McColeman Tables Sweeping Motion to Strengthen Employment for Canadians with Disabilities
- M-430 What They’re Saying
- M-430 Questions and Answers
- M-430 Backgrounder
Brantford, ON, March 1, 2013 – Ongoing efforts to reverse the trend of low employment levels for Canadians with disabilities received another major boost this week thanks to the introduction of Private Members Motion M-430, Strengthening Employment for Canadians with Disabilities, introduced by Brant MP Phil McColeman.
McColeman unveiled his Motion at a funding announcement for L. Tara Hooper and Associates Inc., an organization renowned in Brantford for its employment support for people with disabilities. President Lisa Hooper joined McColeman to make the announcement at a business that knows the tangible benefits of building an inclusive workplace, Brantford Volkswagen.
The comprehensive Motion calls on the Government to endorse the recent Report from the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for People with Disabilities, “Re-Thinking disAbility in the Private Sector”, and encourages further steps that will build on the Panel’s findings to encourage employment opportunities for Canadians with disabilities.
“I decided to use my Private Member’s opportunity to really elevate this issue on the national stage,” said McColeman. “With the recent Panel report and a comprehensive parliamentary study now underway at the Human Resources Committee, the importance of strengthening employment opportunities for people with disabilities is gaining momentum and national attention. My Motion aims to capture and build on that momentum to affect positive change.”
The Motion recognizes that economic growth and prosperity requires greater participation of Canadians with disabilities in the job market. With the severity of impending Canadian labour shortages becoming increasingly clear, people with disabilities represent a significant untapped pool of talented people who are ready, willing and able to contribute more. In fact, there are about 800,000 working-aged Canadians who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so. Of this group, 340,000 people have post-secondary education.
McColeman worked with disability advocates and experts to identify areas where the government can improve on its support for people with disabilities which already includes the creation of the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Opportunities Fund, the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and labour market funding for the provinces.
The Motion calls for additional initiatives that build on this support, including a new focus on young people with disabilities through programs like the Youth Employment Strategy, improvements to Labour Market Agreements for People with Disabilities, along with new approaches to ensure that government programs are adaptable, flexible and able to capitalize on innovative strategies happening at the community level across Canada.
“We fully support MP McColeman’s Motion. It addresses key issues necessary to create more opportunities for people with disabilities in the labour force,” said Lisa Hooper, President of L. Tara Hooper and Associates. “We’re encouraged and excited by the unlimited potential and innovative approaches that could be developed as a result of this Motion moving forward.”
In addition to calling for the Government to enhance how it supports employment for persons with disabilities, McColeman is issuing a call to action in the private sector where the Panel found that real leadership is imperative to break down barriers, build accessible workplaces and eliminate myths and stigmas that are often associated with hiring people with disabilities. One of the main impediments to participation is lack of awareness on the part of employers.
The Panel report highlights how businesses that hire people with disabilities regularly see reduced turnover rates, higher attendance levels, better consumer perceptions and higher revenues. It also found that the costs of accommodation are often low, with 56% of employers reporting an accommodation cost of nothing at all.
M-430 aims to ensure that this message is heard and perpetuated not only in Government, but in Canada’s business community.
“The verdict is in. Not only does employing people with disabilities unlock enormous opportunities for their social and economic inclusion, but we now know that doing the right thing makes good business sense,” McColeman asserted.
Brantford Volkswagen is a company that knows these payoffs well, having worked with L Tara Hooper and Associates to create an accessible and inclusive workplace.
“Our experience in hiring people with disabilities has been an incredibly positive experience all around, not only because of their excellent work ethic but because they lend an unparalleled positive attitude to your work environment every day.” said Jeannette Leigh, Co-Owner of Brantford Volkswagen. “Our current employee, Norman Hurren, is hard-working and sincerely aims to please. We have a constant flow of staff and customers at our business, and the response from both has been very positive regarding his presence here.”
“When someone compliments us on how wonderful it is of us to give someone like Norman an opportunity with our company, we very quickly turn it around and say how wonderful it is to have an employee like Norman with his attributes.”
McColeman’s Motion is expected to receive its first hour of parliamentary debate in April.
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