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Career Edge Blog

Recognizing the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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We all know when Boxing Day is – it’s on our calendars and it’s ingrained in our culture. However you may not be aware that December 3rd is officially the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Promoted by the United Nations, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an annual international observance that began in 1992. Every year focuses on a different topic relating to disability such as “Arts, Culture and Independent Living” in 1992 or “E-Accessibility” in 2006. This year’s theme is “Making the MDGs Inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world,” to ensure that internationally agreed upon development goals are inclusive and take into account the rights of persons with disabilities.

In Canada, nearly half (49.5%) of working age adults with disabilities are either unemployed or not in the labour force. (Click here for more stats on disability in Canada)

Career Edge Organization celebrates diversity in abilities every day by creating paid internship opportunities for recent graduates with disabilities with our host employers, and our Ability Edge program is continuing to grow and gain momentum.

How did your organization recognize this day? We want to hear from you! Share your stories with us and we will post them on our blog!

Here are a few interesting articles about how this very important day is being commemorated in different parts of the world:


Mysore, India:

Sri Lanka:

New York” “Stevie Wonder has hot debut as UN peace envo”



Canadian corporations are seeing green

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Recently one of the members of our LinkedIn group for employers and partner organizations began a discussion about the top “emerging careers,” particularly for recent graduates of Arts programs. One of the respondents raised the topic of “green jobs” and the timing couldn’t be better.

This year, the Toronto City Summit Alliance (chaired by David Pecaut, one of the founders of Career Edge) created the “Greening Canada Fund,” a voluntary carbon offset fund to help Canadian corporations reduce emissions. It is the first of its kind aimed entirely at large Canadian corporations.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the Greening Canada Fund would be launching with $13 million dollars. Career Edge Organization host employers TD Bank and Bank of Montreal are their first investors (Click here to read the full press release). The Fund aims to reach $50 million.

One of the many positive impacts of this Fund is the inevitable creation of green jobs.

This news comes shortly after the recent “Brick Works Forum” held by not-for-profit Evergreen in partnership with the federal government that gathered 100 business leaders to talk about the emerging Green Economy. Many of the participants, representing forward-thinking, innovative leaders in Canada, were also our host employers, such as GE Canada.

For many recent grads and Millennial job-seekers, companies that have gone green are attractive places to work. This group may currently face high unemployment rates but they still represent the leaders of tomorrow. It seems that going green may not only be the ethical and sustainable thing to do, it is also good for employment branding.

I stumbled upon GoodWork the other day, who call themselves “Canada’s green job site.” Employers looking to attract green talent can post here free.

Congratulations to Canada’s Top 100 Employers!

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Career Edge Organization would like to congratulate our Host Employers and Partners for being named among Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2010!

Not surprisingly, most of the organizations on the list have worked with us in some capacity over the years, either as a host employer to our interns or as a supporting partner.

The 2009 Top Employers Summit took place yesterday and today in Toronto with Richard Florida and Mia Farrow as featured speakers.

Below are just some of our Host Employers that were recognized in the Top 100 list:

  • Bank of Montreal
  • Enbridge Inc.
  • George Brown College
  • Loblaw Companies Limited
  • MTS Allstream Inc.
  • Ontario Public Service
  • Procter & Gamble Inc.
  • Research In Motion Limited
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Shell Canada Limited
  • TD Bank Financial Group
  • TELUS Corporation
  • Toronto Hydro Corporation
  • Toyota Canada

Every year, the “Canada’s Top 100 Employers” project recognizes employers across the nation for being one of the best places to work. It is a competitive process that looks at all aspects of work such as work atmosphere, community involvement and training and skills development.

Click here to see the full list!

INclusion OUT Diversity?

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diversity vs inclusion

I’m noticing a trend: people are using the terms “diversity” and “inclusion” interchangeably.

Remember when the conversation was about “equality” and equal opportunities? Since the 1970s the topic of workplace equality gained the attention of organizations and 1984 saw the beginnings of Employment Equity in Canada.

But over the past two decades, many organizations ditched the “traditional” language of equal opportunities in their internal and external policy statements in favour of diversity. Whereas equality emphasized non-discriminatory practices in the workplace, diversity was about recognizing the benefits of bringing together the different skills, backgrounds and viewpoints that exist in society.

We’re talking about more than just semantics here. The language an organization uses is a reflection of its values, and something as simple as one word can signal meaningful changes in its policy orientation.

Today, the word “diversity” is sort of becoming like your favourite jeans from last season. They still fit but they’re not in style anymore, and everybody else has a pair.

Organizations that want to stand out and lead the pack are now adding “inclusion” to their diversity statements – among them corporate leaders like RBC, HP and AOL. This begs the question: What is the difference?

Diversity is, quite simply, the “mix.” It means a variety of different kinds of people are at your workplace, reflecting the range of cultures, ages and other variations that exist in the workforce. Inclusion is taking that diversity to the next level.

HP defines inclusion as “a work environment where everyone has an opportunity to fully participate in creating business success and where each person is valued for his or her distinctive skills, experiences and perspectives.”

A salad, for instance, is a great example of “inclusion.”

You can lay out a variety of vegetables on a plate with dressing on the side but that does not make it a salad. It’s just vegetable diversity. In an actual salad, the lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and dressings are all mixed together. This creates synergies where all the parts are working together and the result is far more delicious and impressive than the plate of vegetables you had to start with.

Diversity is the range of differences among the organization’s people – women, people with disabilities, visible minorities, immigrants, LGBT people, blondes, redheads, tall people, short people, sports fans, foodies – you get the picture.

Inclusion is a quality of the organization itself.

Career Edge Organization embraces this shift, recognizing that the best companies are those that have integrated diversity at all levels, creating an environment that supports and leverages their employees so they can reach their full potential.

Don’t get me wrong – a variety of vegetables is better than just a boring plate of carrots. But wouldn’t you rather eat a salad?

What Toronto Can Do Better

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Earlier this week, our President and CEO at Career Edge Organization, Anne Lamont attended the Toronto Forum for Global Cities, put on by the International Economic Forum of the Americas, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

This year’s theme was “restoring growth in a post bail-out era” and the speakers included CEOs and representatives from the White House, OECD, Deloitte & Touche, Toronto Hydro Corporation, World Bank Group, IBM, TD, GE Canada and Scotia Bank. On a side note, it was great to see that several of our Host Organizations were represented there.

On Monday, the OECD issued its Territorial Review of Toronto which essentially identifies what we are doing right and what we can be doing better on economic development issues such as energy, infrastructure, finance and innovation, to name a few.

First, the good news – the Report cites Toronto as one of the most diverse cities in the OECD, and the most culturally diverse urban centre in Canada, with half of the population being foreign born.

However the reality is that we (Toronto employers) could do a much better job of tapping into this valuable resource.

One of the key policy issues identified is “the under-utilization of immigrants and cultural diversity” and not surprisingly, “bridging education programmes and internships” were cited as clear solutions to “address obstacles to the recognition and appreciation of foreign skills, which are an asset for the knowledge economy.”

We are pleased to see that the OECD mentioned us as a successful “bridge to work” program, in reference to our Career Bridge program for Internationally Qualified Professionals (for those of you who have the report, you can find us on page 115). The Report goes on to say that now that the approach has been tested, bridging and internship programs could be used more widely.