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Tagged: Inclusive Employment

​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:


​Benefits of Inclusive Employment Part 4: Positive Attitude

- by Maia Idzikowski

I remember when I got my first job. I had just turned 16, and was so excited to finally be entering the workforce. I was slightly nervous, motivated to work hard, and empowered that the company had picked me over other applicants. People with intellectual disabilities feel the same way when they enter into the workforce. They are excited, a little bit nervous, and determined to work hard.

As discussed in previous segments, individuals with intellectual disabilities appreciate an employment opportunity more than anyone else. They have to overcome greater barriers to obtain a position and often develop a very deep sense of gratitude towards the employer.

When employees are grateful, excited and determined to be entering into the workforce, they will maintain a positive attitude while working. Positivity is contagious; other co-workers, managers and customers will also be affected.

The quote “positive minds lead positive lives” (anonymous), is applicable to inclusive employment. Individuals with intellectual disabilities will instill positivity into the minds of those they are working with. They will also make a massive contribution to the morale of the organization or business, creating a friendly, team-oriented, and accepting atmosphere where every employee feels like they belong.

A welcoming workplace where everyone feels safe and included will be attractive to prospective employees, while creating a supportive, cohesive workforce.

In the end, hiring an individual with an intellectual disability is going to make everyone happy. Customers will be thrilled to be served by such friendly employees, and co-workers will find the welcoming workplace to be exciting and refreshing. For all stakeholders, this is a win-win situation!

For more information about inclusive employment or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Community Living Manitoba’s Labour Market Facilitator for Ready, Willing and Able,
email: Brian Rochat at

or call at (204) 781-0582


​Benefits of Inclusive Employment Part 3: Reduced Turnover

- by Maia Idzikowski

Hiring inclusively has a multitude of benefits. Employers who hire individuals with intellectual disabilities report a reduced employee turnover.

This makes sense. In part 1 of this series, we established that individuals with intellectual disabilities or ASD are appreciative of employment opportunities. They are hard workers, who pay close attention to detail and are excited to be entering into the workforce. As a result, these individuals are less likely to quit their job than the ‘average’ employee.

For the employer, what this really boils down to is that hiring individuals with intellectual disabilities or ASD is good for business. These employees are among the most dependable. They are ready to make a long-term commitment to their workplace, and will strive to do the best job possible. An organization or company that can keep employees for many years is also extremely attractive to potential employees. They will see the company as fair and reliable, and will be more likely to make a long-term commitment themselves.

Ultimately, hiring individuals with intellectual disabilities or ASD reduces employee turnover, establishing the company as consistent and dependable.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of the Ready, Willing, and Able Series on Inclusive Employment.


​Benefits of Inclusive Employment Part 2: Co-Worker Partnerships

- by Admin User

Monday's segment established that individuals with intellectual disabilities are hard-working and appreciate opportunities, resulting in consistent attendance at place of employment.

As emphasis shift toward establishing and promoting inclusive and supportive workplaces, innovative employers are understanding that individuals with intellectual disabilities are more likely to have an outgoing, positive attitude in the workplace. Why? This is simply due to their mentality of appreciation; when an employment opportunity is exciting and valuable to an individual, they will have a positive outlook on that opportunity. Moreover, workplace inclusion is essential for social inclusion. A positive attitude is contagious, and will result in a friendly, outgoing workforce, where co-workers get along and work together. An individual with an intellectual disability is more likely to collaborate and work together with their co-workers, creating an engaging work environment. Moreover, this will build a team-oriented atmosphere, and create a unified workforce. In service orientated industries positive and friendly employee attitudes can drive sales and increase profit margins.

Ready, Willing, and Able (RWA) is a national initiative working together with Community Living Manitoba to promote inclusive employment. RWA has released a list of 7 key benefits that arise out of inclusive employment.

Stay tuned for Part 3.


Inclusive Employers are Ready, Willing, and Able

- by Brian Rochat

Ready, Willing, and Able is designed to build on and increase employer capacity and demand to hire people with developmental disabilities, link employers with employment agencies and supports, work in partnerships with schools, post-secondary institutions and the business community, and assist in the development of education and public awareness tools and efforts that promote the increased employment of people with developmental disabilities. RWA has identified the following six building blocks as best practices and essential requirements to increased labour market participation of people with intellectual disabilities and ASD:

  • Employer capacity and confident to hire: Engaging and supporting employers to promote understanding and awareness of the value of hiring people with developmental disabilities and providing them with the needed supports to do so;
  • Community-based delivery of employment support and labour market bridging: Transforming the community employment supports delivery system to be the effective bridge-builders employers need;
  • Planning for transitions from school to employment and careers: Working with employers and the school system to ensure supports are in place to assist students to plan and pursue effective transitions to employment and careers;
  • Inclusive post-secondary education: Expanding on current models that put supports in place at the colleges and universities that enable students with developmental disabilities to pursue post-secondary education;
  • Employer-to-employer networks: Engagement and support of employer-to-employer networks such as Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Manitoba Association of Human Resources Professionals and others to champion hiring of people with developmental disabilities;
  • Entrepreneurship and small business development: Enabling entrepreneurship as an option for people with developmental disabilities by providing expertise, knowledge, resources and support to community agencies to assist people in business ventures.

Supported employment outcomes are dependent on business leaders understanding the value of hiring people with intellectual disabilities and the application of applying that value to their business. The long-term success of RWA requires ongoing communication and relationship development with employers. If you are or know an employer who may be interested in learning more about Ready, Willing and Able, please contact the Manitoba Labour Market Facilitator, Brian Rochat.

You can support Community Living Manitoba’s goal of inclusive employment by making a donation today. Click here to see the available options and other ways you can support us.

For more information about inclusive employment or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Community Living Manitoba’s Labour Market Facilitator for Ready, Willing and Able,

email: Brian Rochat at
or call at (204) 781-0582


Employment First is the Focus

- by Admin User

Employment First is the Focus
By: Brian Rochat

Brian Rochat is the Manitoba Labour Market Facilitator for the national Ready, Willing and Able Initiative. A Human Resources Professional drawing from experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Brian has dedicated his career to diversity and inclusion.

Brian was born in Swaziland and spent his formative years between Canada and South Africa. Early exposure to institutionalized segregation and barriers under Apartheid provided Brian with an interest in diversity, inclusion, employment equity, mediation and conflict resolution.

Brian holds a B.A. from the University of Manitoba and certification in Human Resources Management obtained from Red River College. He brings extensive professional experience through former roles as the Manitoba Program Manager for the Canadian Centre for Diversity, consultant to Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Canadian Centre for Refugee Employment, and Red Threads of Peace.

He has provided diversity and inclusion consulting services to business, communities, government and non-government agencies throughout Canada. With Ready, Willing, and Able Brian is focused on building employer demand to hire people with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), by exploring employer labour needs and educating employers about the value of hiring people with intellectual disabilities by addressing the business case.

Through his efforts and engagement, Ready, Willing and Able will serve as a conduit for businesses to access, hire, and leverage the unique skills of the demographic served by Community Living Manitoba.

An Interview with Brian
By: Maia Idzikowski

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Brian Rochat about his involvement with Ready, Willing and Able (RWA).

Brian has been very busy working with employers and businesses to promote inclusive employment. In terms of most current projects, Brian has been working closely with Bison Transportation, City of Winnipeg, Costco, Geller’s Year Round Property Service, Government of Manitoba, and Safeway Manitoba, among others.

Most recently, the City of Winnipeg has hired inclusively. This outcome stems from an RWA organized workshop the City delivered in early in April to highlight employment opportunities and remain committed to hiring more people with disabilities. As a result, the City is creating a more inclusive and equitable workforce.

Geller’s Year Round Property Services has also hired through the Ready, Willing and Able initiative and continues to work with Brian to develop further employment opportunities. Geller’s offers property services such as landscaping in the summer and snow removal in winter. The owner, Matt Bell, is committed to continue inclusive hiring and has been collaborating with RWA.

Costco is rolling out their commitment to inclusive employment by collaborating with RWA to hire inclusively. Specifically, the McGillivray and Regent locations have made the commitment and are in the process of receiving Ready, Willing and Able candidates.

Canada Safeway remains a primary employer for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Safeway is committed to inclusion and diversity within the workforce, and continues to create meaningful opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. On behalf of Community Living Manitoba, RWA is pleased to work with Canada Safeway.

RWA continues to work with Bison Transportation in developing employment opportunities that fit with their inclusive culture and dedication to diversity. They are currently working towards finding their next great employee through RWA.

More specifically, Brian works with employment agencies and businesses to connect individuals with intellectual disabilities to potential employers.

RWA is pleased to recognize Seven Oaks School Division and Superintendent Brian O’Leary. Seven Oaks recognizes that their commitment to inclusive education needs to broaden to inclusive employment. They are currently working with RWA in developing a job outcome for someone with an intellectual disability to start at the beginning of the school year. As an employer of a large workforce, Seven Oaks recognizes that inclusive employment makes practical, business sense and models their values and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

When asked about his most rewarding project, Brian says that in terms of inclusive employment, any outcome is rewarding because hiring an individual with an intellectual disability has the potential to change that individual’s life. With that being said, Brian also mentioned that he is extremely pleased with Costco’s national commitment to diversity through working with RWA.

In addition to talking about the successes of RWA’s partnerships, I asked Brian about the challenges that occur while working with employers. Brian indicated that challenges arise in regards to employer engagement. The employers that are currently working with RWA are more committed to diversity than many employers are. The challenge is identifying employers through engagement and outreach. There are many employers dedicated to inclusion; it’s just difficult to find them. The biggest challenge is that many people, not just employers, carry bias and misconceptions towards the varying abilities and strengths of people with autism and other intellectual disabilities.

In terms of schools and post-secondary education, from a policy perspective, the focus is not on employment. In Brian’s opinion, employment should be the first priority. The approach should be that employment is the first objective.

Brian and I also talked about the steps businesses can take to be more inclusive. As a start, employers can think about the different jobs/positions within their organization. They also have to understand that job seekers with disabilities or on the autism spectrum come with different strengths and skills just like any other job seeker. People with an intellectual disability can not only fill a position, but can also excel in it. The position can be anything from cleaning to data entry and advanced accounting, and inclusive employment can provide a sensible labour force solution to the employer.

Finally, I asked Brian to share the one thing that everyone needs to know about inclusive employment. Brian elaborated that, in the end, it boils down to the fact that inclusive employment is good for business. Employers often think of inclusive employment as something that will cost them money. But the reality is that hiring inclusively is proven to reduce turnover and lead to consistent attendance. When inclusive employment galvanizes positivity within the workplace, then employees take pride in the job. In turn, this increases organizational loyalty. In a team orientated environment, it can lead to greater co-worker partnerships. Also, it enhances the employer’s public image, and the presentation of a diverse workforce to consumers and public often leads to greater consumer loyalty and profits.

In closing, inclusive employment is the next step in ensuring an inclusive community. If you would like to get in contact with Brian Rochat,


Call: (204) 781-0582


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