Edward Greenspon: The Worst Times Give Trust a Chance
Policy Speaking blogMonday March 30, 2020
The imperative to make work more accessible is one the Public Policy Forum is delving into deeply. As the world of work continuously shifts, modernizes and innovates, what moves can be made to get and stay ahead?
Last Friday, PPF co-hosted The Future of Accessible Work panel discussion with Microsoft Canada as part of our broader Brave New Work (BNW) Initiative. BNW brings together government, employers, education providers, individuals, and labour groups to explore how jobs and industries are impacted by technological advancement and how these shifts present myriad opportunities. It was through this lens that PPF and Microsoft designed a Future of Accessible Work panel discussion featuring national and international accessibility leaders & advocates including The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft, Yazmine LaRoche, Deputy Minister of Public Service Accessibility, and PPF’s Julie Cafley, Executive Vice-President of External Relations.
The purpose of this speaker series was for PPF members to learn about accessibility and inclusion straight from the experts. The hope is that through learning, we better our accessible processes, eliminate barriers, and encourage other organizations to do the same.
PPF welcomed over 80 guests and members, which reflected a multi-sectoral presence to ensure that together we could envision accessible and inclusive employment. Our panelists discussed their personal and lived experiences, emergent technologies, policy improvements around accessibility, and cutting-edge inclusion strategies. The panelists emphasized the need to shift from a reactive model of accessibility to a proactive human rights-based model to remove barriers created by society. Disability is not a problem to be solved in the workplace, rather, the focus needs to be on creating an environment where employees feel confident communicating their accommodation needs so they can be productive and make their best contribution to the organization. Through sharing their lived experiences and personalizing the discussion, the panelists brought a concrete reality to what many think of in the realm of abstraction.
Many thanks to our panelists, valued members and guests for sharing insightful ideas and the incredible energy in the room. We would also like to thank Microsoft Canada for hosting this session. To keep the conversation going and share our lessons learned, we have encapsulated five significant takeaways from the discussion:
With all this in mind, PPF wants to hear your corporate journey toward accessibility, best practices, and proactive policies for creating welcoming, safe and productive workplaces for your employees. We invite you to the Brave New Work conference on June 16, 2020, in Toronto featuring national employment leaders.