JOIN Challenges Employers to Hire Persons with Disabilities at Breakfast Series Kick-Off

    Canadian Financial Institutions Partner with JOIN to Encourage
    Employment Diversity

    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - JOIN (Job Opportunity Information Network) today
launched its Employer Breakfast Series - a program to engage employers to hire
persons with disabilities. The breakfast series is part of JOIN's new Business
Leadership Network and featured an empowering keynote address from Wayne
Kemick, Senior Vice-President and Wealth Advisor at BMO Nesbitt-Burns.
    "There are 4.5 million Canadians living with a disability. We want to
help employers tap into this qualified labour pool that is often overlooked or
ignored," said Susan Howatt, Chairperson of JOIN's Board of Governors.
    Over the past year, JOIN has assisted 1,157 individuals with disabilities
to secure meaningful employment. JOIN also has links to 1,800 different
employers through its database.
    The Business Leadership Network and Employer Breakfast Series provide
value-added information employers can use to strengthen their businesses and
recruit some of the top talent in the country, including individuals like
Wayne Kemick.
    After an accident in 1978, Kemick, a former football player, became a
quadriplegic. Since then he has risen to the top of the financial industry in
Canada and is an advocate for disability issues.
    Kemick challenged employers to set aside their preconceived notions and
to start thinking about hiring people with disabilities as a business
    "Challenges should not stop employers from pursuing opportunities to
strengthen their business," said Kemick. "When you hire someone with
disabilities, you gain a highly-committed employee, and you start to eliminate
the root of the challenges associated with hiring someone with disabilities by
breaking down physical barriers, ill-informed assumptions and negative
    The breakfast series, sponsored by BMO Financial Group and TD Bank
Financial Group, was attended by over 50 employers representing firms of all
sizes and sectors from across the Greater Toronto Area.
    "We are proud to be part of such a powerful program," said Yasmin
Meralli, Vice-President of Diversity and Workplace Equality, Human Resources,
at BMO Financial Group. "Our company benefits from the talent, knowledge and
experiences a diverse workforce provides. We can say first hand that by hiring
persons with disabilities, we have enriched our workforce and have tapped into
a source of strength; we challenge other employers to step forward and do the
    "JOIN is an exceptional organization doing important work," said Beth
Grudzinski, Vice-President, Corporate Diversity at TD Bank Financial Group.
"Its work in supporting employers and connecting them with talented employees
is essential for a strong and competitive Canadian workforce."
    "It is wonderful to have partners who are committed to championing
diversity recruitment like BMO Financial Group and TD Bank Financial Group,"
said Howatt. The series can be attended by any employer and runs monthly.

    About JOIN

    The Job Opportunity Network for Persons with Disabilities (JOIN) -
Toronto, is a network of 24 community agencies funded by ODSP Employment
Supports in Toronto. JOIN assists persons living with disabilities to find and
maintain employment, and assists employers to recruit qualified candidates to
meet their hiring needs. The JOIN network is also available in Central East

For further information:

For further information: Jane Enright, JOIN Marketing & Media Planning
Consultant, (416) 220-1890 or; Ralph Marranca, Director,
Media and Public Relations, BMO, (416) 867-4995 or

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Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN)

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