Ontario Has Employment 'Bright Spots'

Survey highlights need for more inclusion hiring practices
Friday July 23, 2010 -- Natalie Hamilton

Communities in southwestern Ontario are showing promise when it comes to including people who have a disability in their local workforces.

A recent survey found Sarnia, London, Amherstburg, Essex, Leamington and Tecumseh to be among the "bright spots" in Ontario, with Markham, which is in Greater Toronto, also making the list.

The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) recently released the survey results. The poll was designed to gauge attitudes about hiring and employment activity across the province.

The survey identified the need for a broader commitment towards creating inclusive workplaces, says Joe Dale, executive director of ODEN, in a news release.

"The hardest thing in any community is changing attitudes and creating a culture in the community that embraces diversity and inclusion of all its citizens," Dale says.

"Leadership at the municipal level can begin to make a very significant change in creating a culture of true, sustainable, community strength."

Markham and the southwestern Ontario communities either include people who have a disability in their workforces or have expressed an interest in hiring.

The survey follows a challenge issued to municipalities earlier this year by ODEN and Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley. Bradley personally issued "a dare" to other municipal politicians and staff to help build inclusive workplaces like Sarnia has done.

"The mayor's challenge was created to inspire mayors across the province to do the right thing and lead and promote the hiring of people who have a disability in their communities," Bradley says.

"The Sarnia experience has shown that there is tremendous value to the employee, the workforce and the community. Everyone wins."

The survey asked respondents to comment on several issues, including:

"Responses varied across the province, but results indicate a general lack of awareness and action, with several municipalities not being aware of the challenge, and also unaware of plans to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities," ODEN says.

Respondents from 32 Ontario municipalities were represented in the survey.

Read about the next steps in an upcoming story.

If you have feedback on this article, e-mail natalie(at)axiomnews.ca or call the newsroom at 800-294-0051.

Reproduced from http://www.communitylivingontario.ca/news-events/news/employment/ontario-has-employment-bright-spots

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