City of London Embraces Sarnia Mayor's Hiring Challenge

Woman with a disability joins municipality
Friday July 9, 2010-- Natalie Hamilton

The City of London is joining other Ontario municipalities by including people who have a disability on its payroll.

London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best has accepted Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley's challenge "to do the right thing" and hire people who have a disability.

Becoming aware of the provincial challenge, Community Living London job developer Marlene Simpson recently met with DeCicco-Best and chief human resources officer Veronica McAlea-Major to discuss the importance of this initiative.

Joining them was Joe Hoffer, whose area law firm is a strong supporter and advocate of hiring people who have a disability.

"For the past 15 years we have employed Kelly, who has a disability, and is supported by Community Living London," Hoffer says.

"She is a valued employee of the firm."

Following the meeting, the city hired Vicki Cronmiller to work in human resources and then serve as a municipal elections clerk.

Michelle Palmer, executive director of Community Living London, says she's thrilled the municipality has stepped up to the plate.

"The mayor's public commitment to hiring people with disabilities at the City of London is a huge step forward for people with disabilities," Palmer says.

Cronmiller accessed employment services through Community Living London to reach her goals.

Mayor DeCicco-Best says she's "delighted" Cronmiller has joined the City of London's team.

"We recognize that each employee brings his or her own unique capabilities, experiences and characteristics to their work, and by enhancing diversity at all levels and in all services, we will indeed enrich our organization and our workplace," DeCicco-Best says.

The Sarnia mayor earlier told Community Living Leaders he's hoping to "start a prairie fire" across the province when it comes to including people who have a disability as part of the workforce.

The city has a long history of providing employment opportunities. Bradley is lending his support behind an employment initiative triggered by the Ontario Disability Employment Network.

"It's a simple philosophy in the community - no one wins unless everybody does," Bradley told Community Living Leaders. "Both the city and the employees win from this. You're giving people a chance to fulfil their potential. Secondly, it's a great benefit to the workforce."

Since issuing the challenge, dozens of municipalities have responded. A report card is being issued soon to illustrate where cities stand and to serve as a tool for tracking responses and successes. If you have feedback on this article, e-mail natalie(at) or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

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