How to create an accessible workplace in Ontario Guide, Building Design Tips, Online Advice

How to Create an Accessible Workplace In Ontario

3 May 2021

If you don’t have a work atmosphere that fully embraces all types of individuals, you will not enjoy the benefits of having a diverse team. You can, however, make improvements to make the workplace more accessible to all, including people with disabilities.

Accessible Workplace Ontario

In a recent survey of more than 100 Ontario Canadian workplaces, disabled people’s inclusion was voted the area of diversity that needed the most change.  By making the workplace more accessible for people with disabilities you will be able to attract and recruit more qualified workers from a diverse pool of qualified candidates.  Incorporating people with disabilities not only fulfills a legal and ethical responsibility, but it also results in new ideas and experiences, improved efficiency, and higher-quality service. All staff with chronic and mental health problems can benefit from organizational reforms that better hire and retain applicants with disabilities. Do you want to lose out on 25% of the population of Ontario Canada who may have the perfect combination of skills and experience for the job?

Unfortunately, the biggest barrier to recruiting disabled people is apprehension about disrupting business processes and the costs of “fair accommodations.” Employers are still unsure how to behave in the presence of someone with a disability. The majority of changes, on the other hand, are slight tweaks to policies or procedures. It’s not as difficult as you think.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Global Diversity Awareness Month both fall in October! This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the benefits of a diverse workforce for business and community, as well as what employers can do to make their workplaces accessible to people with disabilities.

How to Create an Accessible Workplace In Ontario, Canada

Physical Barriers Must Be Removed

Removing the physical barriers of the disabled are one of the simplest ways to make the workplace more accessible. This includes designated parking spaces for people with disabilities, wheelchair-accessible doorways and exits, and sufficient space in your offices and lobbies. These reforms would benefit people with mobility issues, like those who need special wheelchair access to get to their workplace. In addition to that, ADA signage can be displayed such as custom braille signs Ontario ca at the workplace to make disabled persons understand where their assisting devices are located.

Assistive Technologies

Speech recognition apps, screen readers and magnifiers, keyboard aids, and AI tools are among the increasingly advanced computing equipment, software, and accessories available to assist people with disabilities in the workplace. Accessibility features are now included in even the most basic operating systems and browsers.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Narrator, for example, explains Windows and applications without requiring users to look at a computer. Skype Translator, which immediately transcribes voice to text and utilizes machine learning to improve with continued use, is also included in Windows 10, as a device that allows you to communicate with your computer using eye-tracking technology. Meanwhile, the Google ChromeVox screen reader is a common web browser plugin for the visually impaired that allows them to navigate the internet without having to use their eyes.

Existing Employees Should Be Trained

Now that you’ve agreed to make the workplace more disability-friendly, the next move is to educate your current employees. The most important factor for workers when creating an inclusive community is to learn about creating awareness, sensitivity, and empathy.

Bringing in an outside person who is informed about disabilities in the workplace or who works regularly in Ontario Canada with disabled people to educate workers through workshops, lectures, and other means is a good idea at this stage. Please remember that this is something that must be done regularly. It isn’t a one-time training.

It’s also a good idea to keep workers updated of upcoming changes to the workplace. You never know, they could come up with some ideas of their own that you can use.

Review your language when it comes to people with disabilities

When discussing people with disabilities, there are several words you can stop using. You don’t want to use phrases like “the disabled” or “disabled person.”  There is a significant distinction between a person’s condition and their essence.

Furthermore, medical and legal words like “impairment” or “accommodation” may be offensive since they imply that a person with a disability needs special treatment. If possible, stop using these terms and instead use terms and phrases that are respectful of all. For example, instead of “accommodation,” “modification” or “adjustment” may be used.

Make sure the work postings are written clearly. Consider including a statement encouraging an eligible candidate with disability to apply, also stating that fair arrangements will be made. You would also want to emphasize flexible job opportunities to entice disabled applicants.

Provide Special Equipment

The willingness to provide special equipment to the disabled workers is linked to eliminating barriers. This could include height-adjustable desks, elevator buttons, accessible washrooms, and more.

It’s a smart idea to seek assistance if you’re not sure what improvements to make. You can ask your workers how to improve their workplace. Alternatively, you can employ an independent contractor to identify and implement the appropriate changes.

Ensure Flexible Hours And Remote Work

For people with extreme mobility impairments, no matter how open the workplace is, it might not be enough. Consider whether they should work from home or on a part-time basis in such situations.

If you’re hiring for a new role, make sure to include this in the job description. Don’t forget to speak to the existing disabled workers and provide them with the same resources.  Working from home relieves many people of the burden of driving to work, while still allowing them to feel important and productive.

Revising Company Policy

When making such a significant shift in your workplace, revising company policy is one of the most important steps to take. You should update the employment discrimination policies to have a provision that covers disabled workers according to the disability laws in Ontario Canada. Disability laws differ from country to country, and it’s important to keep that in mind while revising the workplace as well.

In addition to revising the policy to make it inclusive of all workers, the policy should also provide details about training sessions, seminars, and mentoring courses that are specifically geared toward disabled employees.

Final words

This article just scratches the surface of what it takes to make a company disability-friendly. There is a great deal of work and effort that goes into making the workplace more inclusive, and this is a continuous task. However, it is an initiative that pays off in various ways including increased participation, diversity, and a more accepting public image.

A successful workplace is largely determined by the individual in charge. It may look like a huge responsibility, and it is, but it is an employer’s duty to create a healthy working atmosphere for all. It’ll all be worth it in the end. After all, the best workers are those who are satisfied.

Comments on this How to Create an Accessible Workplace In Ontario article are welcome.

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