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While the adoption of written policies, practices, and procedures is necessary to enhance employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities (and to meet legislative requirements), the ultimate objective is ensuring their use and implementation. Best business practices include putting systems in place to ensure review and continuous improvement relating to training; establishing accountability measures and mechanisms; and designating responsible individuals.


“People don’t know what they don’t know.” It is critical that companies extend training on accessibility to employees across the entire organization. Legislation in Ontario, Manitoba and federally mandate training for all employees, at all levels and divisions in the organization. More specialized training may be offered to staff involved in the recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention processes. This may include more depth of training in:

  • Understanding legal requirements.
  • Disability etiquette and awareness.
  • Retention and return-to-work strategies.
  • Overcoming stereotypes and other attitudinal barriers.
  • Reasonable accommodation procedures.
  • Targeted hiring programs.

It has been stated that “what gets measured gets improved.” Specific strategies and practices that your company can use to measure its progress toward creating an inclusive workplace include establishing annual quantitative goals, objectives, and benchmarks related to the following:

  1. Outreach to and recruitment (including referrals) of people with disabilities.
  2. Hiring, retention, and advancement of people with disabilities; and
  3. Sponsored educational, training, recreational, and social activities that are inclusive of and/or focused on disability issues.
Training and learning on accessibility related policies and practices should be implemented as an ongoing component of the company’s diversity initiatives-Establishing Accountability Measures

Establishing Accountability and Continuous Improvement Mechanisms

Accountability and continuous improvement mechanisms are necessary to determine if current policies, practices, and procedures are effective and whether the company is improving employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Examples of strategies and practices regarding accountability and continuous improvement mechanisms that have proven successful include the following:

  1. Annually reviewing, from an accessibility perspective, all employment-related activities, including:
    1. Job posting, recruitment, advertising, and job application procedures, including testing
    2. Processes for Hiring, promotion, upgrading, and layoffs that ensure equitable consideration and opportunity
    3. Rates of pay and any other forms of compensation, including fringe benefits
    4. Job assignments, job classifications, job descriptions, and seniority lists
    5. Sick leave, leaves of absence, and other available leaves
    6. Training opportunities, apprenticeships, attendance at professional meetings and conferences, and
    7. Any other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
  2. Conducting annual self-assessments, including identifying accessibility trends and/or issues needing more attention such as:
    1. Tracking information related to the provision of reasonable accommodations that could be used to assess the effectiveness of accommodations and the process;
    2. Tracking data relating to the representation of individuals with disabilities in the workforce to ascertain trends, including the efficacy of recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion initiatives; and
    3. Establishing a complaint tracking and monitoring system to identify areas needing systemic improvements.
  3. Seeking input from employees with disabilities regarding implementation of policies and strategic plans using employee surveys, focus groups, and discussions with employee resource and advisory groups.
  4. Based on these reviews and assessments, developing strategic plans that include proactive steps and the implementation of specific actions necessary to address any noted deficiencies.
  5. Providing regularly scheduled reports to company leaders and/or other high-ranking managers regarding implementation of the company’s strategic accessibility plans, including completion dates and managers who are accountable and responsible for various action items.

Designating Responsible Individuals

Designation of authority and responsibility for ensuring accessibility is of central importance to enhancing and securing implementation of disability employment policies and practices. Specific examples of strategies and practices that have proven successful include:

  1. Assigning and defining the scope of responsibility for implementation to specific individuals.
  2. Identifying the responsible individual(s) in internal and external communications.
  3. Providing top management support (including budgets) and, if appropriate, staff to manage implementation.
  4. Explaining to managers and supervisors how performance elements included in their performance plans related to the recruitment, hiring, advancement, and retention of persons with disabilities will be assessed.
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