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Ability & EnterpriseCCRW Logo2 2
Leading the way for Inclusive Employment

  July 9, 2014
Growing Strong

In This Issue:
  • Observations from our President & CEO
  • Please support CCRW
  • Telelink-NL testimonial
  • Moncton Walk and Roll update
  • How JAS® can help when the accommodations you put in place are not working.

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Observations by our President & CEO

MaureenSpeechWith Google's recent release of their Diversity and Inclusion statistics of their employees, it remains a frustrating fact that disability is not recognized in their diversity umbrella.  In fact, the only area on the report that speaks to "Connecting Googlers affected by disabilities", identifies the population as "special needs", and does not provide data of the population.  Without statistical gathering of how many people with disabilities work at Google, a benchmark for the diversity platform is flawed and therefore Google working toward a diversified workforce is implausible.  CCRW recognizes the importance of people with disabilities in all areas of employment, and therefore implores Google to include people with disabilities in their diversity strategy.

Maureen Haan

Please support CCRW

Donate button imagePlease support CCRW in our goal of helping Canadians with disabilities find meaningful employment this year – CCRW is now accepting online donations.

Disability Awareness Week Walk & Roll

June 27, 2014

ES Walk and Roll 2014On June 27, 2014, CCRW Employment Services hosted our annual Disability Awareness Week Walk & Roll.

Helping us launch the event by welcoming those in attendance were representatives from the three cities; Councillor Jody Dallaire of Dieppe followed by Deputy Mayor Shawn Crossman of Moncton and Mayor Anne Seamons of Riverview.

This years’ theme being “The Right Person for the Right Job”, our goal was to raise awareness and to encourage businesses and employers to look beyond the disability and see the vast potential each individual has to offer.

A few organizations worked hand in hand with CCRW Employment Services in order to implement this event and they were;
• City of Dieppe
NB Employer Support Services
Youth the Future
• South East Deaf and Hard of Hearing
• MacDonald Center for Independent Living
• Neil Squire Society and
• Community Employment Agency

The walk was followed by a BBQ, prizes and a testimonial from someone with a disability. An estimated 95 people joined us to raise awareness making this event another success.

Telelink NL has been a proud supporter and partner of the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) for over 5 years, actively participating in the Partners for Workplace Inclusion Program (PWIP) and Youth the Future programs both as a long-term employer and as a member of the PWIP's Business Advisory Committee. 

Through our involvement with PWIP and Youth the Future programs, we have found a stable and sustainable recruitment channel, but more importantly, we have realized the many benefits that CCRW's devoted, dedicated and passionate workforce members bring to our organization.

Whether it's through job shadowing, mentoring, work-term placements or full-time employment, Telelink NL is honoured to support CCRW and will continue to promote a shared vision of meaningful and equitable employment of persons with disabilities."

Cindy Roma, CEO Telelink NL

What to do when the Accommodations you put in place are not working

``But we`ve tried everything!``

The Job Accommodation Service’s® expertise in workplace accommodations is sought for a variety of reasons; sometimes it’s because the employee and employer are unsure of or have little knowledge of appropriate workplace accommodations. However in some cases the employee and manager have a strong knowledge of potential accommodations and have trialed a variety of solutions with limited success. In these cases the employee and employer often come to JAS® saying “we’ve tried everything!”

Meet Connie: She did everything right
Connie, a manager working with a large public company, developed an eye condition in 2009 resulting in extreme dry eye, sensitivity to light, severe headaches and blurry vision. Connie’s job involved spending a lot of time sitting at her desk using the computer and the more hours she worked the redder and more irritated her eyes became. As the days and weeks progressed her headaches and blurry vision increased and her performance started declining. Connie did all the right things; she sought the help of her doctor and specialist and diligently applied the eye drops prescribed several times a day. She also approached her manager early on to discuss her barriers and propose solutions. Connie was extremely proactive in seeking advice on workplace accommodations from her doctor and became a super sleuth researching even more possible accommodations on her own. Although Connie’s employer did not necessarily have a strong understanding of workplace accommodations they were very supportive and promptly implemented whatever accommodations Connie suggested.

Some examples of accommodations implemented included purchasing a humidifier from a local home supply store to help moisten the air, allowing Connie to wear a baseball cap and sunglasses to minimize glare and using post it note reminders to take breaks and look away from her computer. Several of the bulbs in the lights above her desk were also removed and privacy screens were provided to help minimize glare.

“Nothing is working and we’ve tried everything!”

Connie continued to struggle. Connie and her employer were stumped stating “we’ve tried everything”; neither had much hope that anything else could help. At this point JAS® received the referral for a workplace accommodation assessment; what could JAS® recommend that hadn’t already been provided?

The solution: JAS® expertise

While Connie had done plenty of research, she was not an expert in the field of workplace accommodation. It had also become increasingly taxing for Connie to continually surf the web and sift through the myriad of conflicting advice on what accommodations might be helpful. Luckily, JAS® is an expert in the field of workplace accommodations; this is what we do!

In Connie’s case, one of our subject matter experts, a senior Occupational Therapist, went on site and did a thorough assessment of Connie’s workplace including her workspace and job set up and observing her doing her daily job tasks. The Occupational Therapist also spent time looking at the rooms outside Connie’s office where she might be expected to attend meetings

Based on the JAS® holistic and expert’s approach, the Occupational Therapist uncovered deficiencies in the implemented solutions and came up with a new set of accommodations. For example the privacy screens purchased for Connie’s monitors to decrease brightness had a glossy layer which actually created excessive glare. Some of the additional recommendations made included:
1) Removing the privacy screens and turning down the brightness level using the monitor settings
2) Lower and angle the monitor upwards; this placement was specifically based on the fact that it reduces tear evaporation and dry eye
3) Use dark print on light background for printer material
4) Speech to Text dictation software for more lengthy typing tasks to reduce time spent looking at the computer
5) Blink reminder software to easily remind when to look away from monitor and blink
6) Provide alternate humidifier with adjustable settings
The Occupational Therapist also provided practical tips to Connie and her employer such as what would be the optimal room to hold lengthy meetings outside of her office and the ideal spots for her to sit to minimize the impact of glare.

 “I didn’t know about that”: Small changes make a big difference
Connie and her employer truly believed they had tried everything; Connie had done hours of research and didn’t think there were any other accommodations that could help. Several weeks after her JAS® assessment, Connie reported a huge improvement in her symptoms. The MOST surprising thing for Connie was she hadn’t known about the majority of the solutions proposed and had no idea that some of the recommendations she had implemented herself, such as the privacy screen, were actually making her symptoms worse. Even the small changes the Occupational Therapist made on site, such as changing the brightness level of her monitor and lowering and angling her computer screen, had made significant differences. Connie and her employer’s only regret was that they had had spent so many hours researching and implementing recommendations which were not successful and that they had not called JAS® sooner.

JAS® offers consultations, workplace assessments, and educational presentations/workshops around workplace accommodations as applied to persons with visible and invisible disabilities.

For any enquiries, contact Nayla Farah, JAS Director for at 1-800-664-0925 extension 224 or by email at

For more information about the CCRW Job Accommodation Service (JAS)®, please visit our website at

CCRW AODA Consultations--The Job Accommodation Service®
AODA training, policy review and development, accessibility audits and solutions. 
For more information and to book a consultation, contact Nayla Farah, or 1-800-664-0925 x 224 or visit our website at

Call for Article Submissions!

If you have something that would be of interest to the membership, we would be happy to consider it for a future issues of Abilities & Enterprise, please contact Monica at


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