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Inclusive Employment Advocacy Project (Toronto Chapter)

The Inclusive Employment Advocacy Project is an employment initiative developed by The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Toronto Chapter. The project’s purpose is to provide tools and empower job seekers with disabilities when seeking employment. The project commenced in 2017 and was concluded in December 2019.
In the first phase of the project in 2017, there were six consultations where data was collected on the challenges that persons with disabilities face when looking for work. The challenges identified were: the challenges and barriers that participants encountered receiving employment services, obtaining employment, and workplace accommodations.
In the latter half of 2017, five training workshops were delivered to these job seekers. The focus was on delivering career education and job readiness workshops for these individuals.
The second year, 2018, there was a mentorship initiative. A job seeker with a disability was paired with a mentor (a professional with valuable work experience). Over a span of six months, there was tremendous success achieved with this initiative. Many mentees developed their leadership and advocacy skills. This mentorship initiative truly built their confidence to pursue their career goals. Despite these successes, though, mentees still encountered challenges when seeking employment support from employment agencies and employers. The data collected from this initiative highlighted the lack of training and education for employment agencies staff on how to accommodate and support a jobseeker with a disability, and also the lack of training and education for employers on how to recruit, hire, and accommodate persons with disabilities in the Canadian workforce.
Based on the data retrieved from participant feedback, The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Toronto Chapter, determined that it was imperative to take our employment training to the Employment Agencies and Employers. In June 2019, The City of Toronto granted The AEBC Toronto Chapter a six-month extension to carry out this third phase of The Inclusive Employment Advocacy Project which is called The Disability Advantage Program. The purpose of this new phase of the project is to train employment agencys to support and accommodate jobseekers with disabilities and to train employers how to recruit, hire and work with employees with disabilities. The three goals for these workshops are: to dispel misconceptions about hiring or working with people with disabilities, demonstrate the benefits of welcoming people with different disabilities in the workplace and business, and provide tips and tools for engaging and working with people with disabilities.
From July to December 2019, The AEBC Toronto Chapter implemented and executed the Disability Advantage Training Program. In the project plan, there were several key deliverables and milestones that were outlined for this strategic initiative. To learn more about the details and success of this project, please watch this video, featuring Minette Samaroo, Toronto Chapter President, and download the final report.