Canada defines itself by bridges, not walls. This is the sentiment of Canada’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin, who will step down from her position at the end of this year. McLachlin said “Canada still defines itself by inclusion, by what it embraces, not exclusively by what it rejects.”
Aramark, a leading catering management and uniform company which serves sports teams, healthcare providers, educational institutions, cultural attractions and landmarks, as well as numerous municipalities in 19 countries globally was recently awarded top marks in the 2017 Disability Equity Index® (DEI®).
Effective teaching means effective communication. However, with students emerging from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and abilities in today’s classrooms, the language used in teaching can often stifle students’ progress. Subjects such as math and science use jargon which can be confusing, especially when the students speak differently and may use a different language at home.
Progressive businesses are implementing more diverse and inclusive recruitment policies to secure a more sustainable future. But, diversity is itself a term which can mean different things to different people. It can mean employing people from different backgrounds, ages, gender, sexual orientation, disability, education or religion. But also, according to Farrah Qureshi, CEO at Global Diversity Practice, diversity can also mean respecting and appreciating each other’s differences in an age of challenging geopolitical change, “The key question for companies is how to leverage those diverse perspectives, lifestyles and backgrounds to drive business success and innovation,” says Qureshi.
The Evenbreak Best Practice Portal is a new tool designed to help employers and their employees create inclusive workplaces. The portal covers a variety of subjects such as how to interview a candidate and bring on board new employees with a disability. The advice comes in the form of videos, from leaders who have already pioneered a way through the minefield of barriers and red tape, so employers and their staff do not have to start from scratch and can adapt the advice to their own situation.
Harvard Business School’s Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging (PTFIB) has almost completed its goal of building an inclusive campus. But, before Drew Faust, President of the prestigious school, steps down at the end of this academic year, the PTFIB is asking the university community for further suggestions and recommendations.
An Ontario city has come up with a simple, but effective idea to make their downtown core more accessible. Cambridge, situated about an hour’s drive southwest of Toronto and close to the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, has a lot of older buildings that have a single step at their front which makes it difficult for those people who use wheelchairs to get inside. But, a simple innovation, funded by the Toronto-based Stop Gap Foundation, has recently hit the streets.
There’s an area in Toronto which is becoming the most accessible, especially for people who are blind or visually impaired. The Yonge and St. Clair area of the Canada’s largest city is home to the new hub of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). The centre’s opening this summer has meant an increase in visitors and new residents to the area who are blind or visually impaired.
Roger Ideishi is a pioneer in the Philadelphia area for transforming public places into welcoming spaces, especially for families of children with disabilities. During the past four years, Ideishi has focused his work of transforming the city’s theatres, museums and concert halls from places where families with special needs children felt isolated and scrutinized, into welcoming havens where no one is judged.
The internet’s customer-base has multiplied exponentially since its inception in the 1990s. No one would have predicted how the once luxury item has now become a necessary tool in our homes and workplaces.But, not all websites are built the same. Consequently, not all websites are accessible to people with disabilities. That is why Mark Lacek launched Accessiblity360, the internet-accessibility equivalent of a building inspector.
Finding your way around your own city or even a new one has become a lot easier in the digital age. Apps like Google Maps means you can have a planet’s worth of road maps at your fingertips inside your smartphone.Now, Google is making its Maps feature even more useful for people who have mobility challenges, especially when it comes to public transit options. The digital giant is harnessing the help of 30 million Local Guides across the globe who will exchange their knowledge, tips and photos about neighbourhood establishments and transit facilities.
‘Uno,’ the card game by Mattel, which has been around for almost half a century, just got a makeover. This means people who have colourblindess can now play on an equal footing. Players who enjoy the popular game know it is important to not only know the number on the card, but also the colour of the card. For the new accessible version Mattel partnered with ColorADD, a global organization for colourblind education and accessibility.
Today’s successful businesses are finding ways to build diversity into their workplace. And, it just got a little easier for employers in the Province of Ontario to connect with talented persons with disabilities looking for work with the launch of a new online portal. The Discover Ability Network emphasizes the advantages of hiring persons with disabilities and leads employers down the hiring-process road to connect with this previously untapped talent.
The World Health Organization estimates that 15 per cent of the world’s population has a disability, and in developing countries, the exclusion of people with disabilities from the labour market can significantly decrease their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).That is why more than 150 Bangladeshi factories have signed up to ‘go inclusive.’
Classrooms may start to look a little different, if school board’s take notice of one Quebec teacher’s initiative. Lyanna Bravo is the vice-principal of Laval’s Souvenir Elementary school and has introduced flexible seating into her classrooms. Bravo says just as the rest of our world is evolving in areas like business and technology, education and classroom layouts should also evolve.
The Government of Western Australia, Department of Communities has published a checklist on their website for employers and employees to consider in their workplace environment.An inclusive workplace, as articulated by this government entity, is one where fairness, respect, equality, dignity and autonomy are encouraged, and are part of the corporate culture.