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Ability & EnterpriseCCRW Logo2 2
Leading the way for Inclusive Employment

  January 8, 2014
Worker walking in Winter
Welcome to 2014!

In This Issue:
  • Employment and Social Development Canada opens up funding for employers of persons with disabilities
  • FAQ:  Disclosure of Disability in the Workplace
  • OWIP at the DREN CapABILITIES Conference
  • Moncton Employment Services Open House
  • CCRW responds to fake Sign Language Interpreter at Mandela's Memorial Service

 Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues - spread the word, hire persons with disabilities!

Funding for Workplace Accessibility

Call for proposals for workplace accessibility

ActionPlan.jpegAs a small business or social enterprise, have you ever considered hiring people with disabilities? The Government of Canada can help you do that.

People with disabilities make valuable contributions to Canadian businesses and to society. Yet almost 800 000 Canadians with disabilities are not working, even though their disabilities don’t prevent them from doing so. With a small investment in accommodation, businesses can benefit enormously from this pool of talented workers. And now the Government of Canada is helping fund that investment with the new workplace accessibility stream of the Enabling Accessibility Fund.

On December 20, 2013, the Enabling Accessibility Fund launched a call for proposals. Small businesses and social enterprises can apply to receive up to $50,000 per project. Projects need to support employment opportunities for people with disabilities through construction and renovation that will improve accessibility in the workplace. Projects may include:
• construction, renovation or retrofitting of workplaces in which job opportunities could be maintained or created specifically for people with disabilities;
• retrofitting of motor vehicles for work use; and
• the provision of information and communications technologies for work use.

Given the skMaureenSpeechills and labour shortages that Canadian businesses and social enterprises are facing in many sectors, it is vital that we look to all Canadians, including those with disabilities, to meet this need. Canadians with disabilities have enormous talent and are willing to work, and employers are looking to fill positions.

The Government of Canada is helping employers create accessible and inclusive workplaces for all people, including those with disabilities, which will benefit employees and employers alike.

“The Enabling Accessibility Fund will enable employers to widen their workforce search and facilitate the hiring of workers with disabilities. The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work recognizes this initiative by the Canadian government to be proactive, and we are excited to see an increase in hiring the talent pool of people with disabilities due to this call for proposals.” - Maureen Haan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

Click here to access video of Maureen Haan's comments at the launch.

Visit to find out how to apply. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EST), January 20, 2014.

FAQ: Disclosure of disability in the workplace

By Emily Jooste, Job Accommodation Specialist

The Job Accommodation Service (JAS®) team often receives queries from employees whether they should disclose to their employer that they have a disability. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions from employees regarding disclosure and accommodations.

Should I disclose to my employer that I have a disability?
Ultimately there is no “right” or “wrong” answer and this is a highly individual decision that needs to consider a variety of factors. These include personal needs, job description/duties, job accommodations that may be required during or after the interview and selection process and the organizations culture. It is important to note that in some cases, particularly for employees with visible disabilities or who require accommodations for the interview itself, such as needing an alternative test or interview form
1001205203at, disclosing may either be a necessity to ensure they are able to complete the interview or less of a choice if it is a disability which will be apparent to the employer from the start. However, many disabilities, even if visible have hidden aspects that the employer would not be aware of unless the employee disclosed.

What are some benefits of disclosing to my employer?

One major benefit is that, for employees to receive reasonable accommodations, they must disclose they require them. Receiving appropriate soft and/or hard accommodations can help improve performance and reduce discomfort. Additionally disclosure may reduce the stress of hiding the disability and allow the employee to provide accurate, first-hand information and dispel any myths, misconceptions or assumptions of what the disability entails. This can be particularly helpful in situations where the way the disability manifests itself has caused frustration for the employer or the employees performance is impacted and an explanation can help foster further understanding.

Why do some employees choose not to disclose?
There are many reasons why employees may choose not to disclose to their employer that they have a disability. One major reason is that, based on the job description and tasks, the employee may simply not need accommodations as their disability has no impact on their ability to perform the job. Just because an employee has a disability does not mean it necessarily impacts them at work! Another reason employees may decide not to disclose is that they may not feel comfortable discussing their disability or have had negative experiences disclosing in the past. One major fear expressed by employees is that disclosure will lead to prejudice, discrimination or rejection which leads them not to disclose. If an employee chooses not to disclose it is important to consider potential consequences in terms of job performance and health.

What are job accommodations?
Job accommodations can include “hard” accommodations such as furniture (i.e., chairs, desks, and keyboards), accessories (i.e., headsets, document holders), assistive devices (i.e., FM systems, voice carry over phones) and adaptive technology (i.e., screen readers, text to speech software). Potential “soft” accommodations include flexible schedules (i.e., work start/end time, time off for appointments, alternative start/end time and breaks), job redesign to eliminate or modify certain tasks, extra time for tests/tasks, additional job coaching etc.

I did not disclose my disability when applying for the job but now require accommodations; is it too late?
An employee can disclose their need for accommodation at ANY TIME during the employment process. This includes when applying for the job, before the interview, at the interview itself, when accepting the job, after starting the job but before any difficulties arise, after difficulties arise or never. Once the employee’s needs have been disclosed the legal onus to accommodate shifts to the employer. While the employee’s right to reasonable accommodation can be exercised at any time it is important to consider the consequences of waiting to disclose (such as job performance, exacerbating medical condition etc.).

Do I have to disclose my diagnosis?
The specific diagnosis does NOT need to be disclosed. An employer can request medical documentation on how the disability impacts the employee but not a diagnosis. The focus should always be on how specifically the disability impacts you in the workplace and your ability to do job tasks. Often the impacts of medical conditions vary from person to person so the diagnosis is not very helpful in determining what accommodation needs are anyways.

HELP! I want to disclose my need for accommodation to my employer but don’t know how. Is there a template or plan to follow?
While there is no “right” way to disclose the need for accommodations there are some best practices to be kept in mind no matter what stage you are disclosing at. These include:
• Finding the right person; the first step is to determine the best person to speak with (whether it is your direct manager or supervisor)
• Scheduling a specific time to meet or speak with this person; ensure the conversation is in a private area and that you are able to take the time needed without being interrupted.
• When disclosing use plain, simple language and focus on how the disability does or potentially could impact you at work. Focus on your strengths/abilities first
• Coming prepared with examples of accommodations; this can include what has worked in the past and research on what other potential accommodations could be helpful

I am a manager and need further advice on next steps when an employee discloses they have a disability or I suspect they need accommodations. What should I do?
Please read next month’s CCRW Abilities and Enterprise newsletter for JAS® FAQ on disclosure focusing on managers!

JAS® offers consultations, workplace assessments, and educational presentations/workshops around mental health as they relate to the duty to accommodate and job accommodations. For any enquiries, contact Nayla Farah,
JAS® Director for at 1-800-664-0925 extension 224 or by email at

OWIP at the DREN CapABILITIES Conference

DREN Conference Confronts Fear and Attitudinal Barriers

Gary PineDecember 9, 2013 Oshawa -
The Durham Region Employment Network (DREN) gathered human resource professionals, employment service providers and persons with disabilities on December 3rd at the Abilities Centre in Whitby. The 2nd annual Capitalizing on CapABILITIES Conference was sponsored by the Government of Canada’s Opportunities Fund.  December 3rd is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The United Nations theme this year is to break barriers and open doors: to realize an inclusive society and development of all.

For 20 years, DREN has been working towards a community where employment is accessible to all. The key function of our network is to support the employment services sector with the goal of improving outcomes for jobseekers with barriers.  DREN, as a network works in partnership with its 50 member organizations to break down the barriers that persistently waste talent and ability.

On December 3rd, DREN members who specialized in working with persons with disabilities educated, informed and provided employers with resources they needed to hire persons for their abilities. Seating at tables was assigned to include jobseekers with disabilities, community organizations, specialized employment supports and businesses to allow for continued dialogue throughout the day. Master of Ceremonies and keynote speaker, Dan Carter, an advocate for removing the stigma surrounding mental illness, guided the audience through a day of questions, networking and connecting.

The highlight of the day was the sharing of job seekers experiences. This was facilitated by a panel of employers and persons with disabilities, both job seekers and those who are successfully employed. They demonstrated that Durham Region employers are hiring persons with disabilities and are benefitting from high job performance, reliable attendance and longer retention. That there is an untapped talent pool willing and qualified was clearly communicated to the room of human resource professionals.

Bringing the message home was Gary Pine. Gary who now works at the Ability Centre in Whitby shared his journey in trying to find employment both on his own and then with the assistance of the Ontario Workplace Inclusion Program (OWIP) program delivered by CCRW. His message was that the biggest barrier to employment was attitude - both the jobseekers and the employer’s. With OWIP he found a way to deal with losing his sight but not his vision. OWIP opened doors to employers who saw his abilities first and accommodations as an investment in attracting qualified staff.

The other message addressed at the conference was fear. We heard that employers fear hiring persons with disabilities because of many myths perpetuated over years. Specialized employment supports help eliminate those fears and through employer engagement events such as this conference debunk the myths. As employers confidence grows and organizations like CCRW keep facilitating successful matches we break down the barriers to full inclusion.

Donna McAllister
Executive Director
Durham Region Employment Network (DREN)
905-720-1777 ext. 222

For more information on the OWIP Program please go to our website.

Moncton Open House

open house CCRW New Brunswick Employment Services had a very successful Holiday Open House open house on Friday, December 13th attracting over 50 people including our CEO, Maureen Haan and her husband Mike, one of our Board Members, Kathy Malley of Malley Industries and our Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour (PETL) Coordinator, Joanne Gaudet.   Our clients, several of our partnering agencies and employers and came out in droves to share in the good cheer! open house 014

Click here for more information on CCRW Employment Services

CCRW Press Release

CCRW Responds to fake Sign Language Interpreter at Nelson Mandela's Memorial

ASLInterpreterSymbolTORONTO, Dec. 11, 2013 /CNW/ –
Access denied to Deaf communities of the world on a day of admiration for a great leader is an insult.

The fake sign language interpreter at Mandela’s memorial ceremony on Tuesday in South Africa ridicules the life of the legend. Not only was access denied to Deaf people, a mockery was made of the languages of Deaf communities.

In the face of Mandela’s dedication to equality, treating Deaf people as second-class citizens is outrageous. CCRW demands an apology to Deaf communities of the world and an uncut video of the memorial service with proper sign language interpretation released.

“Denying access to a community is unacceptable. To mock the language of that community is disgusting. Imagine any other language being translated into gibberish – that would not be tolerated, and neither should this atrocity” commented Maureen Haan, President and CEO of CCRW. “It is imperative that Canada not accept this type of discrimination”.

At work, home or in the community, CCRW supports appropriate access for all people with disabilities or who are Deaf.

For more information go to

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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