In celebration of Disability Employment Month
Letter to the Editor
September is Disability Employment Month in British Columbia. This is a time to celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities in the workforce and to recognize the many inclusive employers throughout B.C.
Government is working with the disability and business communities to help ensure people with disabilities have the opportunity for meaningful employment, greater independence and full participation in society.
Businesses throughout B.C. can receive support with inclusive hiring through the Presidents Group Community of Accessible Employers. It provides employer-focused tools, resources and access to training on how to effectively recruit, hire and retain employees with disabilities.
WorkBC centres provide support and resources to employees with disabilities, including personalized job-search support and the Assistive Technology Service program, administered provincially through the Neil Squire Society.
Job seekers and employers can contact their local WorkBC centres to learn more about the Disability Employment Month events held in their area and the resources and supports available to help people with disabilities gain good, worthwhile employment.
Inclusive hiring helps businesses attract and retain employees with disabilities who make a valuable contribution to the workplace, while also expanding the range of customers and clients. British Columbia is facing a shortage of skilled workers and there are thousands of enthusiastic and motivated people in the disability community who can meet that demand.
Everyone plays a role in fostering a welcoming workplace culture. We all want B.C. to be an accessible and inclusive province, where people of all abilities can participate in every aspect of life. Working together, we can reach this goal.
More than 926,100 British Columbians aged 15 to 64 years, almost 25% of the population, identify as having a disability.
Almost 90% of consumers prefer companies that employ people with disabilities, according to a study cited in a 2012 Conference Board of Canada report.
The provincial government offers services and programs that support job seekers and employees with disabilities and employers who want to build an inclusive workplace, including: WorkBC centres; WorkBC Assistive Technology Services; Community Transition Employment Plan.
There are 102 WorkBC locations throughout the province that serve British Columbians, including people with disabilities. WorkBC also offers 24/7 access through Online Employment Services.
The Presidents Group, a group of B.C. business leaders, are encouraging and supporting employers across different sectors to hire more people with disabilities: www.accessibleemployers.ca.
B.C. Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction