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Diversity and Inclusion

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Employers Need to Do Better for People with Disabilities

By Diversity and Inclusion

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is upon us, a time for reflection and action.

People living with disabilities are hugely under-represented in corporate leadership. A rule change on corporate diversity disclosures in Canada could help change that. But only if the right path is chosen.

At Career Edge, we’re on a mission to promote inclusivity in the workforce. In this article, we’ll share key statistics and actionable steps to encourage employers to hire more people with disabilities.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

While income disparities continue to exist, with lower educational attainment for individuals with disabilities, in this National Disability Employment Awareness Month, here are a few reminders for employers to aim to achieve.

  • Aspiring to diversify the talent pool.
  • Driving cultural change within businesses.
  • Supporting disabled employees to succeed in the hiring and onboarding process.
  • Providing the needed support and accommodations to perform their jobs. 

Understanding the Status Quo

While the number of people with disabilities in Canada is significant, their participation in the labour market lags behind that of people without disabilities. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is consistently higher, making National Disability Employment Awareness Month a crucial opportunity to address this disparity.

To grasp the importance of this mission, let’s delve into the numbers:

  • In 2022, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 6.9%, nearly double that of those without disabilities, 3.8% (Statistics Canada, 2022)
  • The median hourly wages for those with disabilities were 5.5% lower than those without disabilities. (Statistics Canada 2022)
  • In 2022, among those with disabilities who were employed, one in five 20.3% worked part-time (not by choice), compared with 16.2% among those without disabilities. 
  • Nearly 59% of working-age adults with disabilities are employed, compared to around 80% of those without disabilities (Statistics Canada, 2017).
  • 1.6 million Canadians with disabilities couldn’t afford the necessary aids, devices, or meds.
  • Disability isn’t always obvious. As of 2023, approximately 2.3 million Canadians aged 15 and over are living with severe disabilities that limit their daily activities, according to Statistics Canada. 

How Can Employers Help?

Disabilities still represent a barrier for many Canadians in terms of acquiring and maintaining meaningful employment. Recently, the legal and policy landscape has changed in Canada on matters related to disability and inclusion. These policies, such as the Accessible Canada Act and the Disability Benefit Act, are meant to remove barriers and enable more equitable access to employment for those with disabilities.

Overcoming barriers is vital to fostering inclusivity. Here are a few things you can do as an employer when hiring people with disabilities. 

Despite limited opportunities, BMO’s 2013 survey found that 77% of employers reported positive results with disabled hires.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month encourages individuals, businesses, and organizations to promote inclusivity and raise awareness about the potential and capabilities of individuals with disabilities. It serves as a reminder that disability shouldn’t be a barrier to pursuing a fulfilling career. 

It’s vital to raise awareness about hidden disabilities to promote understanding and empathy within the workplace. 

How to be Inclusive of Employees with Disabilities

Accommodations aren’t always met. Statistics Canada’s 2017 survey revealed that workplace accommodations such as flexible work arrangements, workstation modifications, and human or technical support were frequently required. However, the likelihood of meeting those decreased as the number of required accommodations increased. Only 75% of employees with disabilities requiring one accommodation had their needs met, while 36% of those requiring three or more had their needs met. 

Embracing accommodations goes beyond ethics; it’s an investment in your organization’s growth and success. To create an inclusive workplace, organizations should consider various strategies:

  1. Accessible Workspaces: Make physical accommodations like ramps, accessible restrooms, and elevators to ensure everyone can navigate the workspace comfortably. Ensure physical accommodations like ramps, accessible restrooms, and elevators are in place for a comfortable work environment.
  2. Flexibility: Implementing flexible policies that cater to various needs, such as flexible hours and remote work options.
  3. Training and Sensitivity Workshops: Educate employees about disabilities, fostering empathy and understanding among colleagues. Training: Offering training on recognizing and accommodating hidden disabilities. The Ontario Human Rights Commission provides resources for employers in this regard.
  4. Recruitment and Retention Programs: Actively recruit individuals with disabilities and establish mentorship programs to support their career development.
  5. Mental Health Support: Recognize that disabilities include both visible and invisible conditions. 
  6. Open Communication: Foster open communication within the workplace, where employees feel comfortable discussing their needs and challenges.
  7. Flexibility and Training: Offer flexible work arrangements and provide training on recognizing and accommodating hidden disabilities.
  8. Recruitment and Mental Health Support: Actively recruit individuals with disabilities and provide mental health support to all employees.

Resources for Employers 

Canada provides numerous resources for building an inclusive workforce, such as 

  1. Career Edge: Connect with us, and we’ll help you find many incredible talents with disabilities and help you navigate the hiring and onboarding process.
  2.  Job Accommodation Service (JAS): JAS, offered by Employment and Social Development Canada, provides valuable resources and financial assistance to help employers make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
  3. Provincial Accessibility Legislation: Many provinces, including Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba, have introduced accessibility legislation that mandates accessibility standards for businesses and public institutions.

By promoting inclusivity and empowering employees with disabilities to contribute their unique skills and perspectives, you’ll foster a more diverse, creative, and resilient workforce. So, let’s work together to create a Canada where everyone, regardless of their abilities, is celebrated for their contributions and can thrive in the workplace.

recruiting diverse candidates

7 Strategies for Hiring Diverse Candidates

By Diversity and Inclusion

Many companies strive to hire diverse candidates. It’s more than just a trend or a nice thing to have. It’s a must-have if you’re looking to represent Canadian society. Diversity also has a lot of benefits for companies, it increases creativity, profitability, and employee retention.

The first step in building a diverse workforce is to hire more diverse candidates. But where do you start?  

 If you’re wondering how to achieve the diversity goals, we’ll give you a few tools and strategies to get you started. 

But before we do that, let’s talk about diversity hiring and its essential.

What is Diversity Hiring?

Diversity recruiting is a merit-based recruitment process that is free from unconscious biases for or against individuals or groups of candidates.

The process should be structured to reduce biases related to candidates’ race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, or any other personal characteristics unrelated to their job performance and give them an equal opportunity.

While in the United States, many organizations follow the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines, in Canada, we don’t have similar guidelines. 

Here are proven strategies that will help you hire more diverse candidates 

1. Attract the Right Candidates with the Job Description

Start with auditing your past job ads. Notice if you’re only attracting specific candidates. 

Studies have found that the language you use in your job description helps to attract or deter candidates from applying to the role. But there are a few things you can do.

  • Find ways to be more inclusive in your language to appeal to candidates from different backgrounds. Remove discriminatory language from job descriptions — many job descriptions often contain unintentional bias.
  • Avoid including the long list of nice haves in your job requirement. Studies also indicate that women may not apply for a job unless they are 100% qualified
  • Go beyond the typical “equal employer” phrase. Don’t be afraid to write a job description with specific demographics to boost your diversity recruiting strategy. 

2. Encourage Diverse Referrals 

A great way to ensure a diverse talent pool is to be creative when sourcing your candidates. Don’t rely on the same sources repeatedly when seeking out diverse candidates. 

Creating a diverse candidate referral program is a wonderful tool to boost your diversity recruitment and showcase that your company values different backgrounds, which is fantastic for team morale and engagement. Here is how you can do it.

  • Leverage the network of your existing diverse employees by asking them for referrals from their network or community. 
  • Offer innovative referral bonuses to your employees who recommend candidates from underrepresented groups.
  • Encourage employees to share your job ads with their network and give them the tools they need to promote the company for you. 

3- Advertise your Open Jobs through Different Channels

To hire diverse candidates, you must get out of your comfort zone and proactively source candidates from diverse backgrounds.

If you’re doing the same thing — going to the same job fairs, posting jobs on the same platforms, then you need to shake things up a bit to find diverse candidates where they look for jobs.

We at Career Edge have many underrepresented and diverse candidates — from new grads (including many international students), newcomers to Canada, and people with disabilities. We help you find and hire an underrepresented candidate through the low-risk hiring solution, paid internships.

Contact us if you want to source diverse candidates, and we’ll help you.

4. Improve the Candidate Screening Process

Screening candidates can be tricky. It often depends on many factors such as schools, previous jobs, and people they know — it can often decrease the diversity of the candidate pipeline. If your existing hiring process shows a misstep in candidate screening, there are a few ideas you can try.

Rethink Screening Factors 

Take some time to review what you value most in candidates and why, and honestly, ask yourself if you’re inclined towards specific types of people. 

Ask your colleagues to get another perspective. If you are hiring based on bias, consider changing your screening methods.

Leverage ATS in Shortlisting

Use ATS to find candidates with the most potential and best skills for the job.

This tip removes personal opinions and only focuses on the job requirements. This will provide an impartial shortlist, free from bias and help you move towards improving diversity.

Bind Resumes

Another popular technique recruiters use to remove bias screening is blinding any personal information on resumes. Blinding information like names, schools, or locations can help reduce any unconscious bias.

5. Design an Interview Process to Work

The interview process is the hardest part of the diversity recruiting process. 

Many interviewers make their decision within seconds by relying on our gut feelings just by looking at the candidate. Interview the right way by giving all candidates the same opportunity. Here is how.

Use Blind Interviews

Blind interviews use the same principle as blinding out resumes. You can do that by sending candidates questionnaires through your recruitment process. When candidates answer these questions, you will know about their skills before getting into the interview bias-free.

Introduce Diverse Interview Panels

Include a selection of your employees from different backgrounds to collaborate in hiring and avoid unconscious biases. 

Hire and Train recruiters to Focus on Diversity

Train your recruiters on how to avoid bias in recruitment. You can also hire trained recruiters to hire diverse candidates or a specialized company that can do that for you. 

6. Evaluate your Diversity Hiring Metrics

Assess the diversity of your hiring process and identify any potential roadblocks. The easiest way to improve your diversity hiring is by picking one metric to track.

For example, you can decide to increase the percentage of qualified visible minority employees by 10% within the next six months.

Track and evaluate your diversity efforts by asking these questions.

  • Did you hit your diversity goal?
  • Which strategies were effective and which ones weren’t? 
  • Where are your best diverse candidates coming from?

7. Create Policies Reinforcing Diversity and Inclusion 

It’s one thing to value diversity but another to live up to those values.

The best way to boost diversity in your workplace is to proactively implement company policies and a brand that values people and ideas from all backgrounds. 

Creating a diverse workplace doesn’t just stop with hiring. Here are some things you can do to reinforce diversity values in the workplace.

  • Be flexible with your time off and consider more religious holidays for different communities.
  • Promote flexible work hours that will allow different candidates to continue work while having the life they choose. 
  • Encourage employees to open up and have a dialogue to ensure everyone feels welcome and heard.
  • Manage internal campaigns and educate employees to make diversity an inherent part of your culture. 

If you want to keep attracting and hiring underrepresented candidates, your brand should reflect that. Diverse candidates will seek out companies who put in the effort to support those values.

diversity hiring benefits career edge

6 Benefits of Diversity Hiring That You May Not Know About

By Diversity and Inclusion

Hiring a diverse workforce has become a priority for so many companies worldwide. While it’s still optional for many employers in Canada, some governments worldwide are starting to regulate it.

Some businesses want to attract a diverse group of people to reflect the community, but that’s not the only advantage. Diversity in the workplace has many more benefits than just ticking a box. 

What is EDI or Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Workplace?

Diversity and inclusion hiring provide opportunities for underrepresented groups that wouldn’t otherwise be considered because of biases related to a candidate’s age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any characteristics unrelated to their job performance.

There is a common misconception that EDI hiring aims to increase workplace diversity for the sake of diversity. The objective of diversity hiring is to identify and reduce potential unconscious biases in screening, shortlisting, and hiring qualified candidates. The long-term goal for EDI hiring is to create a culture of inclusivity and diversity in the workplace to reflect society.

Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity recruitment isn’t only the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do. When a business recruits and retains a diverse pool of people, it benefits the company and its employees. 

Here are some of the benefits that employment diversity could improve your business in the short and long run.

1. Improving Sales 

Diverse companies are more profitable and more likely to achieve long-term growth as an entity when compared to less-diverse counterparts. 

Forbes research has identified that workforce diversity and inclusion create a better performance for product development and new markets, while companies with diverse top management reap the benefits of higher earnings and returns on equity.

According to McKinsey’s research, for every 1% increase in diversity, the company should predict a 3% to 9% increase in sales revenue.

2. Decreasing Turnover 

Companies that recruit and retain a diverse workforce have a competitive advantage. 

Many employees prefer companies with diverse workforces because this shows that the company is open, accepting, and free of discrimination. This leads to happier employees who feel loyal to their company and are more likely to stay there for years. 

Decreased turnover rates can also save time and money, improve recruiting efforts and help you get the brightest available talent through your doors.

3. Increasing Creativity

Growing up, living, and working in a different country often gives immigrants to Canada a unique perspective that can enrich your company’s decision-making processes. When you have a wide variety of minds working together to solve a problem or help your company achieve some goals, you get unique and out-of-the-box solutions.

Professors Hong and Page from the University of Michigan showed that groups of diverse problem solvers could outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers.

4. Cultivating a Resilient Workforce 

In today’s ever-changing market, the ability to adapt to sudden and unforeseen events can make or break your business.

Luckily for you, diverse groups of immigrants come with a proven ability to stand in the face of any change. They’ve left their countries, families, and lives as they know them, hustled, and settled in Canada. 

If you want to increase your company’s resilience, these are the kinds of employees you should be hiring.

5. Better Access to Local and International Markets

The Canadian market is so diverse right now, with one in five Canadians identifying as an immigrant. 

Hiring diverse immigrant groups is only natural because it reflects the community. Companies with a diverse staff are better positioned to meet the needs of diverse customer bases. They can also help a company tailor its messages and approach and better connect with different groups in the market.

It doesn’t just work locally; immigrants can be an invaluable asset if your company wants to expand internationally. They can often offer up insights and contacts in their home country and save their employers time and money.

6. Enhancing Corporate Reputation

Inclusive companies that hire a diverse workforce are more likely to be viewed positively in their industry.

Being recognized as an inclusive organization can help your company receive good press and develop a strong employer brand, which will help you improve your reputation. 

Career Edge partners such as RBC, Scotia Bank, TD Bank, Manulife, TTC, and the City of Toronto have been receiving Canada’s Best Diversity Employers award for years. This program recognizes employers across Canada with exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs.

Want to hire a more diverse workforce? Get in touch with Career Edge today!

stop celebrating diversity

It’s Time to Stop Celebrating Diversity

By Diversity and Inclusion, Employer

We need to stop celebrating diversity in the workplace. Yes, you read that right – we need to stop celebrating diversity. Here is why – diversity in the workplace is powerful, influential, and engaging…but only if we can utilize it correctly. If we do not use the skills and perspectives and experiences our diverse teams offer to create better products and services, then our diversity becomes a vanity statistic; a data point that makes us feel better and has no real impact.

So, how can we tap into diversity? Read More

diversity

Diverse Hiring

By Diversity and Inclusion

Today marks the official start of LGBT Pride Month in Canada, a time when Career Edge would like to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, and its value to organizations. But what is diversity? What is inclusion?

Diversity: the range of differences among an organization’s people

Inclusion: the act or practice of supporting an organization’s diverse people

Companies valuing diversity respect and appreciate differences in ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, education, and religion. Inclusive companies equitably support a diverse workforce by ensuring corporate culture, work environment, and business practices enable individuals to reach their full potential. Read More

Internationally qualified Professionals

Tips to help internationally qualified professionals re-launch their careers in Canada

By Diversity and Inclusion

In the article “Internationally Trained Professionals – Should They Abandon Their Profession?” Lee Koren makes some great points, and we’re going to reply to them below!

Employment Consultant Lee Koren recently blogged about her experience helping internationally qualified professionals (IQPs) overcome the challenges faced when attempting to re-launch their careers in Canada.

Koren explains that while the government has made social programming available to support the settlement of new immigrants, employers’ behaviour, in terms of recognizing international (versus Canadian) work experience, remains a challenge – despite the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier.

Too often, this barrier results in skilled immigrants taking “survival jobs” that are well below their level of education and experience acquired abroad. This is not only a huge setback for IQPs, but also for Canada’s economy.

Read More

Winning with Newcomers

By Diversity and Inclusion

By Baisakhi Roy

*Article republished from http://canadianimmigrant.ca/news-and-views/winning-with-newcomers

At the recent 10th Annual Internationally Educated Professionals Conference, hosted by the Progress and Career Planning Institute (PCPI) in Toronto on April 5, the issue of workplace integration of new Canadians was a hot topic.

With recent reports indicating that Canada is facing a growing deficit of workers, there is an increased urgency for innovative inclusion strategies when it come to hiring newcomers.

“Employers must realize that they cannot properly address their skills shortages without making workforce integration programs more accessible to new Canadians,” says Silma Roddau, president of PCPI. “If not, they miss out on a whole talent pool of people and the potential to compete on both a local and global level.”

A newcomer speaks with an advisor at the Career, Education and Settlement Fair

Recently, the list of the Best Employers for New Canadians was announced and one of the awardees was St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Kevin Kirkpatrick, manager of recruitment at the hospital, stresses the importance of a diverse workforce. “St. Michael’s Hospital uses several programs for internationally educated professionals that attribute to our success in winning this award. We utilize an internship program from Career Bridge that allows IEPs an opportunity to get Canadian work experience and at the same time St. Michael’s benefits from highly trained expertise to assist with projects. To date, almost half of our internships have resulted in employment,” he says.

This competition, managed by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, recognizes the nation’s best employers for recent immigrants. One of the awardees recognized is the City of Mississauga. “The 2013 Best Employers for New Canadians special designation has recognized the city for offering programs that assist new Canadians to transition to a new workplace and a new life in Canada. Through these programs, internationally qualified professionals bring diversity and add great value to the workplace,” says Sharon Willock, director of human resources, City of Mississauga.

Among the other employers listed was Deloitte & Touche LLP, one of the biggest certified public accountant firms in the world. The company boasts hundreds of employees serving as mentors or “buddies” to new Canadians. No wonder that the company has been featured regularly on this esteemed list. “Our core culture is delivery to our clients. Our clients are diverse, so if we are not diverse, we won’t match up to their needs. We don’t want our clients to face our team and go, ‘You don’t look like us!’” said Jason Winkler, chief talent officer, Deloitte Canada in a recent interview with our magazine as part of our “What Employers Want” series. “We actually believe that our workplace is fun, more interesting, more valuable because we are all so different from each other. We come up with better ideas from a diverse workforce. It’s actually sound business.”

Kirkpatrick agrees that the connection between staff and clients (i.e., hospital patients in St. Michael’s case) is crucial, and the hospital makes an effort to invest in skill development and integration programs. “Once hired at St. Michael’s, our integration program works on developing the skills needed to succeed in the Canadian workplace. These programs are supported at the executive level at St. Michael’s because they have identified the need to ensure staff is reflective of the community and patients served by the hospital,” he says.

A career advisor leads a discussion at the Career, Education and Settlement Fair

Addressing this very need for a higher level of interaction between the immigrant talent pool and Canadian employers, Canadian Immigrant and Scotiabank in association with Centennial College are organizing their 3rd annual Career, Education and Settlement Fair on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The day-long fair is free to all newcomers in the GTA, offering them access to various exhibitors and interactive sessions led by experts in various fields of interests. The fair will provide information and tips on job hunting, accreditation and upgrading of education, as well as information about where to live, where to study and who to turn to when seeking assistance in your settlement.

Last year, major exhibitors at the fair included top employers like educational institutions such as the University of Toronto, Humber College and York University, while representatives of professional associations such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Certified General Accountant (CGA) associations were on hand to demystify any doubts foreign-trained professionals might have.

“I was very impressed with the level of attendees. Not only have most of them worked in the financial sector in their native countries, but also seem to have done a fair amount of research on what Scotiabank is all about. They have the skills, knowledge and expertise to work within functional areas of the bank,” said Sujay Vardhmane, senior manager, global employment strategies, Scotiabank, at the 2012 fair.

Not All Resumes Are Treated Equally: How Toronto’s Skilled Immigrants Are Getting Hired

By Diversity and Inclusion

By Paul Gallant

(Originally published in Yonge Street on July 28, 2010)

ERICH SHIH - VOULA MONOHOLIAS

When Erich Shih arrived in Canada two years ago, he found his first job in three weeks – as a gas station cashier in Milton. It was something of a shock since both he and his wife had been established teachers in their country of origin, the Philippines. Shih didn’t look down on the gas station work, but it wasn’t at all what he had planned when he applied to immigrate to Canada.

“I wasn’t trained to be a cashier,” says Shih, 33, who was attracted to Canada because of its social services, health and education systems. “I was living with my sister-in-law in Milton and I needed to start earning money. I didn’t know where to start.”

Read More

Aboriginal Inclusion in the Workplace

By Diversity and Inclusion

Aboriginal inclusion in the workplace is a critical part of the overall discourse that is taking place around diversity and inclusion in the Canadian workplace today.

Canadian employers are seeing a clear business case in making their organizations inclusive of Aboriginal people and other underrepresented groups, as diversity maximizes the potential of all employees, lowers employee turnovers, broadens the customer base and increases work productivity. Diversity brings cohesiveness to the workplace.

Moreover, the impending skills shortage faced by Canadian employers today may call for creative hiring solutions. Aboriginal people represent an important part of this solution, with a growth rate that is six times faster than the general population.

Unfortunately, Aboriginal inclusion has its own challenges, as there are gaps still prevalent that are acting as barriers to true Aboriginal inclusion in the workplace. In an effort to make their workplace practices truly welcoming, employers are still working to expand their understanding of the historical and cultural journey of Aboriginal people in Canada.

Conventional practices around recruitment, retention and promotion alone would not suffice to make an organization an employer of choice for Aboriginal people. This is best achieved when organizational goals and Aboriginal inclusion goals are linked together, and inclusion becomes an organization competency, part of managerial performance evaluations.

An optimal Aboriginal inclusion strategy is also backed by leadership and commitment, long-term goals, accountability, relationship building, creative recruitment, retention and promotion strategies and a plan for implementation and measurement.

What are we doing?

At Career Edge Organization, Aboriginal inclusion is viewed as a journey that will include lots of learning and sharing of best practices with our host organizations and partnering community agencies. We are currently working on streamlining our processes so that our host organizations would be able to hire Aboriginal interns through the paid internship programs we offer that are meant for recent graduates: Career Edge and Ability Edge.

In our quest for ongoing learning and understanding of Aboriginal inclusion in the workplace, I recently attended a Workshop titled “Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion”. The workshop was offered during the yearly conference called “Inclusion Works” organized by the Aboriginal Human Resource Council. Some of the critical areas that were covered in the workshop were understanding the business case for Aboriginal inclusion, the historical exclusion of Aboriginal people and how to increase an organization’s ability to recruit, retain and advance Aboriginal peoples.

In our journey so far, we have encountered some notable successes, including the three Aboriginal interns who were placed in one of the major Canadian banks within the last three months. We continue to see more of our host employers hiring Aboriginals through our paid internship programs. Our goal is to make our internships a viable medium for qualified recent Aboriginal graduates to establish their careers.

By Guest Blogger: Rizwan Abdul, Client Relations and Human Resources Manager, Career Edge Organization