BMO Bank of Montreal - Interview opportunity

    TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ -

    WHAT:  The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario's Minister of Community
           and Social Services, speaks to Ontario's top employers today at a
           conference held to help educate employers about working with the
           disability community and better employing and retaining persons
           with disabilities.

           The day-long conference coincides with a new national poll (1)
           that measures Canadians views on people with disabilities, their
           role in the changing economy and Canadians' expectations of
           corporate Canada.

    WHY:   There are 4.5 million Canadians living with a disability, a
           qualified labour pool that is often overlooked or ignored.
           According to the new poll:

           -  Canadians feel society gives too low a priority to helping
              individuals with disabilities.

           -  78 per cent of Canadians are more likely to buy from a business
              that has a policy of hiring people with disabilities than from
              a company that does not. (In times of increasing economic
              uncertainty can companies afford to ignore this edge on the

    WHO:   April Taggart, Senior Vice President, Talent Management and
           Diversity, Human Resources, BMO Financial Group, provides a
           North American employer's perspective about how her company
           benefits from the talent, knowledge and experiences a diverse
           workforce provides. "In order to be a high performing company,
           which attracts great talent, you just have to be great at
           incorporating diversity initiatives into overall talent
           management. I can say first hand that by hiring persons with
           disabilities, BMO has enriched our workforce and has tapped into a
           source of strength," said April Taggart.

           Danie Grobbelaar, Customer Service employee at BMO's credit card
           call centre, and a brand new Canadian, provides his personal
           perspective as a person with a disability who overcame several
           years of unemployment stemming from employer bias and
           misperceptions. Danie is a recent graduate of BMO's unique 'pre-
           employment' programme which combines a period of study and
           cooperative internship that helps give employment candidates a
           practical introduction to their prospective job. During this time,
           challenges presented by an individual's disability can be jointly
           addressed and overcome.

    (1) On behalf of the Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN), COMPAS
        Research conducted a telephone survey in September and October, 2008,
        to examine issues related to persons with disabilities. The survey
        polled more than 600 Canadians from coast to coast.

For further information:

For further information: To arrange an interview, please contact: Ralph
Marranca, (416) 867-3996,; Charlene Millett, (416)

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