We continue to make strides in understanding the needs of, and increasing access for people with disabilities. In Ontario, we have the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
But what does accessibility really mean?
While it may be easy to consider aspects of physical accessibility like ramps, automatically opening doors, etc., there are other aspects that we may not consider. The AODA lists 5 areas of accessibility. They are:
- customer service
- information and communications
- built environment
The first four have already been made into law, to reach the vision of an accessible Ontario by 2025. The fifth is being developed.
Employment isn’t often considered as an accessibility issue. But assumptions, stereotypes and misinformation create high barriers for people with disabilities – either physical or psychological – to be able to access work.
Creating an inclusive work environment challenges us to do things differently, and to consider alternate ways of getting the job done well. It also challenges us to examine how the way we see people can create barriers for hiring, placement and promotion.
It’s nice to see that some of the Fortune 500 companies are taking this on. Read about Proctor & Gamble’s recent foray into a more inclusive workplace – which includes hiring people with disabilities for the same jobs as their able-bodied peers.
Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder