Help Wanted-New Program Will Open Doors to Lasting Employment and Meaningful Careers for Adults with Disabilities in Ottawa Region

BMO Financial Group and JVS bringing successful pre-employment training and support program to Ottawa area - In 2001, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities (26 per cent) was more than 5 times higher than the unemployment rate for people without disabilities (5 per cent). This ratio has not improved.

Innovative pre-employment training program aims to shatter glass ceilings for people with disabilities - Job retention is extremely high for people who have graduated through the pre-employment program - nearly 70 per cent

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, Sep 09, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- BMO Financial Group and JVS Toronto today announced that they are launching an innovative program that will assist persons in the Ottawa region who are living with disabilities to find and maintain employment, and help BMO to recruit qualified candidates to meet its hiring needs in the Ottawa area.

The Pre-Employment Training program, which has been operating very successfully in Toronto since 2005, matches highly talented persons with disabilities to progressive employers who want to benefit from the talent, knowledge and experiences a diverse workforce provides.

Under the program, BMO will work closely with JVS to identify and recruit qualified people with disabilities who wish to pursue career opportunities at the bank. Before placing the job candidates, BMO will provide them with six weeks of on-the-job workshops and training to give them valuable work skills and support that is designed to help ensure a successful transition into their new jobs.

The Bank will also identify and implement workplace accommodations that will help the candidates successfully manage on-the-job challenges.

BMO, which is recognized for its leadership in fostering workplace diversity, has been an active participant in the pre-employment training program in Toronto.

BMO believes it can duplicate the success of that program in Ottawa by tapping into the region's underutilized and talented labour pool.

According to Anat Wertheim, VP of Program Development, JVS Toronto, one in seven (or 1.85 million) Ontarians lives with a disability, the most under-represented diverse group in the province, in terms of employment.

"Challenges should not stop employers from pursuing opportunities to strengthen their business," said Ms. Wertheim. "When you hire someone with disabilities, you gain a highly-committed employee, and you start to eliminate the root of the challenges associated with hiring someone with disabilities by breaking down physical barriers, ill-informed presumptions and negative preconceptions."

"BMO benefits from the talent, knowledge and experiences a diverse workforce provides," said Nicole Jacksic, Senior Advisor, Diversity & Workplace Equity, BMO Financial Group. "We can say, first-hand, that by hiring persons with disabilities, we have enriched our workforce and have tapped into a source of strength; we challenge other employers to do the same and to start thinking about hiring people with disabilities as a business opportunity."

About BMO

Established in 1817 and based in Canada, BMO Financial Group serves more than 10 million personal, commercial, corporate and institutional customers in North America and internationally. Our operating groups - Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal in Canada and Harris in the United States; Private Client Group, our wealth management business; and BMO Capital Markets - share one vision: to be the bank that defines great customer experience.

About JVS Toronto

JVS Toronto is a non-profit organization that was founded over 60 years ago to assist Jewish immigrants in finding employment after World War II. Today, the organization works with thousands of people from diverse backgrounds with diverse needs. JVS Toronto helps clients identify their strengths and goals, and develop the necessary skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school, work and life. Since 1947, this remarkable organization has enabled over 500,000 people to fulfill their potential.


Banks lead recruitment

Canadian financial institutions are at the forefront when it comes to recruiting people with disabilities.

Since 2004, the number of people disclosing a disability who have been hired by BMO has more than doubled (132%).

In the Greater Toronto area, BMO has partnered with JOIN and ODSP (Employment Supports - Toronto region) to create the JOIN Business Leadership Network, which offers a single point of access for area employers to recruit candidates from all 23 JOIN member organizations.

According to BMO's ongoing Diversity Workforce Survey, three per cent of the bank's 30,000 permanent Canadian employees report having a disability; three percent of BMO's executives report having a disability.


Jewish Vocational Services
Abby Robins
JVS Toronto
Office: 416-787-1151, ext. 276 or Cell: 416-277-3340

BMO Financial Group Contact
Ralph Marranca
(416) 867-3996

SOURCE: BMO Financial Group and JVS Toronto

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