News Release – Businesses: This NDEAM, Use the Power of Inclusion in Challenging Time to ‘Shock-Proof’ for the Future

October 1, 2020 — National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) — which highlights the benefits of inclusive hiring — has taken on a whole new significance in 2020. As the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) kicks off its 2020 NDEAM campaign today, the organization is driving home this message to businesses: Take the long view.

“When recruiting candidates who have a disability becomes ‘business as usual,’ it helps shock-proof businesses for the future against uncertainty and adversity,” says Jeannette Campbell, CEO of ODEN. “Inclusive hiring helps businesses stay competitive in the long term.”

The co-authors of an October 2019 TD Economics study, Canadians With Disabilities: Seizing the Opportunity, wrote that people who have a disability are “the secret weapon” that can help businesses win “the war for talent” and help them become more competitive.

Notes Campbell, “The traditional workplace — the entire concept of how and where people work — is being rapidly reshaped, and will continue to be, perhaps for years to come. It’s essential for businesses to view these challenging times as an opportunity to start intentionally recruiting with diversity and inclusion if they’re not already doing so.”

A 2018 Accenture study found businesses that practise inclusive hiring of people who have a disability, experience 72% more productivity; a 45% increase in workplace safety; 30% higher profit margins; and twice the net income of other businesses in the study.

Campbell adds, “Right now, many businesses may not be thinking about the future. They are wrestling with their immediate challenges. I definitely understand that. But with several sectors facing labour shortages over the next decade, and others rapidly growing, the disability talent pool can help businesses expand their base of qualified candidates and address these labour shortages and growing pains, so they are prepared for the future.”

An October 2019 report by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters noted, 85% of manufacturers have a hard time filling vacancies.

“This is why we felt The Power of Inclusion is a fitting theme for ODEN’s 2020 NDEAM campaign,” Campbell says. She notes that among other things, inclusive hiring:

It’s a ‘winning’ solution right at business’s fingertips,” says Campbell.

Some sectors have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some jobs that have been lost may never come back; at the same time there are new jobs being created in other sectors.  Says Campbell, “Opening new doors and building new relationships can lead to new employment and business success stories.”

She adds, “Whether businesses are re-staffing as they recover, in a sector that’s growing or facing a future labour shortage, now is the time to expand your talent search.”

To help more businesses understand and realize the power of inclusive hiring, ODEN is launching a new audio podcast during NDEAM, called You Can’t Spell Inclusion Without a D.

In the first episode, Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough and Zahra Jadavji, Managing Director of Accenture and the global firm’s Inclusion and Diversity Lead for Canada, discuss how The Power of Inclusion can help drive a stronger business culture, build reputation, and attract and retain top talent; and what business and government are doing so inclusive hiring becomes “business as usual.”

The first episode of You Can’t Spell Inclusion Without a D will be available for download October 13 from all major podcast distribution apps. The show is hosted on Podbean.

Campbell says the COVID-19 pandemic has had a singular effect on The Power of Inclusion she hopes will have lasting results and continue driving change that has been slow to happen until now.

“It has unintentionally addressed myths about disability and access to employment that have lingered for decades; removed some perceived barriers; created opportunities to increase inclusive hiring; and sparked conversation.”


For more information, and to arrange interviews

Contact Us

Dave Bennett, Xposure PR

Dean Askin, Communications Strategist, ODEN
416-818-1514 (cell)


About ODEN:

The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN), created in 2008, is a professional body of more than 130 employment service providers united to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability. Members are from every corner of the province and support people of all disability types. Beyond Ontario, ODEN ( has connections with organizations in other provinces and territories of Canada.