New Web Tool Promotes Employment for Persons with Disabilities

    Thinking Outside the Box Offers Advice on Accommodations

    TORONTO, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - How can Canadians with disabilities gain the
support needed to succeed in the workplace? With some Thinking Outside the
Box. That's the name of a new web-based tool, launched today by Strategic
Employment Solutions (SES) and Job Accommodation Information Network (JOIN) of
    The website will be launched on September 6, 2007 from 3 to 5 p.m. at
CIBC, 150 York St., 12th Floor - Peace River Room. There will be a website
demonstration, remarks by the sponsors and an opportunity to speak to its
    The bilingual tool is designed for employers, job seekers,
employees, union representatives and anyone who supports the employment of
persons with disabilities. Sections include practical checklists, the
obligations of workplace parties, (policies, practices and facilities),
success stories, and links to valuable resources.
    "This website offers practical solutions to everyone involved in
employing and accommodating persons with disabilities. I firmly believe that
finding dignified, creative and flexible solutions to workplace accommodation
should be embedded into employment processes - accommodation should not be a
barrier to employment," says Dauna Jones-Simmonds, Chair, SES. "The goal is to
provide the accommodations needed to allow people to do their jobs
    SES and JOIN, offer one-stop employment services to job seekers with
disabilities and employers looking to tap into this capable workforce. The
project was funded through the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and
Universities, and sponsored by CIBC, RBC Financial Group and TD Bank Financial
    Thinking Outside the Box was developed by people from corporate,
government, service providers and human resource sectors. "Accommodation isn't
about special treatment," notes the project team, "but about removing
obstacles that prevent equal access to employment."
    "Thinking Outside of the Box is a valuable resource for employers, job
seekers, employees, unions and agencies looking for information on hiring and
how to make workplaces more accessible and inclusive for persons with
disabilities," says Beth Grudzinski, Vice President, Diversity, TD Bank
Financial Group. "As employers we realize how tremendously important this
issue is."
    In some cases, accommodation can be physical, e.g. alternative keyboards,
screen readers, and accessible facilities. Other times, accommodation requires
changes in policies or attitudes. For instance, do employers actively seek job
applicants with disabilities? Do they ensure a positive work environment?
    The website addresses a wide range of accommodation issues, around all
stages of employment - recruitment, hiring, retention, development,
performance evaluation, and more - as well as around overall workplace
    "Providing workplace accommodations benefits not only employees and job
seekers, but employers too," says Teri Monti, Director, Employee Relations,
RBC. "We understand the power of having an inclusive workplace, where people
can realize their full potential, feel valued, and add their value. Thinking
Outside the Box isn't just about meeting obligations - it's about creating
    By bringing to the forefront best practices in accommodation, Thinking
Outside the Box will help ensure that anyone with disabilities - whether
visible or invisible, physical or mental - can fully participate in the
    "We are proud to sponsor and play a role in the launch of this new
website, as employment equity is a fundamental value at CIBC," adds Amy Hanen,
VP, Human Resources, Policy and Governance, CIBC. "We recognize and embrace
the potential of all people, including those with disabilities, and we're
committed to doing everything we can to create a workplace environment that
accommodates the needs of our employees."

For further information:

For further information: Mundy McLaughlin, Project Co-ordinator and
Vice-Chair, Stategic Employment Solutions Business Advisory Council, Working
Animal Consulting Services, (416) 651-9307 (office) or (416) 893-8691 (cell),; Sharon Myatt, Strategic Employment Solutions, 10
Overlea Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, M4H 1A4, Tel: (416) 425-4737, Fax: (416)
425-7943, TTY: (416) 425-8638, E-mail:, Website:

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