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Hiring People with Disabilities: Recruiting with AODA Accessibility in Mind

Although the deadlines for AODA compliance have passed, your company may not be hiring people with disabilities because you are unaware of how best to recruit from this demographic.

Ontario’s Accessibility Standard for Employment is a key portion of the Ontario government’s plan to make Ontario an accessible province by 2025. After all, about one in seven people in Ontario has a disability. If you are in charge of recruiting and hiring, seek to make the process as welcoming as possible to Ontarians with a disability. Hiring people with disabilities allows your company to tap into a diverse range of options to fill your open positions.

Follow these four steps for hiring people with disabilities:

Step 1: Plan

Plan ahead to make the process as accommodating as possible, even before you receive any accommodation requests. For example, consider the space you plan to conduct interviews in: is it accessible? Also, consider accessibility options for all materials that you will be using in the selection process.

Step 2: Recruiting

When recruiting, notify applicants about the availability of accommodation. Advertise that you welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities. State that accommodations are available.

Step 3: Accommodating the interview

If a selected applicant makes an accommodation request, the standard states that you must consult with the applicant to provide the accommodation. This consultation is more than just a requirement; it’s a great opportunity for you to get first-hand information about making your workplace accessible. Remember, those candidates with disabilities will best know what accommodations are suitable for them. Be ready and eager to follow your candidates lead at all times.  Also, be willing to substitute one process for another.

Step 4: Offering employment

When you do make an offer for employment, you must notify the successful applicant of your workplace’s policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.  Be sure to specify whom the applicant should contact if they wish to request an accommodation. Encourage the applicant to make any request as soon as possible. This way you are able to make the appropriate accommodations prior to the applicant’s employment start date.

Throughout all stages of the process, be open about your readiness to make accommodations. Remain eager to listen to your applicants. Remember, by making your recruitment process as accessible as possible, you will be opening your positions to a range of knowledgeable, skilled, and qualified people waiting to be hired.