada survey shows that one-third of respondents with disabilities experienced job loss in the past year.

As a person with a significant physical disability, I have first-hand experience with the many challenges this community faces. For several years after completing postsecondary education, I was the unemployed, talented candidate with a disability, struggling to find a career.