COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Discussion needed about accessibility

Opinion Oct 22, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

Accessibility is crucial to a large and growing sector of our population that face obstacles to their full participation in our society.

Does it make sense that, in this day and age, people who want to work can’t or who those who want to buy things or go places face extreme difficulties? Shouldn’t we support an individual’s desire to be independent? Shouldn’t we do all we can to help our citizens realize their full potentials?

In 2005, the Ontario government passed legislation called the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which strived to create a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. It has developed standards for businesses and organizations to meet and hopefully exceed, to open doors for fuller participation and access in key areas, including customer service, information and communication, employment, transportation and our physical environment.

Unfortunately, this legislation alone will not erase all accessibility issues or the myths and misconceptions regarding people with disabilities in Ontario, which tend to present the biggest barriers of all with regard to accessibility.

The truth is, people with disabilities are a large and growing percentage of the population. In a 2012 Statistics Canada survey, 13.5 per cent of Ontario’s population identified themselves as having a disability. They are generally well educated, but significantly underrepresented in the workforce.

Organizations with accessible employment practices see higher job retention, and attendance, lower turnover, enhanced job performance and better safety records. People with disabilities are a largely untapped talent pool and could be the solution for impending labour and skills shortages.

At PATH Employment Services, we understand this and work to educate the community to reframe their views on people with disabilities. PATH works to debunk the misperceptions of society, by educating employers and the community about the realities of hiring someone with a disability. There is a strong business case for creating accessible work environments.

Discussion and education around the importance of accessibility in Hamilton is vital in order to ensure a real change in attitudes with regard to accessibility, with or without legislation. Odds are that you already know someone or are working with someone who has a disability.

The benefits of accessibility are and will be there for all of us.

For information about PATH Employment Services, or for answers on how to make your business more accessible, contact PATH executive director Brad Spencer at 905-528-1118 or brad.spencer@pathemployment.com.

Sarah Jama is PATH Employment Services’ Summer Program Coordinator and is Diversity Services’ Abilities Coordinator at McMaster University.

COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Discussion needed about accessibility

Opinion Oct 22, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

Accessibility is crucial to a large and growing sector of our population that face obstacles to their full participation in our society.

Does it make sense that, in this day and age, people who want to work can’t or who those who want to buy things or go places face extreme difficulties? Shouldn’t we support an individual’s desire to be independent? Shouldn’t we do all we can to help our citizens realize their full potentials?

In 2005, the Ontario government passed legislation called the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which strived to create a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. It has developed standards for businesses and organizations to meet and hopefully exceed, to open doors for fuller participation and access in key areas, including customer service, information and communication, employment, transportation and our physical environment.

Unfortunately, this legislation alone will not erase all accessibility issues or the myths and misconceptions regarding people with disabilities in Ontario, which tend to present the biggest barriers of all with regard to accessibility.

The truth is, people with disabilities are a large and growing percentage of the population. In a 2012 Statistics Canada survey, 13.5 per cent of Ontario’s population identified themselves as having a disability. They are generally well educated, but significantly underrepresented in the workforce.

Organizations with accessible employment practices see higher job retention, and attendance, lower turnover, enhanced job performance and better safety records. People with disabilities are a largely untapped talent pool and could be the solution for impending labour and skills shortages.

At PATH Employment Services, we understand this and work to educate the community to reframe their views on people with disabilities. PATH works to debunk the misperceptions of society, by educating employers and the community about the realities of hiring someone with a disability. There is a strong business case for creating accessible work environments.

Discussion and education around the importance of accessibility in Hamilton is vital in order to ensure a real change in attitudes with regard to accessibility, with or without legislation. Odds are that you already know someone or are working with someone who has a disability.

The benefits of accessibility are and will be there for all of us.

For information about PATH Employment Services, or for answers on how to make your business more accessible, contact PATH executive director Brad Spencer at 905-528-1118 or brad.spencer@pathemployment.com.

Sarah Jama is PATH Employment Services’ Summer Program Coordinator and is Diversity Services’ Abilities Coordinator at McMaster University.

COMMUNITY COLUMNIST: Discussion needed about accessibility

Opinion Oct 22, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

Accessibility is crucial to a large and growing sector of our population that face obstacles to their full participation in our society.

Does it make sense that, in this day and age, people who want to work can’t or who those who want to buy things or go places face extreme difficulties? Shouldn’t we support an individual’s desire to be independent? Shouldn’t we do all we can to help our citizens realize their full potentials?

In 2005, the Ontario government passed legislation called the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which strived to create a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. It has developed standards for businesses and organizations to meet and hopefully exceed, to open doors for fuller participation and access in key areas, including customer service, information and communication, employment, transportation and our physical environment.

Unfortunately, this legislation alone will not erase all accessibility issues or the myths and misconceptions regarding people with disabilities in Ontario, which tend to present the biggest barriers of all with regard to accessibility.

The truth is, people with disabilities are a large and growing percentage of the population. In a 2012 Statistics Canada survey, 13.5 per cent of Ontario’s population identified themselves as having a disability. They are generally well educated, but significantly underrepresented in the workforce.

Organizations with accessible employment practices see higher job retention, and attendance, lower turnover, enhanced job performance and better safety records. People with disabilities are a largely untapped talent pool and could be the solution for impending labour and skills shortages.

At PATH Employment Services, we understand this and work to educate the community to reframe their views on people with disabilities. PATH works to debunk the misperceptions of society, by educating employers and the community about the realities of hiring someone with a disability. There is a strong business case for creating accessible work environments.

Discussion and education around the importance of accessibility in Hamilton is vital in order to ensure a real change in attitudes with regard to accessibility, with or without legislation. Odds are that you already know someone or are working with someone who has a disability.

The benefits of accessibility are and will be there for all of us.

For information about PATH Employment Services, or for answers on how to make your business more accessible, contact PATH executive director Brad Spencer at 905-528-1118 or brad.spencer@pathemployment.com.

Sarah Jama is PATH Employment Services’ Summer Program Coordinator and is Diversity Services’ Abilities Coordinator at McMaster University.