OTTAWA, July 14, 2016
Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) launched its newest project entitled EnAbling Change: From Disability to Inclusion, an EnAbling Change Project with the Government of Ontario that will see the organization focus on improving equity of access for people with disabilities who work or wish to work in the Canadian electricity industry.
Increasing employee and employer understanding and capacity to comply with legislative requirements (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 AODA) and its Accessibility Standards will be a key focus.
The project will also help to create national awareness within the electricity industry that hiring people with disabilities is not only socially responsible, but good for business, increasing employee morale, productivity, innovation, profitability and the ability to retain talent.
“Through the EnAbling Change Program, the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario works with industry leaders on outreach projects that make meaningful progress to improve accessibility. We are delighted to be partnering with EHRC as they educate the electricity sector on accessible employment practices and help break down barriers to the labour market for people with disabilities.” Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Accessibility.
“Our industry has identified the need for diversity in its workforce, including the increased representation of those with disabilities both visible and invisible, as well as supports for those who experience a disability while employed, said Michelle Branigan CEO of EHRC. “They have told us that practical tools that can over everything from hiring to accommodation, to accessibility and training”, are needed”.
Industry partners on this initiative include: Horizon Utilities, Powerstream, Ontario Power Generation, New Brunswick Community College, Burlington Hydro; Newfoundland Power; the Society of Energy Professionals, LiveWorkPlay, and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
As part of its project activities, EHRC will be developing and promoting a variety of tools and information resources that can be used by industry employers to hire, advance, train and retain people with disabilities to meet current and future staffing needs. The tools and communications outreach employed during the project will provide the education and training needed to overcome cultural barriers, dispel myths (e.g. hiring those with disabilities means more work for able-bodied employers), put theory into practice and meet legislative requirements/standards. The project will also highlight best practices in policy development and a knowledge portal will be hosted on the EHRC website at: http://electricityhr.ca to foster uptake of the materials and promote awareness.
In addition to the tools and resources being developed, EHRC will be conducting an industry roundtable to present and discuss effective strategies and best practices for employers in such areas as: establishing an effective disability inclusion program/culture; recruitment, training, and retention; and, disability management, accommodation and return to work. The roundtable will also identify workplace challenges while providing employers with an opportunity to discuss how to address these issues to affect meaningful change.
Discussions are currently underway to include the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) amongst the list of keynote speakers for this event to showcase organizations that are actively protecting and promoting mental health in the workplace. This work is part of a case study research project to document how the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is being implemented among Canadian employers across Canada.
“I think there will be great synergy between the EnAbling Change project and MHCC activities as we see mental health as a huge component of the discussion on disability in the workplace.” Julia Aitken, Project Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at EHRC.
About Electricity Human Resources Canada
EHRC is Canada’s most trusted source of objective human resources information and tools to help the Canadian electricity industry match workforce supply and demand. EHRC is a not-for-profit organization helping to keep the lights on in Canada by enabling a world-class workforce for the entire electricity industry. EHRC helps to build a better workforce by strengthening the ability of the Canadian electricity industry to meet current and future needs for a highly skilled, safety-focused, diverse and productive workforce. For more information, visit http://www.ElectricityHR.ca.