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News Release – Toronto Keeps Workplace D&I Conversation Going During Challenging Times For Businesses with DEAM Proclamation for October
October 1, 2020 — For the second year in a row, Mayor John Tory has proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) in Toronto, at a time when acknowledging the contributions that Torontonians who have a disability make to their workplaces, to their communities and to society, is more vital than ever.
“The mayor’s proclamation is important because it helps keep the conversation going, especially in a year that National Disability Employment Awareness Month, or NDEAM, has taken on a whole new significance because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and workers,” says Jeannette Campbell, CEO of the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN).
Adds Campbell, “The mayor’s voice, through this proclamation, adds to the acknowledgement of the workplace contributions and accomplishments of people across our city who have a disability. There are over 93,000 businesses in our city. The mayor’s proclamation adds strength to the call for businesses to be strategic about inclusive hiring; to be more proactive and intentional about recruiting qualified people who have a disability; and make hiring skilled people from the disability talent pool, business as usual.”
“Too often, disability is left out of the conversation about workplace diversity and inclusion, or D&I,” Campbell says.
Every October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Canada. Traditionally, it’s the time for celebrating the workplace contributions of people who have a disability. But NDEAM is more significant in 2020, notes Campbell, because of the rapid reshaping of workplaces and the workforce, being driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you’re in a sector that’s growing or facing labour shortages, now is the time to re-examine your hiring practices,” Campbell affirms.
She says the coronavirus pandemic is causing a business-survival challenge but also is simultaneously creating opportunities — for job seekers and businesses alike. “Some sectors have been hit hard, there’s no question. But others are growing. Some jobs that have been lost may never come back. At the same time, there are new jobs being created.”
A 2018 Accenture study, for example, found businesses that practice 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.
“If you’re a business owner in Toronto,” Campbell urges, “stay the course; strategic planning is always the path to long-term business success. And make sure intentional inclusive recruiting is part of that planning.”
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 (odenetwork.com) has connections with organizations in most provinces and territories of Canada.