Benefits giants promote workplace inclusion for those with disabilities

Network 'committed to building accessible businesses'

Benefits giants promote workplace inclusion for those with disabilities

The Disability Inclusion Business Council (DIBC) has recently launched the Canadian Business Disability Network, an independent, self-governed entity that includes members such as EY Canada, Manulife Canada, TELUS Health, and IBM Canada.

“The launch of the Canadian Business Disability Network is a true testament to the government and Canadians' commitment to building accessible businesses. I want to congratulate the Disability Inclusion Business Council on the launch of the network which will help Canadian businesses develop and share knowledge that will create more a more accessible economy,” says Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities.

The Canadian government has been actively promoting inclusivity in workplaces through the Disability Inclusion Action Plan, first presented in 2022. As part of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan, the DIBC was established to address barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the workforce.

The 2022 Canada Survey on Disability found that 27 percent of Canadians aged 15 and over, approximately 8.0 million individuals, report having a disability that affects their day-to-day lives. Furthermore, 30 percent of persons with disabilities are not part of the labor force.

“Accessibility is a strong pillar of EY's diversity, equity and inclusion commitment,” says Jad Shimaly, chair, CEO, and chief inclusiveness officer at EY Canada. “As a proud Founding Member of the Canadian Business Disability Network, we're invested in creating workplace environments that are free of barriers and biases, while fostering independence and dignity to help unleash the full abilities of all Canadians.”

“[Manulife is proud to] play a part in helping organizations across the country create fully accessible work environments where people of all abilities can thrive – a cause that I am truly passionate about. Recognizing that we can – and must – do more is an important first step,” says Naveed Irshad, president and CEO at Manulife Canada.

The Canadian Business Disability Network’s main mission is to empower member organizations to adopt disability-inclusive practices that also positively impact employees and customers. “The network is a national alliance of businesses dedicated to creating a barrier-free Canada that embraces the principles of accessibility and inclusion,” says Paula Allen, global leader, research and client insights at TELUS Health.

The collaborative effort aims to provide innovative programs and services, supported by joint resources from member companies. These initiatives will focus on improving workplace accessibility and enhancing the products and services offered by member organizations.

“We firmly believe that fostering greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace and in all aspects of society is not only essential for upholding the dignity and unlocking the potential of individuals but also for strengthening the fabric of our society as a whole,” Allen adds.