Dean Askin, Communications Strategist, ODEN
News Release – Reframing disability called “the tipping point” for D&I in many businesses, in new You Can’t Spell Inclusion Without a D podcast episode
November 17, 2020 — The biggest challenge “inside most organizations today” when it comes to disability-inclusive hiring, is figuring out how to “reframe” and focus on business advantages instead of accommodation, assert Paul M. Clark, President of TD Direct Investing and Executive Vice-President of TD Bank Group; and TD Vice-President and Deputy Chief Economist Derek Burleton, in episode two of You Can’t Spell Inclusion Without a D, the new podcast produced by the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN).
The episode is available today on Podbean.
Clark says TD hires people who have a disability “for the contribution that they can make.”
“The real value here is in the contribution that someone with a disability brings to your organization, the diversity of thought, the diversity of approach, the diversity of lived experience,” Clark says in the podcast conversation. He describes this thought-reframing of disability, as “the tipping point” of diversity and inclusion (D&I) for businesses.
Clark is chair of TD’s People With Disabilities Committee and a member of the TD Diversity Leadership Council.
He adds, “When you recognize that (the value), then you begin to shift towards development and career progression…inside most organizations today, that’s the challenge…it’s how to reframe the conversation to say, ‘How do I take full advantage of what you can bring to our company? And at the same time, how do I develop you to be that great resource that I know you can be?’”
In the episode, Derek Burleton, co-author of an October 2019 TD Economics report titled, Canadians With Disabilities: Seizing the Opportunity, notes “there is a lot of misinformation out there” when it comes to the way Canadians who have a disability are characterized, especially in the job market.
He references a “great myth-buster article” that had made its way on a number of government and Chamber of Commerce websites. The article addresses several misperceptions. “…This perception that people with disabilities are less productive…that’s not the case,” says Burleton in the podcast.
More disability-inclusive hiring has major economic advantages, Burleton says in the You Can’t Spell Inclusion Without a D episode two conversation with podcast co-hosts Jeannette Campbell (ODEN’s CEO) and Dean Askin (ODEN Communications Strategist).
“You think about higher incomes, that can in turn lead to more tax revenue, reinvested in public infrastructure and the like, there can be enormous knock-off effects from it,” he says.
Burleton notes, in the Canadians With Disabilities: Seizing the Opportunity report, “We assume we can close half the [employment] gap, which would be a huge amount of progress from the status quo [that] would create something like 440,000 jobs over the next 10 years.”
That would be a $53-billion increase in gross domestic product (GDP), according to the report. Another scenario: The employment gap closed by one-third, the GDP increase by $36 billion and 292,000 more Canadians who have a disability, employed.
Either way, “It’s that kind of benefit we’d be looking at,” Burleton tells Campbell and Askin in the podcast episode.
Both Clark and Burleton have been with TD for decades. In the episode they also discuss the D&I evolution within the bank that they are still witnessing; where TD is right now on D&I; and the future direction of D&I at TD.
You Can’t Spell Inclusion Without a D is a new, monthly podcast that looks at the power of inclusion, disability and employment, and the business benefits of D&I, from all the angles. The show launched October 13 during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
Episode one featured a conversation with Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion; and Zahra Jadavji, an Accenture Managing Director and Accenture’s Inclusion and Diversity Lead for Canada.
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The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN), created in 2008, is a professional body of more than 140 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.