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​Benefits of Inclusive Employment Part 7: Presentation of a Diverse Workforce

- by Maia Idzikowski

Over time, society has evolved to accept individuals no matter their shape, size, race, religion or ethnicity. Canada’s Employment Equity Act (1986) ensures that designated groups (Women, Visible Minorities, Aboriginal People, and Persons with a Disability) are protected against systemic barriers and given equal opportunity within the workforce, and the general public is outraged when they discover that women are being paid significantly less than men in some cases. Moreover, Section 15 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures that “every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability”.

While individuals with intellectual disabilities are not always at the centre of discussions as are the other groups protected by Canada’s Employment Equity Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. But, like the other groups protected by the Act and Charter, they have to overcome greater barriers to become employed.

Most companies want to present a diverse workforce. Now that society is more accepting of diversity, so are employers. Most of us have personal experiences with diversity; either through personal or family experiences or through experiences of our friends, co-workers or community members. Because diversity is part of our lives, we want to see this diversity reflected in places of employment and business. Companies know that it is “good business” to reflect the image of society through employment and other policies. The natural next step in reflecting and celebrating diversity is to hire inclusively. Hiring inclusively sets companies ahead of their competitors; seen as a progressive brand with integrity, these companies will appeal to a larger base of consumers.

Presenting a diverse workforce looks good from all angles. An employee will be proud of the organization they work for, consumers will be proud to say that they support this company/business, and as a result, employers will see the benefits.

This thought concludes Community Living Manitoba’s 7 part series on Inclusive Employment. If you would like to learn more about Ready, Willing and Able, a national initiative partnered with Community Living Manitoba to promote and facilitate inclusive employment, contact:

Brian Rochat at (204) 781-0582

or email: rwa@aclmb.ca