2. SITUATIONAL OVERVIEW

Document Sample
2. SITUATIONAL OVERVIEW Powered By Docstoc
					          An Initiative of the Minister’s Council
          on Employment for Persons with Disabilities




  Recruitment and Retention of
  Persons with Disabilities in
  British Columbia Research Project
         Final Research & Validation Report




FINAL REPORT
Recruitment and Retention of Persons with Disabilities
        in British Columbia Research Project


       FINAL RESEARCH & VALIDATION REPORT




        Prepared by WCG International Consultants Ltd.

                            In partnership with:

                       Human Capital Strategies

                         Sorensen & Associates

                                Spark Group



  Prepared for the Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities

              and the British Columbia Ministry of Human Resources




                            November 15, 2004
  RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                                          CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.............................................................................................................. i
1. PURPOSE AND INTRODUCTION........................................................................................ 1
2. SITUATIONAL OVERVIEW ................................................................................................... 5
   2.1 ECONOMIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC CONTEXT ...................................................... 5
   2.2 THE BC LABOUR MARKET ................................................................................. 10
   2.3 PROFILE OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN THE BC WORKFORCE ....... 18
3. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY ................................................................. 23
   3.1 PROJECT RESEARCH OBJECTIVES ................................................................. 23
   3.2 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY ...................................................... 23
   3.3 VALIDATION PROCESS ....................................................................................... 32
4. VALIDATED RESEARCH FINDINGS ................................................................................ 34
   4.1 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................... 34
   4.2 KEY INFORMANT INTERVIEWS .......................................................................... 53
   4.3 EMPLOYER SURVEY ............................................................................................ 64
   4.4 CASE STUDIES ..................................................................................................... 86
   4.5 FOCUS GROUPS ................................................................................................. 107
5. ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION .............................................................................. 119
   5.1 THE RATIONALE FOR PROVIDING SUPPORT ................................................ 119
   5.2 THE BARRIERS ................................................................................................... 120
   5.3 THE SOLUTIONS ................................................................................................. 123
   5.4 THE HANDBOOK ................................................................................................ 127
6. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS............................................................... 130
   6.1 CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................... 130
   6.2 RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................ 135
APPENDICES ........................................................................................................................... 147
APPENDIX 1 – EMPLOYER SURVEY QUESTIONAIRE (LONG VERSION) ............... 148
APPENDIX 2 – EMPLOYER SURVEY QUESTIONAIRE (SHORT VERSION)............. 163
APPENDIX 3 – MINISTER OF HUMAN RESOURCES LETTER OF SUPPORT ......... 169
APPENDIX 4 – WCG LETTER WITH EMPLOYER SURVEY .......................................... 171
APPENDIX 5 – KEY INFORMANT INTERVIEW QUESTIONS........................................ 173
APPENDIX 6 – CASE STUDY WORK PLAN ..................................................................... 177
APPENDIX 7 – RELIABILITY OF SURVEY FINDINGS .................................................... 181
APPENDIX 8 – VALIDATION FOCUS GROUP GUIDE .................................................... 184
APPENDIX 9 – LIST OF PROGRAMS AND SERVICES .................................................. 197
APPENDIX 10 – KEY INFORMANT INTERVIEWS ........................................................... 204
APPENDIX 11 – FOCUS GROUP PARTICIPANTS .......................................................... 236
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                               ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



WCG International and its partners on this project would like to thank the many
individuals and organizations that contributed to this Research and Validation Report.

Thanks to the 15 key informants representing various stakeholder groups who took the
time to be interviewed via telephone. They each provided valuable first-hand insight into
the challenges and opportunities of recruiting and retaining persons with disabilities.

Thanks to the seven organizations that were subjects of case studies for this project:

       Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (Fort St. John)
       New Ports Travel (Victoria)
       North Island College
       Scotiabank (Parksville)
       Thrifty Foods (Victoria)
       Universal Printing and Binding Ltd. (North Vancouver)
       Vancouver Island Health Authority


Thanks to the 520 individuals and organizations who responded to an employer
questionnaire survey, and thanks particularly to members of the BC Human Resources
Management Association for facilitating many responses.

Thanks to the 47 individual stakeholder representatives who participated in validation
focus group sessions in Kelowna, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.
These individuals reviewed the research findings and provided very useful feedback on
the research report and the handbook.

Timely feedback from members of the Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons
with Disabilities was invaluable.
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY



1.       Project Goals – Research and a Practical Handbook

A consortium of consultants led by WCG International Consultants Ltd. was retained by
the BC Ministry of Human Resources, in conjunction with the Minister’s Council on
Employment for Persons with Disabilities, to undertake a project to:

     •   Research, document and validate British Columbia employers’ experiences,
         approaches, challenges and best practices with respect to recruitment and
         retention of employees with disabilities; and
     •   Create a useful tool for BC employers to recruit and or accommodate persons
         with disabilities and to gain visibility with other employers regarding potential
         employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

This report describes an extensive amount of primary and secondary research on the
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities in BC. This research provides an
empirical basis for an Employer Handbook and a presentation at a major forum
sponsored by the Minister’s Council in Fall 2004. The project adds to a base of
Canadian and international research on the topic to contribute BC-specific data and
findings.


2.       Situational Overview – A Context of Growth and Opportunity

This report provides an overview of the economic, demographic and labour market
context of British Columbia, showing increased economic growth, an aging population,
declining population growth and continued economic restructuring towards a service
economy with growth in small business and self-employment.


The economic and labour market context includes more than one million new job
openings between 2003 and 2015, with computer-related services, construction, health
care, manufacturing, retail, tourism, and transportation sectors providing the largest
growth opportunities. A smaller 15-24 age cohort and increasing retirements, combined
with moderate inter-provincial migration, will mean a decreasing labour supply and more
opportunities for employers to hire and develop persons with disabilities and other
groups under-represented in the BC labour force.




                                                i
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




In 2001, almost one in seven persons in BC had a disability, or 530,130 in total. Of this
population, 290,880 persons with disabilities are of working age (15-64). In addition to
other demographics of this population, this report profiles the economic and labour force
status of persons with disabilities. While education levels are only marginally lower for
persons without disabilities, the most recent data shows persons with disabilities are far
more likely to be unemployed, under-employed or outside the labour force. Persons with
disabilities in BC were 250 percent more likely to be unemployed than those without
disabilities (21 percent versus six percent).


On the one hand, employers are becoming increasingly concerned about where they will
find the talent needed to grow their businesses. On the other hand, persons with
disabilities represent a large pool of motivated, talented people in BC. Without pre-
emptive action to bridge this opportunity, persons with disabilities will continue to be an
under-utilized labour supply.


3.      Research Design – Extensive Primary and Secondary Research

The primary objective of the research project was to deliver valuable information that can
be used to improve the employment of persons with disabilities in BC. It will also
produce a wealth of information and material to assist the Minister’s Council in fulfilling
its mandate.


The secondary research involved a comprehensive literature review and analysis of
existing data sources. More significantly, this project involved a robust amount of
quantitative and qualitative primary research, thus adding more BC-specific data to what
existed:

     1. A survey of over 500 representative British Columbia employers in all major
        sectors and regions;
     2. Interviewing 15 key informants from among knowledgeable employers,
        academics, government and other stakeholders;
     3. Seven employer case studies; and
     4. Focus groups of 47 key stakeholders in each of the five Ministry of Human
        Resources provincial regions, to present and validate the primary and secondary
        research findings.




                                                ii
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




4.        Validated Research Findings – Empirical Evidence of Barriers

4.1       Employer Survey – Over 500 Employers


A survey instrument was sent to 2,850 employers with a targeted completion of at least
500 responses. A sub-sample of the employers received the long form survey with over
60 questions and the remainder received the short form survey with 26 core questions,
which were a subset of the long form survey. The actual survey responses numbered
520, consisting of 224 long form completions with the remainder being short form
completions.


The key findings from the employer survey are:

      •   Awareness of disabilities is fairly high - On average, 69% of respondents said
          that there was a high level of awareness of disabilities among their managers.
      •   Majority of employers have no employees with disabilities - Only 31% of the
          businesses surveyed had any employees with disabilities, whereas over two-
          thirds of employers had no such employees.
      •   Communication and sight impairments were identified as the greatest
          barriers to work by 26% of employers, with mental health disabilities being the
          least cited (12%).
      •   Currently, only modest efforts are being made to reduce barriers. Few
          companies have disability management plans (10%) or workplace supports for
          persons with disabilities (22%). Some specific supports were used in more
          companies, such as flexible work hours (28%) and a friendly and encouraging
          work environment (33%).
      •   Funding is the most desired form of assistance. On the question of what
          assistance respondents would find helpful in hiring or retaining persons with
          disabilities, funding for training was the most popular response, with an average
          score of 27%, with funding for modifications to the workspace (26%) and an
          incentive/wage subsidy (25%) close behind.
      •   Respondents were most likely to believe that government programs should
          be responsible for providing assistance (38%), compared to 17% who
          believed that company programs should be responsible.
      •   Companies with employees with disabilities are more aware and have
          better support systems. As well, on the questions relating to support and
          barrier reduction, those companies scored between 5 and 36 percentage points
          higher.


                                              iii
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




      •   The Vancouver Island and Vancouver Coastal regions have the most
          workplace supports; the Interior has the fewest. Thirty percent of respondents
          from the Vancouver Island region indicated that they had workplace supports,
          compared to 17% for respondents from the Interior. Twenty-five percent of
          Vancouver region respondents indicated that they had a disability management
          plan, compared to less than 10% for respondents from the Interior.


4.2       Key Informant Interviews – 15 Stakeholder Representatives

Fifteen key informant interviews were conducted for this project, including persons with
disabilities, employer representatives, service provider and education representatives,
and government representatives. Interviews were conducted by telephone with the
exception of a student with a hearing impairment who responded via electronic mail and
with the assistance of her father.


Most interviewees agreed that there is a greater societal awareness of persons with
disabilities in the workforce. Most also believed that there was a greater awareness and
acceptance of hiring persons with disabilities among employers but that this did not
always translate into action or behavioural change. Employer interviewees themselves
observed that some of the increased involvement with persons with disabilities was due
to corporate requirements regarding federal legislation and employers’ duty to
accommodate.


The most important barriers or challenges identified by employer interviewees were:

      •   Cost of worksite accommodations, particularly physical accommodations;
      •   Lack of awareness or capacity to know where to start and how to recruit and
          support persons with disabilities;
      •   Fear of the unknown and fear of hiring a person with a disability;
      •   The challenge of hiring persons with disabilities when a company is under
          competitive pressure and needs new hires to “hit the ground running;” and
      •   Sourcing/finding persons with disabilities to actively recruit.


Other interviewees corroborated some of what the employer interviewees emphasized,
but added a few key themes including: employer assumptions and misunderstandings
about persons with disabilities in the workplace; and the isolation persons with
disabilities can experience in the workplace, limiting their retention.




                                                iv
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Most employers interviewed had direct experience with workplace accommodations and
costs. The larger ones recognized that many accommodations are not costly but they
also pointed to examples where costs for worksite modifications were significant, but
cost-effective. Other interviewees stressed that many accommodations were relatively
inexpensive and that many employers do not know what is possible or available.


Employer interviewees with larger companies had significant experience with return-to-
work issues. These interviewees also pointed to good examples of injured workers who
have been retrained and re-employed; and a disability management interviewee cited
the example of Weyerhaeuser who reduced long-term disability claim duration by 40% in
2003.


Employer interviewees offered some critical success factors including the following: treat
everyone with respect; acknowledge the disability; ensure supervisors are brought into
the fold; attend job forums/fairs; use affinity groups to help support each other and raise
awareness; build relationships with agencies serving persons with disabilities in the
community and nationally; and showcase accessibility technology.


Interviewees also suggested important factors for disability management and return-to-
work programs: focus on the best candidate - not the disability; strong leadership
support (i.e. CEO) - message that it makes good business sense; develop strong
relationships with agencies serving persons with disabilities; provide resources/tool kits
for managers; and demonstrate leadership from the top.


Regarding matching of persons with disabilities with appropriate employment
opportunities, employer interviewees had no simple solutions in response to this
question, but offered the following suggestions:

   •    A low level of knowledge of relevant government programs among the business
        sector and the need for better marketing of these programs;
   •    A disconnect among agencies serving persons with disabilities on what the real
        work culture is like, thus the need for education on the agency side in addition to
        education on the employer side; and
   •    When persons with disabilities groups approach businesses, they need to
        present a strong cost-benefit rationale and a good business case.


In terms of government assistance programs/services/incentives that would help
employers recruit and retain persons with disabilities, employers suggested tax credits


                                              v
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




for hiring persons with disabilities, tax credits or other incentives for making a workplace
more accessible, and increasing awareness among employers about existing
government programs in this area. Interviewees had many good suggestions for an
Employer Handbook, and provided suggestions on important reports, candidates for
case studies and employer champions.


4.3       Case Studies – Seven Companies

As part of the research project, the consortium conducted a number of employer case
studies. The purpose of the case studies was to identify and document successful
employment or return-to-work situations from a variety of employers throughout the
province.


Seven case studies were conducted through site visits or through telephone interviews.
For some employers, a single interview was all that was required. For others, several
visits were made to talk to company owners, human resources staff, managers and
employees themselves.


Background information on the company was collected at the start of the interviews,
followed by a number of questions around employment practices in general, the
recruitment of employees with disabilities, return-to-work practices for existing
employees and general advice to other employers. In addition, employers were asked to
supply copies of checklists, forms, processes and other materials used to facilitate their
work.


The case studies have provided some interesting information, including the following
themes:


      •   Sourcing/finding persons with disabilities was challenging for some employers
          even if they wanted to hire someone with a disability;
      •   For smaller employers in particular, cost is a major driver;
      •   Familiarity with people with disabilities is a key factor in opening doors (i.e. if an
          employer has had some experience with people with disabilities, they are more
          likely to be open to hiring people with disabilities);
      •   Connecting with disability organizations is a good way to raise awareness for
          employers;
      •   Helping people with disabilities understand the career options open to them at an
          early age so that they can undergo appropriate training is important;


                                                 vi
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




      •   Some industries rely heavily upon subcontractors and thus have no direct input
          into hiring or retention policies for many of their employees;
      •   Mental health and mental disability issues are becoming more prominent,
          perhaps due in part to an aging workforce and also the increased “legitimacy”
          and understanding around these issues; and
      •   Employers may find that working together with other employers or industry
          groups can provide them with additional expertise and support.


Also, a number of case studies themes related to disability management and return-to-
work programs:


      •   Most employers interviewed did not have formal processes in place around
          recruitment or return-to-work;
      •   For some employers, their insurance providers are a major source of information
          and resources around the return-to-work and disability management processes;
      •   For unionized environments, involving the unions in the return-to-work process is
          essential as creative solutions are often required that may not be covered in
          collective agreements;
      •   Injury prevention programs are helpful in reducing disability claims and should be
          part of a disability management program; and
      •   Early intervention is a key step in successful return-to-work programs.


4.4       Literature Review – Over 100 Recent Publications

A comprehensive literature review identified the top barriers to employment for persons
with disabilities, including the following:

      •   Negative attitudes, false assumptions, myths and misperceptions about persons
          with disabilities held by employers, managers and supervisors and other
          employees;
      •   A lack of awareness about persons with disabilities and available resources
          among employers and others;
      •   Lack of access to education and workplace training and adequate job skills and
          work experience of persons with disabilities;
      •   Inadequate workplace accessibility, accommodation, and employment supports
          for persons with disabilities; and
      •   A lack of widespread use of disability management and return-to-work programs.




                                               vii
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Some of the underlying causes behind these barriers were found to be:

      •   Entry-level positions that are primarily outsourced to other organizations;
      •   A lack of job applications from people with disabilities;
      •   People with disabilities who do not want to self-identify;
      •   Those persons with disabilities who apply often do not have the qualifications
          sought;
      •   Some union resistance to innovative job accommodation measures;
      •   Priority being placed on other target groups (e.g. Aboriginal people);
      •   Workforce reduction where priority is on laid-off workers; and
      •   Competitive industries needing full productivity from all workers from the outset.

A review of the literature also found many critical success factors and best practices for
maximizing the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities. Additionally,
several national and provincial non-profit organizations that provide persons with
disabilities employment services, programs and research were identified.


4.5       Validation Focus Groups – 47 Informed Stakeholders

Focus groups were held in each of the five BC Ministry of Human Resources regions to
validate the results from the project research and employer survey, as well as to provide
additional information with respect to employment issues for persons with disabilities.


A total of 47 individuals participated in the focus groups. Most participants represented
organizations that provide services to a range of persons with disabilities, while about 28
percent of participants represented employers or were themselves persons with
disabilities.


Two key barriers permeated discussions during the focus groups: employer attitudes
and employer lack of awareness on disability issues.


Fear of persons with disabilities was identified as a key reason why employers choose
not to hire persons with disabilities. Additionally, employers’ lack of knowledge on
disability issues emerged as a key theme in the focus groups. Employers are not sure
what to expect if they hire a person with a disability, so they do not. Additionally,
employers’ lack knowledge on duty to accommodate issues and on how to set up a
structured program in hiring persons with disabilities, according to focus group




                                               viii
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




participants. As one participant put it, “small employers may not know what they do not
know.”


Specific training for employers about disabilities was identified throughout the focus
groups as keenly important. It was noted that strategies for making it easier to recruit
and retain persons with disabilities are needed more urgently by small businesses than
by larger employers.


A lack of coordinated support services for both employers and persons with disabilities
was identified as a key barrier to successful recruitment and retention. Focus group
participants consistently stated that providing one-stop shopping (1-800 service) for
information/resources for both employers and potential employees would be an excellent
solution.

Focus group participants expressed that employers lack the economic resources to
successfully recruit and retain persons with disabilities, and the lack of incentives for
employers to do so is a major barrier. Focus group participants stated that it is essential
to make the business case to employers. A cost-benefit analysis must be provided to
employers to demonstrate the long-term benefit of hiring a person with a disability.


A common perception in the focus groups was that the need for today’s workers to
“multi-task” and juggle multiple roles presents a significant barrier to successful
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities. It was expressed in the focus
groups that, in some situations, it is not simply possible for some persons with
disabilities to multi-task and handle multiple roles. A common message was that flexible
and appropriate jobs need to be created for persons with disabilities, with consideration
given to part-time jobs, job sharing and job carving.

Focus group participants consistently expressed that awareness, promotion and
advertising were a key solution to improving the recruitment and retention of persons
with disabilities. A common suggestion was to create an awareness campaign around
“abilities” with the goal being to educate employers and the general community to the
abilities of persons with disabilities. Using champions/model employers to raise the
likelihood of other employers participating was suggested. Providing recognition/awards
to showcase successful and supportive employers was also recommended. Employer
networks can be used to spread the message, as having employer-to-employer
messaging was perceived as a good strategy to encourage employers to buy into the
concept of hiring and retaining persons with disabilities.



                                              ix
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Focus group participants also emphasized soft skills and job readiness/pre-employment
training and support for persons with disabilities as a key solution to successful
recruitment and retention.

Focus group participants emphasized that while an employer handbook is needed it is
only part of a solution. Participants emphasized that a handbook alone is not enough to
successfully address attitudes and ignorance. Participants urged that the handbook be
kept short, practical and current. It was felt that a handbook would be both a useful and
symbolically important tool that would help employers enhance their efforts in the
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities.

It was also suggested that the handbook needed to include case studies of successful
recruitment and retention practices. The handbook must include a list of resources for
employers, and should include contacts in the community. A 1-800 line for employers to
call for assistance would be very useful.

Interest must be sparked so that employers will actually use the handbook. A suggestion
in this regard was that the handbook launch should include training for employers. It was
emphasized that the handbook should not simply be printed and handed out. One
suggestion was that service providers could distribute the handbook as part of their
promotional packages.


The visual on the next page summarizes the key findings of this project, which have
been confirmed by a number of research methods and validated by focus groups.




                                             x
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                           xi
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




5.        Conclusion and Recommendations – A Menu for Action


5.1       Conclusions


The key conclusions arising from this project’s secondary research, primary research
and validation of research findings revolve around the following themes:


      1. The need for attitudinal change and awareness-raising among employers;
      2. The need for more effective practices among employers and managers;
      3. The need for better information and coordination of services for employers; and
      4. The need for more supports for and awareness among persons with disabilities.


Employer Attitudes and Awareness


      •   A “fear of the unknown” possessed by many employers of persons with
          disabilities in terms of legal risks, not understanding disabilities, not knowing how
          to treat persons with disabilities, etc.;
      •   The lack of awareness of disability issues among employers, managers/
          supervisors and other employees;
      •   Myths and perceptions about the abilities and challenges and costs of employing
          persons with disabilities held by employers; and
      •   The lack of awareness of ways to accommodate persons with disabilities in the
          workplace, including some simple and or cost-effective methods.


Employer Practices


      •   The need for employers and people who hire to focus on the individual and the
          abilities of persons with disabilities – not the disability;
      •   The lack of a strong business case used in promoting the employment of persons
          with disabilities;
      •   Many of the principles and effective practices for recruiting and retaining persons
          with disabilities are the same for individuals without disabilities – they make good
          business and reflect good human resource or “people” practices;
      •   The greater difficulty facing small business in employing persons with disabilities;
      •   An interest in incentives for employers hiring persons with disabilities and for
          funding workplace accommodations; and




                                                  xii
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Lack of use of effective disability management and return-to-work programs,
       particularly among small business and non-union organizations outside primary
       sectors.


Information and Coordination


   •   Inadequate information on and employment tools related to disability-specific
       barriers;
   •   The need to improve the matching of service providers and persons with
       disabilities seeking employment with employers and business and industry
       associations;
   •   The lack of adequate coordination among persons with disabilities service
       providers and inadequate mechanisms for interface between them and
       employers and industry and business groups;
   •   The need for a central source of information and resources to help employers
       recruit and retain persons with disabilities;
   •   The fact that an employer handbook with the appropriate content, format, etc.
       could be part of the solution of assisting employers to recruit and retain persons
       with disabilities; and that it needs to be part of a larger marketing program and
       awareness-building campaign; and
   •   The need for a “segmented” approach in providing assistance to employers who
       want to recruit and retain persons with disabilities in terms of providing support to
       small and large employers, employers in different sectors, and employers in
       different regions in BC.


Persons with Disabilities


   •   The social isolation of employees with disabilities in the workplace and how this
       significantly affects retention rates;
   •   The lack of effective on-going workplace support for employees with disabilities;
   •   The need for access to relevant job skill and workplace based training for
       persons with disabilities; and
   •   The need for persons with disabilities to better understand employer
       expectations, working conditions and labour market realities.


In summary, all research points to the fact that persons with disabilities represent a
large, growing and as yet untapped pool of talent. In Business Case for Accessibility, the



                                                xiii
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health,
summarized the human resource potential in this way:


       “For far too many years, people with disabilities have been ignored in the
       marketplace. Yet this significant segment of the population is made up of
       many dedicated and talented people with much-needed abilities that have
       so far been under-utilized in the work environment. Additionally, people
       with disabilities consist of a group that has been neglected by the
       consumer market, although its purchasing power – and the secondary
       market that it influences – is large and growing” (Wilkerson, 2001).


The research undertaken in this project shows a clear business case for hiring persons
with disabilities: an expanded talent pool for employers, employment for persons with
disabilities and a growing consumer market.


       Expanded Talent Pool
       Employers in British Columbia need skilled employees to fill positions that keep
       their businesses competitive in local, provincial, national and global markets.
       With the number of labour force entrants expected to decline, employers cannot
       continue to ignore any untapped pool of talent.


       Employment for Persons with Disabilities
       Persons with disabilities continue to struggle to share in the social and economic
       mainstream of society. Individuals, employers and governments are all impacted
       by the costs that result from unacceptable unemployment rates and wasted
       human potential amongst persons with disabilities.


       Growing Consumer Market
       In Canada, the spending power of persons with disabilities is now estimated to
       be about $25 billion, and they also influence the spending decisions of friends
       and families and, in doing so, at least double their economic reach. Companies
       that recognize the value of reflecting the characteristics of their consumers within
       their workplaces will reap the benefits in productivity and sales.




                                            xiv
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




5.2      Recommendations


Based on the findings and conclusions of this report, the researchers offer the following
recommendations to the BC Ministry of Human Resources and Minister’s Council on
Employment for Persons with Disabilities for improving the recruitment and retention of
persons with disabilities in BC.


Recommendations to Support Employers


      1. Incentives for employers who hire persons with disabilities, and who purchase
         equipment and or provide accommodations, including more financial incentives
         for employers through the form of tax credits – without financial incentives it is
         unlikely that many employers will make the extra effort.

      2. There is a clear need for a strong business case for employers to hire persons
         with disabilities. A cost benefit analysis must be performed and provided to
         demonstrate the long-term benefit of hiring a person with a disability.

      3. It is important to use employer networks to spread the message and to promote
         the concept of hiring and retaining persons with disabilities.

      4. Awareness training for employers, managers/supervisors/employees needs to
         be promoted and made more readily available.

      5. One-stop shopping for information/resources for both employers and
         potential employees could be an excellent solution (e.g. a common website or a
         1-800 number).

      6. An awareness campaign is needed around “abilities” with the goal being to
         educate employers and the general community to the abilities of persons with
         disabilities.

      7. Stakeholders, including employers, noted a lack of communication between
         employers/industry groups and service providers/persons with disabilities (job
         seekers). In order to resolve this situation and improve the matching of supply
         and demand, government, business networks and service provider umbrella
         groups should become more involved in the process.




                                              xv
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Recommendations to Support Persons with Disabilities Service Providers


   1. Better coordination of services offered by service providers, educators and
       trainers and government programs directed at supporting the employment of
       persons with disabilities.

   2. Training is needed for employment service agencies and organizations of
       persons with disabilities on business needs.


Recommendations to Support Persons with Disabilities


   1. Programs that provide pre-employment soft skills and job readiness/pre-
       employment training and support for persons with disabilities need to be readily
       available.

   2. A labour market/employment resource package could be developed for
       persons with disabilities to raise their awareness and readiness for new
       workplaces. This would be made available through service providers.

   3. Persons with disabilities need greater access to workplace based training
       programs, both before and during employment.

   4. Special effort is needed in promoting workplace supports.

   5. Flexible and appropriate jobs need to be created for persons with disabilities,
       with consideration given to part-time jobs, job sharing and job carving.




                                           xvi
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




1.       PURPOSE AND INTRODUCTION

WCG International Consultants Ltd. was retained by the BC Ministry of Human
Resources, in conjunction with the Ministers’ Council on Employment for Persons with
Disabilities, to undertake a project that would:


     •   Phase I - Research and document British Columbia employers’ experiences,
         approaches, challenges and best practices with respect to recruitment and
         retention of employees with disabilities; and
     •   Phase II - Create a useful tool for British Columbia employers to recruit and/or
         accommodate persons with disabilities and to gain visibility with other employers
         regarding potential employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.


This work will result in substantial value to all stakeholders as well as the Minister’s
Council and the Ministry, including:


     •   A better understanding of the extent of the problems faced by people with
         disabilities;
     •   Valuable research data that may also be used in other Ministry initiatives;
     •   The identification of priority issues for employers;
     •   A better understanding of other issues that may or may not be understood
         currently;
     •   Increased awareness among employers regarding the options available to them
         in addressing issues;
     •   The identification of leaders in the area of employment of persons with
         disabilities; and
     •   Practical tools, resources and information for employers and organizations that
         work with employers to enhance the recruitment and retention of persons with
         disabilities.


This document is a synthesis of the results of Phase I of this project on the recruitment
and retention of persons with disabilities in British Columbia. It combines the findings
from primary and secondary research activities completed by WCG International
Consultants Ltd. and its consortium partners.


Most importantly, this research report provides the empirical basis on which Phases II
and III of the project will be completed, particularly the development of an Employer



                                               1
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Handbook and a presentation for a major forum sponsored by the Minister’s Council in
Fall 2004.


The primary and secondary research undertaken was intended to focus on research
questions most relevant to the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities in
employment; it does not cover other issues that, while important to persons with
disabilities, are secondary to this topic.


Although persons with disabilities in British Columbia have greater access to technology,
education and employment-related resources than they previously did, the evidence
shows that they continue to experience relatively high levels of unemployment and
relatively low levels of labour force participation. Further, the number of British
Columbians receiving disability assistance and disability-related pensions has increased
significantly over the last decade.


Technology advances, assistive devices, workplace accommodation, support programs
and other measures can dramatically increase access and improve retention in
employment and training by persons with disabilities. However, often more challenging
than the disability itself are attitudinal barriers throughout our society and among
employers and other labour market partners. Myths, misconceptions, stereotypes,
assumptions and discrimination mean that persons with disabilities are not perceived or
treated in the same way for employment as most other labour force participants.


There are many examples of employers who see the business case for hiring and
developing persons with disabilities. These employers make every effort to be aware of -
and to educate supervisors and employees about - disability issues in order to ensure
that necessary recruitment, accommodation, training, retention and supports are used to
“tap the talent of persons with disabilities.”


Before reporting on the results of the project research, this document starts by putting
the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities in context.


An overview of the situational context includes the British Columbia economic and
demographic context, the British Columbia labour market and persons with disabilities’
participation in the British Columbia labour workforce. Also, a description of the project
research design and methodology is provided.




                                                 2
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




The central part of this report is the description of research findings. This section is
organized according to each primary and secondary research method, starting with the
results of a literature review. The section concludes with a description of the process and
the results of validation of the research findings.


After an analysis and interpretation section, the report ends with key conclusions and
recommendations, particularly as they relate to: a) the development of an Employer
Handbook; b) further research; and c) other relevant topics.


A comprehensives bibliography or reference section is provided, along with several
appendices containing specific research instruments and research methodology
information.


The Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act defines a person with
disabilities as a person who is at least 18 years of age, with a severe physical or mental
impairment, that is expected to continue for at least two years, and who:


   •   Is significantly restricted in his or her ability to perform daily living activities; and,
   •   Requires assistance with daily living activities from another person, an assistive
       device or an assistance animal.


The criteria specifically includes:


   •   Individuals with mental health disorders; and,
   •   Individuals with episodic illnesses by acknowledging that restrictions to daily
       living activities can be continuous or periodic for extended periods.


This is consistent with Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) and other
Canadian definitions:


       “A person with disabilities is a person with a physical or mental
       impairment who is significantly restricted in his or her ability to perform
       daily living activities either ‘continuously or periodically for extended
       periods’ and, as a result of these restrictions, requires assistance with
       daily living activities. Assistance could come from another person, an
       assistance animal or an assistive device.”




                                                3
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




In the context of persons with disabilities in the British Columbia labour force and
seeking or maintaining employment, a more specific working definition can be used,
such as one referred to in R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. (2003):


          “Persons with disabilities are those who regard themselves or believe that
          an employer would likely consider them disadvantaged by reason of any
          persistent physical, mental, psychiatric, and learning or dexterity
          impairment. The condition must be the primary barrier to finding and
          maintaining employment.”


The central goal of the Minister’s Council is “to advise the Minister of Human Resources
on solutions and strategies for increasing the employment, employability and
independence of persons with disabilities, particularly through partnerships with
business and industry throughout British Columbia.”1


The outputs of the three phases of this project will assist the Minister’s Council to reach
or at least move closer to this ultimate goal.




1
 Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities. Annual Report: 2003 – 2004. Victoria, BC,
2004.


                                                    4
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




2.        SITUATIONAL OVERVIEW

2.1       ECONOMIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC CONTEXT


Current Overview


The North American economy benefited from the recovery of the U.S. economy in 2003.
Overall, the U.S. economy grew 3.1% in 2003, up from 2.2% in 2002. In addition, tax
cuts and tax rebates helped spur consumer spending. The consensus forecast calls for
real GDP growth of 4.6% in 2004 and somewhat lower growth of 3.6% in 2005 as some
U.S. tax cuts expire and the Federal Reserve begins to raise interest rates2.


Following growth of 2.4% in 2002, the Ministry of Finance estimates that the British
Columbia economy grew 1.5% in 2003. This is lower than last year's budget forecast of
2.4%, as British Columbia and other Canadian provinces were hit by a number of
external shocks in 2003. These included the rapid rise in the Canadian dollar, the SARS
outbreak, forest fires, floods and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).


Employment in British Columbia was approximately 2 million persons in 2003, up 2.5%
from the previous year - a gain of almost 50,000 jobs. The jobs created in British
Columbia in 2003 were almost all full-time, with part-time employment also posting a
small gain over the year. Job growth in British Columbia was broadly based with
employment in both the goods and services sectors expanding in 2003. The
unemployment rate averaged 8.1% in 2003, down from 8.5% in 2002, as employment
gains outweighed the annual growth in the labour force.


Current provincial population growth rate is well below the historical norm. As shown in
Chart 2-1, British Columbia’s population growth has recently been the lowest in the last
few decades.




2
 http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/bfp/BudgetFiscalPlan.pdf; Part 3: BRITISH COLUMBIA ECONOMIC
REVIEW AND OUTLOOK1


                                               5
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                                           C h a r t 2 -1
                                B r itis h C o lu m b ia P o p u la tio n G r o w th 1 9 8 0 -2 0 0 3
      3 .0 %




      2 .0 %




      1 .0 %




      0 .0 %
                       1 9 8 0 -1 9 8 9            1 9 9 0 -1 9 9 5          1 9 9 6 -2 0 0 0            2 0 0 1 -2 0 0 3

                   3
Source: BC Stats



Outlook


As shown in Chart 2-2, British Columbia’s economy is expected to show robust growth
over the next several years with real GDP forecasted to grow 2.8% in 2004 and 3.1% in
2005. From 2006 to 2008, the British Columbia economy is projected to grow about
3.1% per year. Provincial employment is forecasted to grow at a moderate rate of 1.8%,
or about 36,000 new jobs in both 2004 and 2005.


                                                        Chart 2-2
                                           British Columbia Economic Outlook
                                                          % Annual Growth                               Real GDP Growth
                                                                                                        Employment
      3.5
        3
      2.5
        2
      1.5
        1
      0.5
        0
                 2003                     2004             2005            2006                 2007              2008


Sources: BC Ministry of Finance, 2004/2005 Estimates



Table 2.1 below shows projections for other selected demographic and economic
indicators. Stronger economic growth is forecast to increase net in-migration from

3
    http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/data/pop/popstart.htm; Population and Demographics


                                                                      6
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




26,000 in 2003 to about 40,000 in 2007 and 2008. Consequently, British Columbia’s
population is expected to pick up momentum, rising from an annual growth rate of 0.8%
in 2003 to 1.1% for 2006 and beyond. It may be noted that even this increased
population growth rate is significantly below the historical population growth rates for the
province of 2% and over in the past decades.


Over the forecast horizon, the labour force growth is predominantly driven by increase in
labour force age population, 15+ years of age and a slight continuing increase in labour
force participation rate. Labour force is projected to grow at a moderate pace of 1.6 to
1.7% per annum to 2008, slightly below the growth rate of employment.
Correspondingly, the unemployment rate is forecast to continue on a slight declining
trend. In 2004, the average unemployment rate is forecast at 7.9%, falling to 7.7% in
2005.


Table 2.1 British Columbia Economic and Demographic Forecasts*


                                                         Percent Annual Change**
Indicator
                                                         2003       2004   2005   2006   2007   2008
Real GDP                                                     1.5    2.8    3.1    3.1    3.1    3.0
Population                                                   0.8    0.9    1.0    1.1    1.1    1.1
Labour Force Population, 15+ Years                           1.2    1.4    1.5    1.5    1.5    1.4
Net-In-Migration (‘000)                                      26      32     34     38     39     41
Participation Rate (%)                                       65.4   65.5   65.6   65.6   65.8   65.9
Labour Force                                                 2.1    1.6    1.6    1.6    1.7    1.6
Employment                                                   2.5    1.8    1.8    1.9    1.9    1.9
Unemployment Rate                                            8.1    7.9    7.7    7.5    7.2    7.1
Inflation Rate                                               2.1    1.6    1.9    2.0    2.0    2.0
* Source: Ministry of Finance and BC Stats

** Percent annual change except where otherwise stated



The above economic and demographic trends should lead to moderately improved
labour market environment and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.




                                                         7
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                                Chart 2-3
                             Contribution to Provincial GDP by Sector, 2002


                                     0%                   10%                  20%                         30%

           Accommodation and Food
                 Services
                                          3.3%


          Professional, Scientific and
              Technical Services
                                            4.3%


                         Construction        5.0%


                Public Administration            5.3%


     Transportation and Warehousing               5.8%


                 Resource Industries               6.4%


         Wholesale and Retail Trade                                 11.5%


                       Manufacturing                                11.7%


       Health and Education Services                                 12.1%


    Finance & Insurance, Real Estate,
           Management, etc.
                                                                                          23.2%


                                             4
Source: British Columbia Economic Accounts



British Columbia Economic Structure


Over the past decades, the structure of British Columbia has evolved to become
dominantly a service economy. In 2002, goods-producing sectors – all of resource
industries, manufacturing and construction - constituted less than a quarter (23.1%) of
the British Columbia economy. The entire goods-producing sector was approximately
equal to the largest service sector, finance/insurance and real estate services.




4
    http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/data/bus_stat/bcea/BCEAInd.htm; BC GDP by Industry - NAICS Aggregations


                                                                8
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Other important sectors of the economy include health and education (12.1%),
wholesale and retail trade (11.5%), transportation, public administration, professional
and technical business services and hospitality industry.


Another noteworthy structural characteristic of the British Columbia economy is the
predominance of small business establishments. More than eight out of every ten
establishments were small businesses with less than 20 employees.


Chart 2-4 shows the increase in business establishments over the five-year period from
1998-2003. In 2003, there were approximately 332,000 establishments in British
Columbia in all industries, up by 27% from 1998. Self-employment or business
establishments with no employees numbered approximately 174,000 and constituted
approximately one-half (52%) of all establishments. These businesses increased by a
dramatic 62% since 1998.

                                                 Chart 2-4
                              Growth of British Columbia Businesses by Size
                                  0 Employees                        1 to 19 Employees
                                  20 to 49 Employees                 50 + Employees
              Index
         (1998=100)
        170


        160


        150


        140


        130


        120


        110


        100


         90
                       1998         1999       2000           2001          2002           2003



                   5
Source: BC Stats

5
 http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/data/bus_stat/busind/sm_bus.htm; Small Business Profile 2003: A Profile of
Small Business in British Columbia


                                                      9
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Excluding establishments with no employees, there were about 158,000 establishments,
2.9% more than in 1998. Although larger establishments in the province (50 or more
employees) are heavily outnumbered by small business, they expanded much faster
over the last six years. Since 1998, 30% more larger establishments entered into
business, while only 2% more small and medium-sized establishments were created in
the province.


2.2    THE BRITISH COLUMBIA LABOUR MARKET


       “Companies are no longer looking primarily for employees…but instead
       talent.” (William Bridges, author of JobShift).


       “There is going to be a real fight among nations for the best human
       capital.” (Donald Johnston, Secretary-General, OECD).


This section provides a high-level summary of labour market supply, demand and gaps
in British Columbia, with particular focus on the next 10 years.


Labour Supply


In addition to the drivers mentioned in the previous section, some major factors on the
labour supply are highlighted below, including sources of population growth, aging of the
workforce, increasing educational requirements and the under-utilization of certain
labour force groups. Chart 2-5 shows that while the birthrate in British Columbia will
continue to decline, inter-provincial migration to British Columbia will increase and then
level off, and international immigration will represent almost all net population growth.




                                             10
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                                      Chart 2-5

                        Components of Population Change, 1971/72 to 2030/31

               '000
       120

                                                                     Projected
       100


          80


          60


          40


          20


           0


          -20
             1971-    1976-   1981-   1986- 1991-    1996-   2001-   2006-   2011-   2016-   2021-   2026-
              72       77      82      87    92       97      02      07      12      17      22      27


      Source: BC Stats         Net Interprovincial     Net International     Natural Increase



Another big demographic factor on the labour supply side is the aging of the baby
boomer cohort and overall population. This trend will continue over the next few
decades. Chart 2-6 shows that the number of workers leaving the workforce (55-64 year-
olds) will outnumber the amount of young people entering the labour market for the first
time in our history.

                                               Chart 2-6
                                        Population Growth in BC

   Thousands                                                                         Age 15 to 24
    900                                                                              Age 55-64
    800
    700
    600
    500
    400
    300
    200
    100
      0
               1986 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006 2010 2014 2018 2022 2026




                                                             11
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Another major trend in the British Columbia labour market is the increasing proportion of
jobs that require some degree of post-secondary education or formal job training. Roslyn
Kunin & Associates (2003a) projects that 72% of new jobs to 2015 will require a
university degree and formal job training or apprenticeship credential. This demonstrates
that learning matters in the British Columbia labour market.


There is a direct correlation between job growth rates and the amount of education and
training required in future career opportunities. Education or skill-intensive jobs are more
likely to grow significantly than other occupational categories.


                                           Chart 2-7
                           Educational Requirements for BC Jobs



                                                       Some High
                                                        School
                 Other Post                              13% High School
                 Secondary                                     Completion
                   43%                                           15%


                                                       University
                                                         29%




In this context of increasing pressures on the supply of human resources in British
Columbia, potential labour shortages are juxtaposed with higher than average
unemployment rates and tremendous under-utilization of members of certain labour
force groups, including Aboriginal people, immigrants and visible minorities, women and
persons with disabilities. A recent story in Canadian Business estimated that these
groups account for approximately 10 million Canadian labour force participants and
suggested that employers who leave these human resources out of their recruitment
pool are eliminating 60% of available labour.




                                             12
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Labour Demand


In addition to increasing concerns about shortages of skilled labour in many industry
sectors (e.g. construction, tourism and health care) over the last few years, labour
economists project significant new job openings over the next 10 years. In part this is
stimulated by a booming residential construction market, major infrastructure projects,
and 2010 Olympic and Paralympic related construction. Roslyn Kunin and Associates
(2010a) estimates over 1 million new job opportunities to 2015. Tourism, construction,
retail, health care, and transportation will offer the most job opportunities over this
period.


Based on the federal/provincial Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS)
estimates, the section below highlights key industry and occupational employment
growth areas (Ministry of Advanced Education, March 2003).




                                              13
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          14
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




One over-riding factor mentioned earlier is that all types of learning will be increasingly
critical to our economic and social well-being; it is not an “either-or” choice. In fact,
British Columbia’s job growth can be characterized as three fairly equal slices of a pie.
Management and professional job openings represent almost one-third of total openings
(32% or over 229,000). Technical and skilled job opportunities will increase by over
218,000 or 31% of total. Semi-skilled and labouring job openings will account for 36% of
total or almost 258,000 jobs.


Growth Industries


These occupational patterns are driven in a large part by where demand for goods and
services is growing and by older workforces in certain industries. The top British
Columbia industries for job openings over the next decade are retail (over 97,000),
accommodation, food and recreational services (over 84,000), health services (almost
78,000), manufacturing (over 53,000), construction (almost 47,000), and computer,
consulting and business services (over 45,000).

                                      Chart 2-8
                  Top 15 Industries by Openings from 2001 to 2011

                             Retail Trade                                                         97,425
        Accom odation, Food & Recreation                                                 84,300
                         Health Services                                              77,824
                           Manufacturing                                     55,029
                            Construction                               46,917
  Com puter, Consulting and Business Srv.                             45,195
                               Education                            40,391
                Transportation & Storage                           39,580
                        W holesale Trade                           39,269
        Finance, Insurance & Real Estate                           38,231
          Professional Business Services                   29,006
                Other Services Industries                 25,643
          Personal & Household Services              20,225
                    Public Adm inistration           20,192
                         Com m unication     9,328




Growth Occupations


One “occupation” with huge growth rates is self-employment. In its September 2003
Labour Force Survey report, Statistics Canada showed that between August 2002 and



                                                     15
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




August 2003, the self-employment growth of over 79,000 in Canada was larger than the
growth of any single industry category over the last year.



                                    Chart 2-9
                 Top 20 Occupations by Openings from 2001 to 2011

                     Retail Salesperson                                                 27,258
                      Retail Trade Mgrs                                      20,785
                               Cashiers                             14,463
                          Truck Drivers                             14,207
                     Registered Nurses                        12,017
                                 Cooks                        12,005
       Financial Auditors & Accountants                       11,964
           Computer Systems Analysts                       11,169
         Elem. & Kindergarten Teacher                    10,431
           Janitor & Building Supervisor                10,053
  Restaurant & Food Service Managers                    9,987
          Sales Reps. Wholesale Trade                 9,395
              Food & Beverage Servers                 9,362
               Computer Programmers                8,598
                 Administrative Officers           8,519
                 Nurse Aids & Orderlies            8,503
   Secretaries (Exc. Legal and Medical)         7,754
           Accounting & Related Clerks          7,739
           Secondary School Teachers          6,861
               Retail Trade Supervisors      6,586




Occupational “clusters” that will involve significant numbers of openings include the
following:


   •     Technology, including computer-related jobs – Openings in British
         Columbia’s technology-related jobs are projected to number almost 50,000 by
         2011.
   •     Management and supervisory jobs – These are projected to account for over
         122,000 job openings or over 17% of total future openings.
   •     Business/Finance/Administration – These mostly “white collar” and university-
         level jobs will account for over 130,000 openings, or almost 1 in 5 of total
         openings.


                                              16
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Trades-related jobs – Trades, transport and equipment operators in British
       Columbia will generate over 111,000 openings, or almost 1 in 6 job openings to
       2011. And this figure doesn’t include the earlier-mentioned three major
       construction projects or specialty trade categories, such as in residential
       construction.
   •   Sales and service jobs – These jobs will generate almost one-third of total
       openings with over 222,000 opportunities over the next decade, mostly in retail
       and other service industries.
   •   Health jobs – With nursing-related openings (almost 23,000) leading the way in
       British Columbia, health job opportunities are projected to reach almost 50,000
       by 2011.
   •   Tourism-related jobs – According to the British Columbia Tourism Human
       Resources Development Task Force, between 2000 and 2010 the tourism sector
       will generate over 568,000 openings.
   •   Natural, applied and social sciences, education and government – Most of
       these jobs require university education, and together they will generate almost
       104,000 job openings over the next decade.
   •   Arts and culture, sports and recreation – This smaller occupational cluster is
       expected to offer over 22,000 job opportunities to 2011, with a high average
       annual growth rate of 1.9% per year. 2010 will generate even further growth for
       this category.


Other Job Patterns


It is interesting to note the differences in the age of workforces in various industries, and
how this drives openings in certain industries and job categories. For example,
elementary and kindergarten school teachers numbered an estimated 31,387 in 2001,
and—no surprise due to demographics—new employment in this category is only
expected to grow by 0.2% annually or 609 positions to 2011. Total openings for the
category of education jobs are projected to be 10,431, with 9,823 created by retirements.


Another factor is associated with “growth-rate” – the average annual percentage growth
of new employment (as opposed to replacement jobs from retirements). Some job
categories are small in number but have very impressive growth rates. For example,
event planners numbered only about 1,200 people in 2001. However, it is expected to
grow at almost double the overall average annual rate, 1.4% to 2.6%, or 559 openings
by 2011.



                                             17
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Another dimension by which to look at employment growth is what skills are required
across many occupations. Some of the skill sets that will become increasingly important,
partly because of industry and occupation employment patterns, are leadership skills,
management and supervisory skills, entrepreneurship skills, computer/IT skills,
employability skills, and core trade and technical skills. Also, there is much evidence
showing that employers put a high degree of value on positive attitudes among
prospective job seekers.


Other trends among various industry sectors reflect the following principles:


      •   Awareness/image/branding;
      •   Kindergarten-12 promotion;
      •   Attraction/recruitment;
      •   Training;
      •   Industry training capacity (e.g. training centres);
      •   Retention and career development;
      •   Mechanisms to connect supply and demand; and
      •   Coordinating with supply groups – connecting the dots.


2.3       PROFILE OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN THE BRITISH COLUMBIA
          WORKFORCE6


One in 8 or 12.4% of Canadians had a disability in 2001. In British Columbia, 14% or
530,130 persons have a disability, and of this population 290,880 persons are of working
age (15-64). For Canadians 15 years of age and older, 13.3% of women and 11.5% of
men reported at least one disability in 2001.


Nature and Extent of Disabilities of Working Age British Columbians


Mobility impairments were the most frequently identified disability among those 15 years
and older in 2001. Almost 2.5 million or 10.5% of Canadians had difficulty walking,
climbing stairs, carrying an object for a short distance, etc. This represents more than
seven of every 10 persons with disabilities in Canada in 2001. Pain (10.1%), agility
(9.7%), hearing (4.4%), seeing (2.5%) and psychological (2.2%) were the next most


6
  Unless otherwise noted, all statistics in this section are from Statistics Canada, A Profile of Disability in Canada, 2001
(2002), which summarizes the results of the most recent Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS). Also, many
of the following trends regarding persons with disabilities are covered in greater detail in a research report by R.A.
Malatest & Associates Ltd. (2003), which was sponsored by the Minister’s Council.


                                                             18
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




frequent disability types. It is notable that three-quarters of persons with disabilities aged
15 to 64 are limited in their activities due to pain or discomfort.


                                         Chart 2-10


                 Most Frequently Identified Disabilities in Canada in those 15
                                    Years and Older in 2001


   80%
   70%
   60%
   50%
   40%
   30%
   20%
   10%
    0%

         Mobility         Pain        Agility        Hearing     Seeing
                                                                          Psychological




In 2001, over 80% of Canadians with disabilities aged 15 and older had more than one
disability; and 45.5% had four or more disabilities. While one-third (34.1%) of persons
with disabilities had a “mild” degree of disability, over one-quarter (26.9%) experienced
“severe activity limitations.”


Age


While 12.4% of the Canadian population had a disability in 2001, this rate increases
substantially in older age cohorts. Until age 44, the disability rate is lower than the
overall population average. For instance, 9.9% of those aged 15 to 64 were persons with
disabilities in 2001. However, the 45-64, 65-74 and 75+ age cohorts had disability rates
of 16.7%, 31.2% and 53.3%, respectively.




                                                19
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                         Chart 2-11

               Percentage of Population with a Disability in Canada in 2001
                                         by Age Range


   60.00%

   50.00%

   40.00%

   30.00%

   20.00%

   10.00%

    0.00%
                   15 to 64            45 to 64            65 to 74              75+



These age-differentials in disability rates are striking given that, by 2026, one in five
Canadians will be 65 years or older, an increase from one in 8 in 2001 (Health Canada,
2002). Over the next 10 years, the 55 to 64 year-old workforce will increase by more
than 50%, and will represent almost half (48%) of the total Canadian labour force
(Human Resources Development Canada, 2002). This has some important implications.
First, the aging of our population will place tremendous pressures on our health care and
social services systems and funding. Second, combined with lower birth rates, this will
exacerbate existing and looming skills shortages. Lastly, this trend will mean more
individuals in the Canadian workforce will have disabilities and employers will need to
continue to tap this increasing labour pool.


Education


While participation in education and employment by persons with disabilities in British
Columbia and Canada is increasingly facilitated through technology, assistive devices,
supports, and so on, persons with disabilities are clearly disadvantaged in terms of
labour force participation, employment, education and income.


While not as marked as employment and income, disparities in educational attainment
between persons with disabilities and persons without disabilities were identified in the


                                               20
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




2001 PALS survey. Overall, 46% of persons with disabilities in British Columbia
completed some degree of post-secondary education, whereas 49% of the remaining
population did. The biggest difference was the fact that the proportion of those persons
with disabilities who have completed university education (14%) is 8 percentage points
or 36% lower than that of persons without disabilities (22%). More women than men with
disabilities completed university education in British Columbia in 2001.


Interestingly, in the Canadian Abilities Foundation’s survey of persons with disabilities
(2004), 63% of the sample had completed some level of post-secondary education. This
is significantly higher than the PALS data because the Canadian Abilities Foundation
survey only included those persons with disabilities who were labour force participants,
whereas PALS included non-participants.


Labour Force Participation and Employment


Persons with disabilities were 36% more likely than those without disabilities to not be
active in the labour force in 2001. Thirty percent of persons with disabilities (versus 22%
of the rest of the labour force in Canada) were not in the labour force. This differential in
workforce activity is much more apparent in looking at unemployment. Persons with
disabilities in British Columbia were 250% more likely to be unemployed than those
without disabilities—21% versus 6%, respectively. Unemployment among persons with
disabilities was even more pronounced nationally, at 26% (or 333% more than those
without disabilities) at 2001. In addition, well under half (44%) of persons with disabilities
in British Columbia were employed, compared to 72% of the workforce without
disabilities.


The 2003 Annual Report on the Employment Equity Act (Government of Canada, 2004)
shows that persons with disabilities make up only about 2.4% of the workforce in
federally regulated private sector companies, the federal public sector and government
contractors, even though they represent 12.4% of the Canadian population.


Persons with disabilities employment under the Employment Equity Act in 2002 ranged
from 2.2% in Banking and 2.3% in Communications to 2.5% in Transportation and 2.7%
in Other Sectors.




                                              21
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Income and Earnings


Adults with disabilities in Canada had an average annual household income7 that was
28% lower than adults without disabilities: $50,330 versus $69,874 in 2001. Most
significant is the fact that, since 97% of persons with disabilities in Canada reported
income in 2001, and only 44% of them are employed, 53% of persons with disabilities
are reliant on non-employment income.


Persons with disabilities in British Columbia also have much lower average annual
individual earnings than individuals without disabilities; and they are much more reliant
on non-employment income. For example, men with disabilities had a total income of
$28,074 in 2001, compared to $36,053 for men without disabilities; and women with
disabilities had income of $18,306, whereas the income of women without disabilities
was $22,076. This represents earnings disparities in British Columbia of 22.1% and
17.1% for men and women with disabilities, respectively.


However one measures it, persons with disabilities in British Columbia are at an
economic, labour market and educational disadvantage. Access to education and
training, meaningful employment, workplace accommodations and supports, and
disability management measures are a critical part of redressing this inequity. The
literature review and primary research findings described later in this report cover what
the challenges and opportunities are in this regard, particularly for employers and
persons with disabilities. As a national report emphasized, “For many people with
disabilities, paid or voluntary work—whether full- or part-time—is a key to independence
and full participation in their communities” (Human Resources Development Canada,
2000).




7
 “Income” in this context includes income from all sources: employment, government, pension, investment, and other
sources.


                                                         22
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




3.      RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

3.1     PROJECT RESEARCH OBJECTIVES


The primary objective of the research project is to deliver valuable information that can
be used to improve the employment of persons with disabilities in British Columbia. It will
also produce a wealth of information and material to assist the Minister’s Council on
Employment for Persons with Disabilities to fulfill its mandate, including setting
objectives and recommendations for new programs and initiatives.


These findings could also be disseminated to current providers of programs and services
(including the Ministry) to help achieve better outcomes.


The project should directly benefit employers. Through increased awareness and
understanding, they will be able to open their doors to persons with disabilities. By
removing the fear of the unknown and replacing it with knowledge and resources, this
project should provide real value to employers throughout the province.


Going beyond the situation of dealing with a new employee who already has a disability,
the project will also focus on the retention of people who become disabled while they are
employed. In this situation, an employer is faced with a previously able-bodied worker
who now has a disability. The processes of rehabilitation, training and return-to-work can
be a lengthy and, in some cases, costly. The research compiled here would assist in
developing and promoting the field of disability management and add to the knowledge
base of employers.


3.2     RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY


3.2.1   Review of Literature and Data Sources


As part of Phase I of this project, an extensive review of the literature related to the
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities in British Columbia was completed.
This review focused on literature and data most relevant to the recruitment and retention
of persons with disabilities in employment; it does not cover other issues that, while
important to persons with disabilities, are secondary to this topic.


Researchers have attempted to review the most topical and important pieces of literature
in British Columbia, the rest of Canada, and other jurisdictions. However, it is not


                                              23
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




exhaustive of every piece of literature that touches upon the topic. The key was to
achieve a “state-of-the-nation” understanding of what is known today on employment,
recruitment, retention and job training issues related to persons with disabilities.


It should be noted that this review has focused on more recent literature; therefore has
excluded literature before the mid-or late-1990s, except for mentioning developments or
facts occurring earlier as historical or background context.


As a result of an extensive literature and Internet search of British Columbia, Canada,
the United States, Europe, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, over 100 pieces of
relevant literature were found, and several relevant web sites were reviewed.


3.2.2   Primary Research Methodology


In addition to the literature review and assessment of existing data sources, the project
team undertook primary research to compile pertinent information using the following
four complementary tools:


   1. Design and conduct of a survey of representative British Columbia employers
        covering all major sectors and regions of the province on their experience
        recruiting and retaining persons with disabilities;
   2. Identification of approximately 20 key informants from among knowledgeable
        employers, academics, government and other stakeholders with whom to
        conduct in-depth interviews on barriers, issues and practices related to
        employment of persons with disabilities;
   3. Identification of employers for seven on-site visits, detailed case studies and
        carrying out of the case studies; and
   4. Conduct of five focus groups of key stakeholders, one in each of the Ministry of
        Human Resources’ provincial regions, to present and validate the primary and
        secondary research findings.


Survey Questionnaire


To ensure that the survey covered the issues most important and relevant to the
objective of the study, the project team relied on the following:


   •    Review of relevant literature and studies described above;
   •    Examination of existing data sources;


                                              24
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Consultation with selected key informants and programs; and
   •   Consultation with staff (or Secretariat) of Minister’s Council.


Based on the above, a preliminary list of a large number of issues was reviewed against
the objectives of the study. The process resulted in the following list of preliminary data
requirements:


   •   Tombstone information on characteristics of the organization (industry category,
       number of employees, occupations, location, years in operation, title of
       respondent, etc.);
   •   Questions about familiarity with persons with disabilities and the value they
       potentially bring to the organization;
   •   Questions about the extent to which they have employed or tried to employ
       persons with disabilities (number, occupations, types of disabilities, etc.);
   •   If they have not employed persons with disabilities, questions about why not and
       whether they are open to doing so;
   •   More specifically, questions that identify employer and employee barriers to
       recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities;
   •   Questions about experiences and challenges in employing persons with
       disabilities;
   •   Questions about examples of successful practices in employing persons with
       disabilities;
   •   Questions about the types of supports, resources, incentives and other
       assistance employers would find useful in recruiting and retaining persons with
       disabilities;
   •   Questions about retention challenges, vis-à-vis persons with disabilities;
   •   Questions about who should provide assistance to employers in employing
       persons with disabilities;
   •   Questions of employers who have developed successful practices to address
       barriers to employing persons with disabilities;
   •   Are there opportunities for job carving (helping employers create jobs to match a
       particular persons unique skills and abilities);
   •   Are training opportunities available, and is training adaptable to persons with
       disabilities;
   •   Preference for training to be performed in house or by an external training
       agency;
   •   Willingness to adapt the job towards different learning styles;



                                                25
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Have they hired a person with a disability previously, if so did they utilize an
       agency to make this hire;
   •   General experience with staff who have disabilities (comments);
   •   Did they have enough support for the persons with disabilities;
   •   What accommodations would have created a better environment for success with
       a person with a disability on the job;
   •   What value a person with a disability could bring to the workplace;
   •   Familiarity with natural supports;
   •   What type of information would employers like to assist them in hiring or retaining
       a person with a disability;
   •   Receptivity to support staff visiting the worksite to address any issues around
       hiring and retaining persons with disabilities; and
   •   Receptivity to the client receiving short-term training while on the job.


Based on the above, a detailed questionnaire (long form questionnaire) was developed.
However, a combination of summer holiday season, the length of the questionnaire and
the preponderance of harried small business employers in the sample contributed to a
slow response to the survey. Consequently, it was decided to also develop a shorter
more streamlined instrument.


Both, the long form and the short form questionnaires, as well as the survey introductory
letters from the Minister of Human Resources and WCG are shown in Appendices 1
through 4, respectively.


Telephone and Web Surveys


The long form and short form questionnaires were used to conduct a survey of over 500
British Columbia employers covering all major industry sectors and regions of the
province.


The long form survey compiled detailed information from 224 employers. This was
supplemented by the short form survey, consisting of a subset of the critical questions,
which collected information from a further 296 respondents.


Survey design and sample selection methodology is provided in a later part of this
section. Survey results are summarized in Section 4 of this report.




                                                26
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Key Informant Interviews


A key feature of the project research design was a compilation of primary qualitative
information from experienced operators in the field to supplement information compiled
from the literature review, an examination of data from existing sources and the
quantitative survey information. The objective was to provide the project team with
information from a diverse group of individuals who have knowledge or experience with
employment issues and other related information pertaining to persons with disabilities.


The project team, in consultation with the Minister’s Council Secretariat and other
organizations, compiled a list of approximately 30 leading and knowledgeable agencies,
societies, businesses, academics, provincial and federal officials, and other individuals.
The participants were selected to provide a broad cross-section of perspectives, issues
and regional dimension relating the employment of persons with disabilities. The list was
narrowed to a list of 20 participants based on the following criteria:


    •   Service perspective (e.g. provider, facilitator, advisor, recipient);
    •   Issue perspective (e.g. recruitment, retention, accommodation, rehabilitation,
        training etc.);
    •   Public policy perspective, such as the appropriate role of parties; and
    •   Regional perspective.


A separate list was created for employers and employer organizations and similar
process followed to select seven employers and employer organizations to participate in
the key informant interviews.


A Key Informant Interview Protocol was developed to ensure appropriate focus on all
aspects of the research study. The protocol consists of questions organized into four
parts to canvas pertinent experience and issues related to the employment of persons
with disabilities as follows:


Part 1 – Organizational information, focus and experience
Part 2 – Challenges, opportunities and supports
Part 3 – Sources of further information, literature, data, etc.
Part 4 – Information for case studies, best practices and follow up


The full Interview Protocol is included in Appendix 5.



                                              27
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Site Visits and Case Studies


Site visits and case studies were used to complement information from secondary
research, survey data results and findings from the key informant interviews. The focus
of the case studies was to allow a more qualitative understanding of employer barriers
and critical success factors to recruiting and retaining persons with disabilities. These
were also used in order to identify and document successful employer practices.


Case studies enable the proponent to study and document how employers have
developed successful recruitment and retention strategies for persons with disabilities.
They were designed to identify barriers that exist and methods organizations used to
address them, showing the critical success factors.


Site visits allowed researchers to see and hear first-hand from employers, managers and
persons with disabilities about challenges and successful practices regarding
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities. It provided an opportunity to study
physical and other accommodations made at the workplace.


The Minister’s Council members and staff were consulted on the selection of site visit
and case study candidates. The consortium conducted seven site visits and case
studies. Selection reflected diversity in terms of the size and industry sector of the
organization as well as the occupational category and the disability type(s) of persons
employed.


Appendix 6 contains the site visit/case study plan.


3.2.3   Survey Methodology


Telephone / Web Survey


The consortium developed a mix of telephone and web surveys to take advantage of the
positive attributes of both approaches.


Telephone surveys have a good track record for data collection; however, web-based or
electronic surveys have been gaining in popularity with the increasing sophistication of
web survey software and the general spread of Internet and e-mail coverage. Web
surveys offer considerable advantages in efficiency, cost, and speed of implementation
and analysis. With improvement in web survey software, electronic follow-up and back-


                                             28
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




end telephone follow-up, survey reliability and response rates in most situations are
improving considerably. A combined web and telephone survey with first contact through
an e-mail link to the web survey, typically two or three electronic reminders and a final
telephone follow up with residual non-respondents offers superior cost-effectiveness.


As part of the methodology development, the consortium used a mix of telephone and
web surveys. Although web surveys are more cost effective, e-mail contact information
will not be available for the full sample frame. Since it is conceivable that those without
web access may also differ in their situation with respect to employment of persons with
disabilities, it would not have been prudent to limit the survey to a web basis. The
optimal solution for lower cost and higher accuracy was therefore deemed to be a mix of
telephone and web-based surveying.


Sample Selection


The consortium contacted a sample of over 5,000 businesses by telephone. After
sample validation, 2,850 of these employers agreed to participate and were sent the web
survey. The targeted completion was set at 500 responses. The actual completions were
a little over 520. Estimates of reliability are illustrated in Table B.1; for example, if
determining the proportion of employers with special programs to encourage
employment of persons with disabilities and the proportion of affirmative responses were
25%, this proportion at the provincial level would be estimated to be reliable within ±3.6
percentage points at a 95% confidence level. If the sample size is allocated equally
among the five regions, the reliability range is wider such that the estimated proportions
are good within 25%±8.1% for each of the region.


                Table 3.1          Illustrative Reliability Estimates*


                                                                            Employer Size
               Province                          Region
                                                                            Category

               ±3.6%                             ±8.1%                      ±6.3%


                *
                At the 95% confidence level, based on a question with response proportions of 25%.

                Assuming five regions and three employer size categories.



Appendix 7 gives the methodology for estimating reliability of responses.



                                                      29
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Field Testing of Telephone / Web Survey Instruments


The consortium developed an electronic version of the telephone surveys allowing
information to be entered directly into a database during survey administration, for both
telephone surveys as well as web surveys. The consortium used the WCG Call Centre
Survey Application reporting engine and Survey Logix to administer this survey. The
survey manager was able to request a status report of a survey while it was in progress.
The system can also be set up to e-mail a link to the website to designated recipients on
a regular basis.


The survey instruments - including the long form questionnaire, telephone calling and
interview procedure, e-mailing of survey introductory letters, survey web links and
electronic and telephone follow up - were field tested prior to administration of the full
sample.


Administration of the Telephone / Web Surveys


Upon completion of field test activities and consequent modifications to the survey
instrument, six survey research staff administered the field survey. The staff utilized a
variety of respondent-tracking strategies and attempted to make contact with each
respondent five to seven times during the course of survey administration.


Any respondent who could not complete the survey at the contact time were able to
request contact on a different date or time. Research staff members were available for
return calls and/or survey administration from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through
Friday, and 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.


The survey procedure was as set out below:


   •   Initial telephone call with the respondent selected in the sample to confirm the
       business, explain the purpose of the survey, obtain agreement to participate and
       appropriate contact name, telephone and e-mail information;
   •   The respondents were given an option to complete the survey over telephone or
       through online web link, and offered a call back if the timing was inconvenient;
   •   Mail the introductory letters and the web link to those choosing the web survey
       option;




                                             30
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   First electronic reminder was mailed four days after the initial transmission of the
       web survey. As the survey progressed, the reminder period was shortened to
       one day;
   •   Second electronic reminder was sent after further four days (subsequently one
       day); and
   •   For those still not completing, a third and a final fourth follow up were conducted
       through telephone calls.


Leading Web Survey System


The consortium utilized Survey Logix’s web survey software, which is utilized by
thousands of professional market research, consulting, business and public sector
organizations. Survey Logix is a hosted survey solution that provides users with all of the
tools needed to independently develop, distribute and administer an internet-based
survey. It enables users to create professional surveys, post them to the web or
distribute them via e-mail, automatically collect responses, analyze the results and
instantly produce effective reports. Survey Logix automates the deployment, collection
and analysis of completed surveys as they are submitted from the web. Survey Logix
also features a distribution manager to manage e-mail invitations, which can be
automatically customized for each respondent thus increasing response rates. Custom
analysis functionality includes point-and-click cross-tabs, frequency distribution reports,
summary statistics and charting for comprehensive results analysis. An additional
feature of Survey Logix facilitates telephone surveys, thereby allowing seamless
integration of dual web and telephone surveys.


Quality Control for Survey/Qualitative Data


To ensure high-quality data and open-ended comments, the process included the
following:


   •   Real-time monitoring of responses. This gave the consortium the ability to
       monitor the activities of surveyors on a real time basis;
   •   Both telephone surveys and web surveys used Survey Logix, ensuring smooth
       data integration. Also, Survey Logix has built-in edit features, unlimited
       comments space, flexible field lengths and helpful pointers to prevent reporting of
       inconsistent data. Software executes logic checks on a continuous basis. Out-of-
       scope or illogical responses result in error messages, which require surveyors to
       check responses and data entry; and


                                             31
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




      •   Regular surveyor debriefing sessions addressed surveyor issues with respect to
          problems they identified in the project.


Additional Response Rate Enhancement Strategies


      •   The consortium used several survey implementation approaches to ensure
          efficient communication. Official letters were sent to sample participants
          explaining the purpose of the survey and providing a toll-free contact number;
      •   Multiple calling: multiple attempts were made at various times to reach
          respondents;
      •   Diligent tracking of survey participants: The consortium used a number of
          tracking approaches to locate respondents;
          o   Utilization of WCG database of over 115,000 employers that are in active
              rotation for calls and a subset of thousands of employers with e-mail
              addresses on file;
          o   Utilization of public databases for e-mail addresses and web search for
              individual businesses;
          o   Utilization of on-line telephone databases, such as Canada 411, to search for
              individuals whose number is no longer in service;
          o   The provision of a toll-free (1-800) number to encourage individuals to call us
              back;
          o   The use of directory assistance; and
          o   Trained and experienced telephone survey staff and close supervision for
              quality control.


3.3       VALIDATION PROCESS


The consortium conducted five focus groups in regional centres:


      •   Vancouver Island – Victoria;
      •   Vancouver Coastal – Vancouver;
      •   Fraser – Surrey;
      •   Interior – Kelowna; and
      •   Northern Region – Prince George.


Attendees included employer stakeholders, persons with disabilities, employment and
training service providers, and other organizations representing persons with disabilities.



                                               32
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




The focus groups validated research findings from literature review, key informant
interviews, employer survey, site visits and case studies.


The focus groups provided qualitative observations and interpretations of employment-
related issues and opportunities identified by the quantitative research.


The focus group sessions took place after the key informant interviews, the survey of
employers and site visits, and after some case studies. They played an important role in
explaining and validating findings from other components of the project. The focus
groups allowed the consortium to gather additional information with respect to training,
employment and workplace issues for persons with disabilities.


The consortium recognized the necessity to administer results-oriented, structured focus
groups to address the issues of the current project. The focus group component of the
study included the following:


   •   Development of focus group moderator guides;
   •   Focus group screening and recruitment;
   •   Focus group facilitation; and
   •   Analysis and interpretation of outcomes.


Participant lists for the focus groups were developed from field research conducted, and
from information provided by the Minister’s Council. The following process was followed
for arranging focus groups:


   •   Mail-out of an information letter explaining the nature and purpose of the project,
       the importance of the participant’s opinions, the name of the facilitator and the
       date and location of the focus group; and
   •   Telephone calling close to the date of the session to remind and confirm
       attendance.


Appendix 8 contains the focus group protocol.




                                            33
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




4.      VALIDATED RESEARCH FINDINGS

4.1     LITERATURE REVIEW


4.1.1   BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT, RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND JOB
        TRAINING FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES


As the Centre for Disability Studies underlines, “…we often fail to recognize a person’s
abilities and focus instead on their disabilities…[which] encourages economic
dependency for persons with disabilities who are deemed unable to compete with the
rest of society” (2002, p. 8).


Attitudes and Perceptions


        “…the business environment being what it is, they are just too busy to do
        this (outreach). Everyone wants to do the right thing, but the individual’s
        time is limited, stress is over the top, and there is not much room for more
        effort….” – A central Canadian employer (Canadian Abilities Foundation,
        2004, p. 56).


Some of the most systemic, pervasive employment barriers facing persons with
disabilities are the attitudes and perceptions of society, employers, supervisors,
employees, government program administrators and others.


These views result in myths, misconceptions, stereotypes, misinformation, assumptions
and negative images of persons with disabilities in the workplace. As a federal report
concluded, “Attitudes can be the most difficult barrier persons with disabilities face in
gaining full integration, acceptance and participation in society.” (Government of
Canada, 2002a, p. 1).


In its Tapping the Talents of People with Disabilities, the Conference Board of Canada
found that persons with disabilities indicate that the largest single barrier facing them is
not the disability itself “but attitudinal barriers and misperceptions about their skills and
ability to add value in a workplace setting” (Conference Board of Canada, 2001, p. 34).
Thus, it concluded that education to dispel myths and stereotypes is a first step in
building an inclusive workplace.




                                              34
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Seventy-two percent of persons with disabilities seeking work who responded to a
Canadian Abilities Foundation survey indicated, “employers are reluctant to hire people
with disabilities” (2004, p. 28). Fifty-two percent of respondents “strongly” agreed with
this statement. The survey found that the other prevalent perceptions among persons
with disabilities were that they could not find employers “willing to accommodate my
disability related needs” (51%), or employers with “flexible working conditions” (48%).


In the context of employment and recruitment, employers and supervisors may focus on
the disability rather than on what persons with disabilities are able to do, with or without
accommodations and/or supports. Assumptions are made about their ability to do the job
and about the disability being a barrier to satisfactory job performance. Employers
assume or fear that there will be significant accommodation costs. A Canadian Centre
on Disability Studies report (2001) found that the attitudes of supervisors and executives
were key factors in misconceptions about disabilities. As Workink suggests, “Part of the
challenge in overcoming them is to view each individual on his or her merit and focus the
strengths that he or she would contribute to the business.”


Awareness among Employers, Supervisors and Staff


An issue related to the attitudinal barriers facing persons with disabilities seeking
employment is the lack of information, awareness and familiarity about persons with
disabilities that many employers, supervisors and co-workers possess.


The Canadian Centre for Disability Studies (2001) cited evidence that a lack of
awareness by supervisors and co-workers on how to accommodate was a key barrier to
employing persons with disabilities. A Canadian Abilities Foundation report (2003) also
pointed to the need for employer training regarding accommodation of
employees/potential employees with disabilities.


An Alberta publication (Alberta Human Resources and Employment, 2000) provides six
sound reasons for incorporating diversity into a workplace:


   1. Competitive advantage – It helps a company to have employees who come from
       all parts of society and who are, look, act and think like the company’s potential
       customers;
   2. Diverse perspectives – Persons with disabilities have considerable experience
       solving challenging problems on a regular basis;



                                             35
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   3. Public image – Hiring persons with disabilities gives a company a positive image
       in the community;
   4. Larger resource pool – Persons with disabilities offer skills and expertise often
       overlooked or under-utilized in the past;
   5. Universal access – Hiring persons with disabilities promotes universal access,
       which, in turn, benefits everyone; and
   6. Prepared for the future – As the population ages, employers will need to know
       how to value and support differences in mobility, learning, communication and
       work styles.


Education, Training, Skills and Work Experience


A number of studies and reports underline the importance of education, training, job
qualifications and work experience—particularly from an employer’s perspective—in
determining persons with disabilities’ access to employment. This particularly includes
education and training leading to job skills, general and specific jobs skills, qualifications
for specific jobs and relevant work experience. For example, the Conference Board of
Canada emphasized that a lack of “access to education and to formative, work-relevant
experiences that help develop skills needed to compete for jobs” was among significant
barriers for persons with disabilities in Canada (2001, p. 26).


The Canadian Abilities Foundation survey of persons with disabilities found that four out
of ten respondents indicated they need “more formal education to improve their
qualifications and job prospects” (Canadian Abilities Foundation, 2004, p. 11). Fifty-nine
percent of respondents in the same research strongly agreed that they needed more
practical training, such as specialized courses or on-the-job training. Almost 60% of
them indicated that training costs were an obstacle, and that these need to be shared by
government, business and employees with disabilities.


At least one-quarter of the employers in a Canadian Centre on Disability Studies survey
indicated that they could not hire persons with disabilities because they “did not have the
right qualifications” (CCDS, 2001).


Another reason that learning matters for persons with disabilities is the fact that a
growing number of new jobs in British Columbia are requiring some level of formal post-
secondary education. In addition to needing general and employability skills to pursue
and maintain employment, persons with disabilities will need better access to academic
and vocational post-secondary education. The federal government’s Skills and Learning


                                              36
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




agenda (Government of Canada, 2003), as well as provincial and territorial
governments, emphasize special supports that persons with disabilities may require in
order to access and succeed in such learning.


The research also shows that the nature of learning is also an important factor for
equipping persons with disabilities with necessary job skills. It is important to match
training techniques to learning styles and disability limitations among such students and
workers (CCDS, 2001).


Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (1999) and Manitoba (2001)
literature also points to the lack of training as a barrier to employment for persons with
disabilities. In its research for a provincial strategy on disability, the Manitoba
government found that “problems with training” were a barrier to seeking employment for
20% of persons with disabilities.


As a British Columbia employment strategy for persons with disabilities asserts, because
of the need for marketable skills, specific skill training can “level the playing field” for a
person with a disability. A continuum of such training is needed to address this need,
including “formal and informal settings, institutional, on-the-job, and short-term training in
consultation with business and industry to respond to specific skill demands” (Ministry of
Human Resources, 2002, p. 5).


Recruitment and Retention8


A recent Canadian Abilities Foundation study documented the following reason for
employer difficulty in hiring persons with disabilities (Canadian Abilities Foundation,
2004):


      •   Entry level positions are primarily outsourced to other organizations;
      •   Lack of job applications from people with disabilities;
      •   People with disabilities do not want to self-identify;
      •   Those who apply often do not have the qualifications sought;
      •   Unions can be resistant to innovative job accommodation measures;
      •   Priority is currently on other target groups (e.g. Aboriginal people);
      •   Workforce is being reduced – priority is laid-off workers; and

8
 Note - While it is a related topic, disability management and return-to-work issues will be discussed separately in the
next part of this section, as these concepts refer to employees who develop a disability during employment.




                                                            37
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




    •   Very competitive industries need full productivity from all workers from the outset.


Employers who recruit persons with disabilities will gain access to a wider pool of skilled
workers and customer base. However, despite the literature showing evidence of a good
business case for employers to recruit persons with disabilities and despite examples of
best practices, many studies show that a only a small number of employers possess
specific strategies and policies for the recruitment and retention of persons with
disabilities.


For example, a Government of Canada report (2002c) cited a survey (Workplace and
Employee Survey) that found only fewer than 10% of employers have specialized
recruitment or career planning programs for persons with disabilities, and that fewer than
1% of employees completing the survey had participated in these programs.


In its 2003 annual report on the Employment Equity Act (Government of Canada, 2003),
the federal government reported that in 2002, as compared with the previous year, “the
recruitment of persons with disabilities increased only in five occupations and fell in nine,
and the total impact was negative as the declines exceeded the increases and the
overall share in recruitment decreased to 1%.”


An Alberta study found that a key factor in employment barriers faced by persons with
disabilities is “the employer perception that support services and accommodations such
as personal assistance, adaptive equipment and workplace modifications are
unavailable or very expensive” (Alberta Human Resources and Employment, 2002, p. 9).
The study suggests that this perception may combine with employer uncertainty about
persons with disabilities’ capabilities to cause employers to overlook the persons with
disabilities as part of their recruiting pool.


It is not all “bad news,” as a number of reports profile examples of companies who have
been very proactive in recruiting and accommodating persons with disabilities. The
Conference Board of Canada’s Tapping the Talents of People with Disabilities resource
book (2001) is a very good example of this. It illustrates employers who have
demonstrated the business case of providing disability-related workplace
accommodations (e.g. flexible hours of work, adaptive equipment, etc.).


Employers also have to be concerned about how to retain persons with disabilities and
how to facilitate and provide opportunities for their career development and
advancement. As the Conference Board of Canada indicates, employee turnover is a


                                                 38
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




costly factor in terms of lost time, costs and missed opportunities. It estimates that these
costs range from $10,000 for a clerical position to six-figure amounts for a senior
executive. The Conference Board concluded, “senior executives tell us that they would
rather invest money in supporting an employee who has a special need than spend
dollars on recruiting yet another candidate who may or may not work out” (2001, p. 8).


Accessibility, Accommodation and Employment Supports


A Human Resources and Skills Development Canada study defines “accommodation” as
ensuring that facilities and products are accessible to customers and to prospective and
current employees…and [in] the context of employment, accommodation encompasses
any modification or support that allows a person to do his or her job” (1999, p. 42).


Seventy percent of persons with disabilities in the Canadian Abilities Foundation
Neglected or Hidden study required workplace adjustments or accommodations in order
to perform their work (2004). Only 19% in the same survey indicated that their disability
prevented them from working fulltime with suitable workplace accommodations.


There has been a stronger trend toward “barrier-free,” accessible workplaces among
larger corporations in Canada; however, as a company executive profiled in Tapping the
Talents emphasizes, “You cannot make your workplace barrier-free unless you are
willing to do the training necessary to break down the attitudinal barriers” (Conference
Board of Canada, 2001, p. 33).


Research has shown that employers fear the costs of workplace accommodations for
persons with disabilities. While for certain disabilities, such costs can be significant, this
represents the exception, since much of the literature points to evidence that the large
majority of adjustments that are needed involve small costs or no cost at all.


A Canadian Centre for Disability Studies survey also confirmed that the costs of
accommodating persons with disabilities is not necessarily very high, with the majority of
accommodations, including assistive devices and training or retraining, costing less than
$10,000 (CCDS, 2001). The Canadian Abilities Foundation Neglected or Hidden study
found workplace accommodations are “under $1,500 for almost all workers who have a
disability” (2004, p. 9). According to its research, 52% of those requiring workplace
accommodations estimated the costs to be less than $500 per year.




                                              39
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




While the literature clearly downplays the costs of most job accommodations for persons
with disabilities, there are exceptional cases in which accommodations can be costly.
Large organizations may be able to absorb these costs, but as referred to in a Human
Resources and Skills Development Canada evaluation study, a Job Accommodation
Network evaluation indicated that this would be difficult or impossible for smaller
employers.


Another consideration regarding the cost of job accommodations is the fact that
workplace accommodations often benefit other employees and customers. A
Conference Board of Canada (2001) report underlined this factor. It quoted a
businessperson as saying, “It seems as long as we use the word ‘accommodation,’ it is
perceived as a special or costly initiative only for specific people. The truth is employers
accommodate employees all the time through flex-time, software enhancements, office
supplies, etc.” (p. 42).


Many reports emphasize that it is important that each accommodation fit the needs of
the individual employee with a disability. The key to successful job accommodation is
flexibility, creativity and sensitivity to the individual’s needs—including involving the
employee in the development of accommodations.


While the most obvious job accommodations relate to physical limitations (e.g. mobility
or sensory), it is important to consider the potential broad range of limitations resulting
from disabilities, including so-called “hidden” disabilities, such as learning disabilities,
mental illness, epilepsy, cancer, arthritis, intellectual impairments, traumatic brain injury,
AIDS and asthma.


Another important factor regarding workplace accommodations is the “duty to
accommodate” requirements for management and labour. Employers and unions are
required by law to accommodate an employee, unless the required accommodation
would result in “undue hardship” to the employer and/or the union.


Disability Management and Return-to-Work Programs


        …research has shown that the chance of a successful return to work after
        an injury or illness can be improved considerably by using a set of
        techniques known as disability management (DM). The key to disability
        management is maintaining contact between the disabled worker and the
        workplace. Even before 100% recovery is achieved, getting people back


                                              40
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




       on the job as soon as medically feasible is essential.” (National Institute of
       Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR), 2003, p. 1).


Workplace-based disability management programs, in Canada, led by the NIDMAR,
have emerged over the last decade as increasingly proactive tools for reducing the
negative impacts of disabling illness or injury on employees, organizations and the
broader community.


The NIDMAR has published several research reports and resource documents, as well
as educational and awareness programs to promote disability management. It is well
known for its joint labour-management model that has been used widely in Canadian
goods-based industries, such as forestry, mining and secondary manufacturing, as well
as in other sectors, such as health care.


Workplaces that have established disability management programs in Canada, the
United States, Australia, Germany, and other countries have found that making every
reasonable effort to return people to the workplace is a sound economic decision.


The NIDMAR points to research that has shown organizations that establish an effective
disability management program can expect an average annual savings of 16% (2003). It
is also good for the British Columbia economy as indicated in a 1997 study, NIDMAR
found that individuals needing and receiving supports are nearly twice as likely to have
employment in British Columbia than is the case for Canada—7.5% versus 3.9%,
respectively (1997).


Income Support Disincentives


Some of the literature cited aspects of certain income support policies, such as providing
disincentives to persons with disabilities seeking employment. For example, Longfield
and Bennett (2003) suggested “programs like [Canada Pension Plan – Disability] CPPD
that equate disability with unemployability create a huge barrier for people” (p. 15-16). A
recent Human Resources and Skills Development Canada report on disability issues
concluded the following:


       “Most of the definitions [for income assistance] basically require a
       candidate for employment supports to have a long-term disability which
       creates a barrier to equal participation in the labour market” (Human
       Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2003a, p. 60). “There is a


                                            41
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




        fundamental issue over whether to base social assistance eligibility on
        unemployability, which may lead to a work barrier, or on restrictions in
        activities of daily living, which may affect the ability of persons with
        disabilities to support themselves by working” (Human Resources and
        Skills Development Canada, 2003a, p. 62).


While opinions on the issue varied among respondents to a persons with disabilities
survey by the Canadian Abilities Foundation, 20% of those sampled agreed that they are
“reluctant to work because they could lose their disability benefits and supports” (2004,
p. 36). The percentage was higher for workers with part-time jobs (25%) and job seekers
who have not worked at all in the last five years (48%).


A Manitoba report (2001) refers to “unemployability” criteria as a barrier to entry or return
to the workforce. For example, a person who has been defined as unemployable on the
basis of a disability is not eligible to make use of many training and employment
resources.


Morris (2000) also found financial disincentives in income support for youth with
disabilities in Canada:


        “Many participants in this program relied on Social Assistance for income
        and felt that the risk of losing those benefits by becoming employed were
        too great. Once a person on social assistance earns more than $50 of
        their allowance, the allowance is cut. If employment ends, this must be re-
        applied for and the disability status must be re-approved” (p. 23).


Program and Service Coordination


A number of trends in public program and service design and delivery have evolved over
the last decade in Canada and British Columbia. Appendix 1 contains a summary of
types of programs related to the recruitment and retention of person with disabilities
identified during this literature review.


One general issue about programs and service delivery for persons with disabilities is
the need for better integration and coordination among service providers. In a national
evaluation study, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (1999) refers to a
federal report that documents persons with disabilities concerns about service
coordination:


                                              42
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




        “Because people with disabilities often face multiple barriers to
        employment, including insufficient job training, lack of transportation, and
        employer discrimination, they may require services from more than one
        program to make employment feasible . . . Because services are often not
        coordinated among programs, people with disabilities may receive
        duplicate services or face service gaps” (p. 44).


Under-Represented Groups with Disabilities


Canadians with disabilities who are members of other groups under-represented in the
labour market may experience additional and/or unique barriers to employment and
training. This sub-section briefly summarizes issues facing Aboriginal people, women,
immigrants and youth with disabilities.


Aboriginal People with Disabilities


Information is limited regarding Aboriginal persons with disabilities, with significant gaps
in information related to employment and about children with disabilities and their
families.


Research (e.g. Government of Canada, 2002) indicates that the number of Aboriginal
adults (aged 15-64) with disabilities was approximately 31% of those surveyed. Of those,
46% had completed high school and only 2% had a university degree. The employment
rate of Aboriginal persons with disabilities was 28%, compared to 56% for the total
Aboriginal population surveyed.


The 1996 census indicated that, on average, Aboriginal persons with disabilities live in
households with only half the income of Canadian households, thus creating double
disadvantage since there are often extra expenses associated with the disability itself.


The situation for Aboriginal people with disabilities is complex, especially for those living
on reserves or in remote, isolated communities. New barriers in addition to those
existing for all people with disabilities are created for Aboriginal persons with disabilities
who experience harsh social and economic conditions. Transportation and access to
programs and services also become extremely challenging.




                                              43
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Women with Disabilities


As the PALS data shows, in general, the disability rate is higher for women, except in the
case of children under 15.


One survey by the Canadian Centre for Disability Studies (2001) indicated that within the
majority of the companies that responded, women with disabilities were under-
represented. Four of these companies provided a breakdown by gender, only one of
which (in the retail sector) had women with disabilities outnumber men with disabilities.
A reference to Fawcett’s 2000 research report on women with disabilities in Ontario
indicates, “this population is the last in line to get jobs.” In contrast, the education levels
of young women with and without disabilities are somewhat higher than they are for
young men.


The 2003 Annual Report on the Employment Equity Act (Government of Canada, 2004)
also provides data on how men with disabilities do much better than women in
representation in employment among companies covered by the legislation.


Immigrants with Disabilities


There is not much information in the literature on the unique employment barriers facing
immigrants with disabilities in Canada. One study by Sandys, (Immigration And
Settlement Issues For Ethno-Racial People With Disabilities: An Exploratory Study)
indicated that immigrants who are admitted into Canada on a Minister’s Permit enter a
“legal limbo” that can often result in their being denied employment or services related to
their disability.


Sandys painted a dire picture of immigrants with disabilities:


        “Only two of the ethno-racial adults with disabilities whom we interviewed
        had permanent, full time employment; the majority were unemployed, the
        others under-employed. Even where people had a university education
        and/or had worked in their country of origin, they were likely to be
        unemployed in Toronto.”


This study found that the lack of employment-related supports for immigrants with
disabilities was the number one issue. These individuals wanted to work and felt that
existing employment services were ineffective, and that their lack of English language


                                               44
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




skills contributed to unemployment. But it was found that even those with good English
language skills or those whose first language was English were still likely to be
unemployed. The immigrants with disabilities studied tended to attribute their
unemployment to “discriminatory attitudes towards people with disabilities.”


Youth with Disabilities


The 18-24 year old age cohort is a prime post-secondary education participation group
in Canada; therefore, barriers to post-secondary training are an important issue for youth
with disabilities. According to the Government of Canada's Knowledge Matters:
Canada's Innovation Strategy paper, 70% of new jobs created will require a post-
secondary education. In addition, 25% of new jobs will require a university degree. In a
short article, T. Hulett (2002) identified as a concern the fact the only 5% of students with
disabilities obtain a university degree compared with 21% of students without a disability.


Further, as mentioned earlier, this gap will be an even more significant policy issue in the
future as the percentage of students with disabilities attending post-secondary
educational institutions increases (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
2001b). Post-secondary educational institutions will need to provide more flexible
programming and allow/facilitate access to special equipment/technology and personal
assistants.


Annable (2003) also identified social/attitudinal, transportation-based and systemic
barriers facing students with disabilities in post-secondary education. Attitudinal barriers
are increased in youth with disabilities seeking employment. While this is a major issue
for all people with disabilities, youth are most often in a position of temporary, short-term
or contract employment and the effect is exacerbated as employers may not hire
students and other youth with disabilities due to the perception that there will be
increased responsibilities and costs. If a student with disabilities requires a job
accommodation, employers generally have no incentive to hire them for part-time or
summer work. Accommodations need to be considered for supplementary income and
part-time and summer work experience for students with disabilities, including post-
secondary institutions working with employers to support workplace accommodations.




                                             45
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




4.1.2   CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS IN THE RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION
        OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES


This section provides a brief summary/synthesis of the key findings on (and critical
success factors for) improving the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities
in British Columbia. The intention of this section is not to describe all the relevant tools
and resources for employers; examples of best practices in employer recruitment and
retention of persons with disabilities as such information will be provided in the Employer
Handbook.


Recruitment and Retention Critical Success Factors


        “Companies looking for new markets are looking in these directions to
        increase sales and revenue,” points out Tishman. “Indeed, the buying
        power of people with disabilities is undeniable: their collective income in
        2001 was $1 trillion, 23% of it disposable.” (Bernard Hodes Group, 2002).


        “The Harris study also revealed that employees with disabilities have
        about the same (57%) or better (20%) productivity than employees
        without disabilities. 90% were rated as average or above average in
        performance of job duties.” (Canadian Abilities Foundation, 2003, p. 5).


Much of the persons with disabilities employment-related literature focuses on
recruitment and retention. The Conference Board of Canada’s Tapping the Talents
resource book (2001) and Alberta’s Tips for Employers guide (2000) are two good
examples of publications that set out comprehensive guidelines, suggestions and best
practices for employers and other groups.


Critical success factors for the recruitment of persons with disabilities range from
community outreach, awareness and promotion, and advertising practices to
interviewing and selection practices that are sensitive to persons with disabilities.


Promoting awareness of and effectively advertising employment opportunities in a way
that is accessible to persons with disabilities is a key starting point. For example, the
Conference Board of Canada suggests, “good-practice employers have well-developed
community outreach initiatives at the national and local levels, ensuring that prospective
job candidates with disabilities learn about employment opportunities with their



                                              46
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




organizations” (2001, p. 15). There are many reports that suggest best practices in the
actual recruitment and selection of persons with disabilities.


As part of the recruitment stage, preparing for and executing effective interview practices
are important. For example, ABILITIES@WORK (Canadian Abilities Foundation, 2002)
suggests the following regarding interviewing:


   •   Recruiting and interviewing procedures might be somewhat different. Knowing
       how to approach the issue of disability with a candidate will help increase your
       awareness about their human rights, and will prevent any awkwardness during
       the hiring process;
   •   Always put the person first, before the disability. Focus on the skills needed to
       get the job done;
   •   Avoid asking irrelevant questions;
   •   Avoid making assumptions; and
   •   Use appropriate terminology.


Effective recruitment practices also include taking care in the design and content of an
organization’s employment application forms, careful review and refinement of job
descriptions, interviewing techniques, orientation training, and initial workplace
integration.


An important development regarding the recruitment of persons with disabilities is online
job matching services and other web-based services that provide useful employment-
related information and that can enhance accessibility for persons with disabilities. In
support of this trend, the Canadian Abilities Foundation found in its recent survey of
persons with disabilities in the labour force that 41% of respondents found the Internet
useful as a method of job search. However, this was third behind friends and contacts
(48%) and disability community organizations (44%). The same study also found that
using major internet sites for job seekers (53%), specialized employment counsellors
(52%), employer-specific websites (48%), and employer/disability organization
partnerships (47%) were the most likely sources and strategies for job searches to be
used by persons with disabilities.


In terms of retaining persons with disabilities, some of the principles mentioned
regarding recruitment also apply to retention (e.g. job accommodation, inclusion of and
sensitivity to the individual person with a disability, management and co-worker
awareness and training, etc.). With the exception of return-to-work and disability


                                             47
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




management guidelines and some of the employer resource guides, the literature tends
to focus less on retention of persons with disabilities.


Literature also identified the value of employment incentives for increasing the
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities (e.g. Canadian Abilities Foundation,
2004).


Workplace Accommodation Critical Success Factors


Many reports in Canada have identified the importance of job accommodation for
persons with disabilities and offer a number of suggestions and guidelines for employers
providing such support. Further, as mentioned earlier, many of these accommodations
are low or no cost and relatively simple to implement.


In its ABILITIES@WORK, the Canadian Abilities Foundation (2003) emphasizes the
importance of creativity and flexibility and being sensitive to individual needs. It also
suggests that employers considering accommodations should seek help and advice in
considering accommodations, through local disability organizations and/or organizations
like the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work.


The literature also suggests that flexible work hours and work-at-home practices are
relatively simple accommodations for some employees with disabilities.


Worksupport.com is a useful website resource that offers “disability friendly” strategies
and resources for the workplace to increase access and accommodation for persons
with disabilities, including making a corporate commitment to include persons with
disabilities among your stakeholders and educating all staff on disability. Organizations
such as the Neil Squire Foundation (http://www.neilsquire.ca) offer computer technology
adaptations and worksite modifications to businesses.


An element of workplace accommodation in Canada is the duty-to-accommodate
requirements. A Canadian Human Rights Commission publication (www.chrc-
ccdp.ca/discrimination/barrier_free-en.asp) emphasizes that the duty to accommodate
goes beyond simply on-the-job performance and extends from initial job advertising to
exit interviews.


The Commission, the Employment Equity Act and progressive employer groups
are promoting the concept of “barrier-free” employers. The Government of


                                              48
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Canada’s 2003 Annual Report of the Employment Equity Act identifies effective
employer practices, including advertising employment opportunities in
publications oriented to persons with disabilities, and barrier-free workplaces.


Training and Development Critical Success Factors


Access to post-secondary education, workplace training and pre-employment training
programs are a key part of increasing the employment of persons with disabilities in
British Columbia. Post-secondary education and pre-employment training can facilitate
workforce entry and employer recruiting; and workplace training can support the
development and retention of persons with disabilities.


In many cases, persons with disabilities in British Columbia possess the education and
skills required in the labour market – the challenge is more a question of accessing and
sustaining employment.


Persons with disabilities surveyed by the Canadian Abilities Foundation (2004) identified
the most effective training options as “comprehensive” training programs that are
developed with employers and ensure employment for graduates (56%); job coaches
targeting persons with disabilities (45%) and awareness training for employers (44%).


Annable (2003), the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA, 2000a), O’Donnell et
al (2003) and others identify factors in increasing persons with disabilities’ participation
and success in post-secondary education, including vocational education. The Australian
National Training Authority suggests tailoring flexible assistance to meet the needs of
students with disabilities and providing individualized assistance in accessing training.


Disability Service Provider Critical Success Factors


       “There seems to be a marketing gap: agencies send the candidate with a
       disability, with a generic resume, and say ‘can you find a job for this
       person.’ There doesn’t seem to be a focus. They should say ‘here’s this
       person and here’s what he can do for you.’ The resume should reflect
       that…” – A major Western Canadian employer (Canadian Abilities
       Foundation, 2004, p. 59).


Some of the literature reviewed effective practices among service providers to persons
with disabilities. One of the best studies in this regard is the Canadian Abilities


                                              49
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Foundation’s Neglected or Hidden research report (2004). Fifty-five percent of persons
with disabilities surveyed in this study indicated they were assisted in their employment
search efforts by such agencies.


The Canadian Abilities Foundation report found that the employment success of service
providers was based on the quality of relationship it had built with employers in the
community – not on an agency’s size or range of services. Also, those organizations that
have an established base of employer partners and are familiar with their culture and
employment requirements had the highest employment success rates.


Employers interviewed for the Canadian Abilities Foundation study had suggestions for
community organizations, government and employers:


   •   For community organizations – Employers felt service providers for persons with
       disabilities need to improve their marketing efforts, in order to make more
       employers aware of the services they provide;

   •   For government – Employers suggested that government needs to support the
       education and training of persons with disabilities in skills in short supply, in
       providing support to service providers, and in launching a targeted campaign to
       educate employers about the value of hiring persons with disabilities; and

   •   For employers – Employers interviewed agreed that they too must take action to
       improve the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities. This involves
       communicating more with service providers and building external connections
       with community organizations.


Disability Management Critical Success Factors


In earlier decades, disability management focused on a narrower range of injuries and
return-to-work programs that were imposed with little input from those most affected
(NIDMAR, 2003). NIDMAR’s work emphasizes the importance of this direct involvement
and early intervention. Its Disability Management in the Workplace: A Guide to
Establishing a Joint Workplace Program (2003) provides a comprehensive “how-to”
guide that emphasizes early intervention, using incremental milestones in returning to
work, and maintaining ongoing contact with the worker.


NIDMAR has published a Canadian Code of Practice for Disability Management (2000),
which, in part, led to the International Labour Organization’s adoption of an international


                                             50
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




code of practice. Both codes are based on consensus between management and labour
and provide “optimum practice” benchmarks.


The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (2002) published a comprehensive best-
practices document that highlights effective disability management practices.


Another important factor, as referenced in NIDMAR recommendations to a British
Columbia Royal Commission (NIDMAR, 1998), is that adequate and accessible training
on disability management needs to be provided and supported to disability management
committee members and employees.


4.1.3   RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION RESOURCES – TOOLKITS, TIPS,
        GUIDELINES AND BEST PRACTICES


Several publications reviewed include critical success factors or effective practices for
maximizing the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities: For example:


   •    Alberta Human Resources and Employment. (2000). Employment Series for
        Persons with Disabilities: Tips for Employers.
   •    Resources and Employment. (2002). Breaking Barriers, Enhancing Employment
        Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. Canada.
   •    Canadian Abilities Foundation. (2003). ABILITES @ WORK. Canada.
   •    Canadian Centre on Disability Studies. (2001). Building Bridges between the
        Corporate Sector and the Disability Community. Canada.
   •    Canadian Centre on Disability Studies. (2002). Best Practices in Contemporary
        Disability Management. Canada.
   •    Conference Board of Canada. (2001). Tapping the Talents of People with
        Disabilities. Canada.
   •    EmployAbilities. (2002). The Disability Handbook: A Guide to Understanding
        Individuals with Disabilities. EmployAbilities and Community Futures Network
        Society of Alberta. Alberta.
   •    Human Resources Development Canada. (1999). Lessons Learned from
        Evaluation of Disability Policy and Programs. Canada.
   •    Greater Vancouver Business Leadership Network. http://www.gvbln.ca.
   •    National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (1996). Best Practices
        Case Study, Implementing a Disability Management Program in Industry.
        Canada.



                                            51
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •    National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (2003). Disability
        Management in the Workplace (2nd Edition). Canada.
   •    Stienstra, D., Annable, G., Morris-Wales, J., Matanga, Z. (2002). Best Practices
        in the Home-Based Employment of People with Disabilities. Canadian Centre on
        Disability Studies. Canada.
   •    Worksupport.com. Disability Friendly Strategies for the Workplace.
        http://www.worksupport.com/Main/disability_friendly_strategies.asp.
   •    WORKink Alberta. (2003). Employ with Expertise: A Toolkit for Success in Hiring
        Individuals with a Disability. Alberta.
   •    National Educational Associations of Disabled Students (NEADS). (2003).
        Access to Success: A Guide for Employers.


Additionally, several national and provincial non-profit organizations, which provide
persons with disabilities employment services, programs and research, were reviewed.
Organizations such as the BC Paraplegic Association (http://www.canparaplegic.org/bc),
the Neil Squire Foundation (http://www.neilsquire.ca), and the Opportunities through
Rehabilitation and Work Society (http://www.orw.ca) (ORW) offer employment services
and programs for persons with disabilities and employers. For example, Neil Squire’s
“Consultation and Assessment Services” (CAS) assess needs and “recommend
technology in settings at home, school, or the office for individuals with physical and
other disabilities, in private, business, or corporate settings.” Its services include
computer technology adaptations, worksite modifications, and educational workshops on
adaptive technology. The ORW provides “The Source” on its website, a Guide to
Programs and Services for Persons with Disabilities in BC.


Also, the Canadian Abilities Foundation’s Neglected or Hidden study (2004) includes
interviews of disability service agencies and provides very useful insights into what
makes them effective in terms of facilitating employment for their clients.


These resources and others collected during the primary research stage of this project
are being reviewed as the first part of the design, development and content drafting of
the Employer Handbook.


4.1.4   SUMMARY OF KEY THEMES


In summary, the key themes found in the literature review regarding the recruitment and
retention of persons with disabilities are:



                                              52
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




      •   Employer and industry tools and resources;
      •   Readily available data and information on which employers, persons with
          disabilities, service providers and policy makers can base decisions;
      •   Labour market information and human resources planning;
      •   2010-related opportunities;
      •   Awareness, promotion, communication strategies;
      •   Employer/industry involvement and engagement, and linkages and connections
          with the persons with disabilities community;
      •   Innovative, employer-driven employment and training models;
      •   Integration and coordination of employers, government agencies, service
          providers, and the persons with disabilities community;
      •   Promotion and advancement of self-employment and entrepreneurship for
          persons with disabilities; and
      •   Provision of employer incentives (e.g. Workers’ Compensation Board Pulp and
          Paper project).


Each of these topics cut across recruitment, accommodation, training and education,
and disability management issues and opportunities.


4.2       KEY INFORMANT INTERVIEWS9


Fifteen key informant interviews were conducted for this project by telephone between
August 9 and August 24, 2004. The target number of interviews was 15 to 20, and the
Ministry of Human Resources approved a list of questions and target interviewees.
Numerous attempts were made to reach the upper target limit and, given project
deadlines, it was decided to end the interview phase on August 24:


      •   Employers and industry associations: Target – 7; Result – 5;
      •   Persons with disabilities: Target – 3; Result – 3;
      •   Stakeholders/service providers: Target – 7; Result – 4;
      •   Post-secondary education: Target – 1; Result – 1; and
      •   Government field staff: Target – 2; Result – 2.


A key factor in reaching the upper target number was the fact that interviews had to be
arranged starting in the summer months. Another factor was difficulty in finding
employer/industry association representatives that had experience in disability issues.

9
    A more detailed summary of responses to each interview question is provided in Appendix 10.


                                                53
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




The 15 interviewees are profiled below:


    •   Three persons with disabilities;
                o   A student/employee with severe hearing loss (Vancouver/Toronto)
                o   A quadriplegic who is unemployed and starting self-employment
                    (Vancouver)
                o   A person with a visual impairment who is an advocate (Interior)
    •   Five employer representatives;
                o   An industry (provincial) association executive (manufacturing)
                o   A general manager in a small high tech company (Okanagan)
                o   A Human Resources manager in a large resource company (Kootenays)
                o   A Human Resources Director in a major hotel (Vancouver Island)
                o   A Diversity coordinator in a large national financial institution (HQ in
                    Toronto)
    •   One representative of a national disability/return-to-work/research agency
        focusing on employer and employee programs;
    •   Four service provider representatives/stakeholders;
                o   One that provides support to severely disabled individuals (cognitive and
                    multiple physical disabilities aged 5-19)
                o   A Vancouver-based mental health employment service provider
                o   A Lower Mainland-based national disability (blind and visually impaired
                    clients) agency and service provider
                o   A leader of a national disability management agency
    •   A public post-secondary special education/disability program service provider
        (Vancouver Island); and
    •   Two government representatives who administer government funding programs
        and services for provincial and federal governments (Victoria and Vancouver).


Background Questions


The first section of the interview included questions about the interviewees’ organization
and role, their level of familiarity and experience with persons with disabilities. They were
also asked if they had first-hand experience in recruiting and employing persons with
disabilities.


The persons with disabilities, service providers, educator and government
representatives were very familiar with persons with disabilities issues. Some were a


                                                  54
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




little less familiar with recruitment and employment issues specifically. Their experiences
related to different types of disabilities, ranging from deaf/hearing impaired, blind/visually
impaired to physically disabled and severely physically disabled, to mentally ill and
cognitive disabilities.


Employers ranged from an industry association and small employer with very minimal
experience with and knowledge of persons with disabilities employment issues to three
larger corporate representatives (hotel, resource and financial sectors) with much
experience, including return-to work-issues. A return-to-work interviewee provided
extensive insight on employer and employee perspectives on disability management and
return to work.


How do you think trends in the recruitment and retention of persons with
disabilities have changed over the last 10 years?


Most interviewees agreed that there is a greater societal awareness of persons with
disabilities in the workforce. Most also believed that there was a greater awareness and
acceptance of hiring persons with disabilities among employers but that this did not
always translate into action or behavioural change.


Employer interviewees themselves observed that some of businesses’ increased
involvement with persons with disabilities was due to corporate requirements regarding
federal legislation and employers’ duty to accommodate (e.g. “We want to ensure we are
playing by the rules, not being discriminatory”).


Interviewees from larger companies described a high degree of activity in the area of
hiring persons with disabilities and return-to-work programs. Some of the employer
interviewees also spoke of an increased interest in Worker’s Compensation Board and
LTD costs to companies, causing them to be more proactive with disability management
and return to work.


Interviewees representing persons with disabilities, service providers and government
agencies agreed with employer interviewees about increased employer awareness and
acceptance of the need to recruit and employ persons with disabilities.


One service provider interviewee indicated that in Canada and internationally the
employment situation for persons with disabilities is “getting worse.” He pointed to
evidence of this in recent World Bank and OECD reports.


                                              55
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




One person with a disability who was interviewed suggested that the “single biggest
barrier was the attitude/perception of prospective employers.” Some pointed to the lower
labour force and employment participation rates for persons with disabilities and how
many qualified individuals are overlooked or underemployed.


Barriers and Success Factors


What do you think are the most important barrier(s) or challenges, that make it
more difficult for employers to recruit and retain persons with disabilities?


In response to this question, the most important barriers or challenges identified by
employers related to the following factors:


   •   Cost of worksite accommodations, particularly physical accommodations;
   •   Lack of awareness or capacity to know where to start and how to recruit and
       support persons with disabilities;
   •   Fear of the unknown and fear of hiring a person with a disability and
       contravening human rights or some other regulatory requirements if you have to
       lay them off;
   •   The challenge of hiring persons with disabilities when a company is under
       productivity and competitive pressures and need new hires to “hit the ground
       running;” and
   •   Sourcing/finding persons with disabilities if you want to actively recruit them,
       including easy access to some type of database of individuals and agencies.


Other interviewees corroborated some of what the employer interviewees emphasized,
but offered a few key themes in particular.


   •   The “fear” they believed employers have towards employing persons with
       disabilities;
   •   Employers have assumptions and misunderstandings about persons with
       disabilities in the workplace; thus some interviewees suggested employer and
       employee education about hiring persons with disabilities is needed to address
       this;
   •   The isolation that persons with disabilities experience in the workplace limits their
       retention; and



                                              56
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •    Some interviewees indicated that employers are “grossly uneducated about
        technology and supports available.”


Persons with disabilities interviewed talked about the need for employer
accommodations and use of adaptive devices and about the importance of “champions”
within organizations.


What pitfalls or practices do you think employers should avoid in recruiting,
employing and training persons with disabilities?


Employers interviewed emphasized that companies should not hire persons with
disabilities just for the sake of doing so. They discredited organizations that did this and
who “take advantage of” persons with disabilities. These interviewees called for a strong
business case for hiring persons with disabilities and to hire people for their abilities.
One employer interviewee from a large organization talked about the importance of
planning and preparing worksite accommodations before the person with a disability
commences work.


Other (non-employer) interviewees agreed with employers about not hiring to satisfy
quotas or in a token manner; one said: “They don’t want to be hired because they have a
disability – rather because they can do the job.” They also strongly urged planning and
preparation before a person with a disability starts work.


What do you think are the most important barriers preventing or limiting persons
with disabilities from participating in work-based education and training?


Employer interviewees referred to the challenge of physical accessibility and worksite
accommodations in the context of training for persons with disabilities. One emphasized
the importance of making managers/supervisors and training providers aware of this
need.


Service-provider and person-with-disability interviewees identified funding as an issue in
terms of persons with disabilities (and sometimes employers) needing support to pay for
training and/or training supports (e.g. assistants for severely disabled, interpreter,
adaptive devices, etc.). One interviewee asked, “Who is going to pay – it can cost
anywhere up to $3 to $5K for a computer with software, or closed circuit TV for visually
impaired is $2K – also, is there adequate office space?”



                                              57
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




A person with disability said it well: “If it wasn’t for the Neil Squire Foundation, I wouldn’t
know all the options – so I understand how employers would not be aware.”


What awareness and/or experience do you have with workplace accommodations
to make jobsites and work more accessible to persons with disabilities? What is
your understanding of the costs and challenges of such accommodations?


Most employers interviewed had direct experience with workplace accommodations and
costs. The larger ones recognized many accommodations are not costly, but they also
pointed to examples where costs for worksite modifications were significant, but cost-
effective.


One employer spoke of mounting costs for return-to-work programs and a requirement
to accommodate persons with disabilities who return. He pointed to their Korean
competitor who operates within a different employment framework: “After seven months
if you don’t return, you are terminated.” A representative of manufacturing companies
made an interesting point that, for their industry and other goods producers, it is not only
about modifying the company office entrance and interior, but many manufacturers have
one or more plants and warehouses that have to be modified.


Other interviewees stressed that many accommodations were relatively inexpensive and
that many employers do not know what is possible or available. An informed person
expressed it this way:


        “No question they can be expensive depending on the severity and type
        of disability and the individual, however employers who experience
        accommodations will say it’s priceless (e.g. adaptive equipment). I don’t
        think employers understand the technology available – when they
        become aware they are blown away – e.g. ICBC two quadriplegics –
        employer was amazed at the technology available.”


What are your awareness and/or experience with disability management and
return-to-work programs? How can they be used to improve the re-employment
and retention of injured workers?


The employer interviewees with larger companies had significant experience with return-
to-work issues. They suggested such things as:



                                              58
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Educating people in charge of programs and ensuring they have ability to make
       decisions;
   •   Ensuring you have union buy in, but not basing “who is more deserving” by
       seniority;
   •   Being well-informed and consistent;
   •   Re-employing individuals as soon as possible; and
   •   Keeping employers costs down.


These interviewees also pointed to good examples of injured workers who have been
retrained and re-employed. They also referred to the potential for a confrontational
mindset between employees/union and employer over this – “it’s an adversarial system.”


They also see a trend of companies becoming more interested in return-to-work and in
expenditures on Workers’ Compensation Board insurance, and are therefore taking a
safety/health and preventative approach, including putting more effort into sophisticated
hiring practices.


A disability management interviewee suggested that employers ask, “How can we
accommodate you?” He cited the example of Weyerhaeuser who reduced LTD claim
duration by 40% in 2003.


Describe a few examples of practices you have used or experienced that have
been effective in recruiting and/or retaining persons with disabilities.


Employer interviewees offered more critical success factors than examples, including the
following:


   •   Treat everyone with respect;
   •   Acknowledge the disability;
   •   Ensure supervisors are brought into the fold;
   •   Attend job forums/fairs;
   •   Use affinity groups to help support each other and raise awareness;
   •   Build trust relationships with agencies, the community and nationally; and
   •   Showcase access technology.


Agencies such as People in Motion, Ability Edge and CCRA and companies such as the
Royal Bank and Vancouver Credit Union were offered as examples.



                                             59
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




A return-to-work interviewee cited two examples of injured forest industry workers being
accommodated through modest technical aids and job reassignment. One employer
interviewee is from one of the first companies in British Columbia to have a modified
work centre where workers are brought back early and gradually integrated back into
regular employment.


Persons with disabilities cited specific examples of effective practices involving
companies such as Long and McQuade Music, McDonalds, Convergs (Kamloops),
TYES, etc.


Identify what you think are some key critical success factors that enable
employers to effectively recruit and retain persons with disabilities?


Employer interviews provided some good suggestions:


   •   Focus on the best candidate not the disability;
   •   Strong leadership support (i.e. CEO) - message that it makes good business
       sense;
   •   Developing strong relationships with persons with disabilities agencies; and
   •   Having resources/tool kits for managers.


A return-to-work interviewee suggested the following key factors for successful disability
management:


   •   Support and commitment of co-workers is critical;
   •   Unequivocal and clear leadership by both management and labour has to be a
       priority; and
   •   Leadership from the top.


Persons with disabilities and service providers suggested several other critical success
factors, such as:


   •   Creating mentorship programs with schools;
   •   Having someone in the company that believes in you and assists you when
       required and give employees with disabilities room for advancement;
   •   Providing improved assessment of persons with disabilities’ abilities and finding
       out why they have not been employed for years;
   •   Providing specialized employment services and on-the-job support;


                                             60
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Having someone who liaises between client and employer; and
   •   Supporting, educating and training the employer and making other employees
       comfortable so the person with a disability feels accepted and part of the team.


How can employers, industry groups, representatives of persons with disabilities,
and service providers improve mechanisms and programs to more readily match
persons with disabilities with appropriate employment opportunities?


Employer interviewees had no simple solutions in response to this question, but offered
the following suggestions:


   •   One employer interviewee was surprised about the low level of knowledge of
       relevant government programs among businesses in his sector; and called for
       better marketing of these programs;
   •   A employer interviewee from a large corporation pointed to a disconnect in
       persons with disabilities agencies on what the real work culture is like; thus, there
       needs to be education on the agency side in addition to education on the
       employer side;
   •   One employer interviewee indicated this was not an issue since they have not
       been hiring; and
   •   Another employer interviewee suggested that when persons with disabilities
       groups approach businesses, they need to present a strong cost-benefit
       rationale, a good business case. His experience is this often receives superficial
       attention.


A return-to-work interviewee suggested a centrally developed database of individuals
and agencies. Other interviewees did not offer a lot of suggestions specifically pertaining
to the “matching” part of this question but offered other recommendations. An
interviewee also made a comment about the importance of the manager/supervisor role
in employing persons with disabilities:


       “It’s at the management/supervisory level – not the CEO or senior
       management – it’s the people that have to implement good intentions and
       work directly with persons with disabilities that we have to influence; we
       need to equip them with skills to do things like job analysis and to
       determine what skills are needed.”




                                             61
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




What kinds of supports and resources do you think are most important for
persons with disabilities and for helping employers to recruit and retain persons
with disabilities?


See also, employer interviewee’s responses to the next question. In response to this
question, they offered a few suggestions:


   •   Knowing what field they want to get into;
   •   Sector-specific tools for employers;
   •   Sharing best practices;
   •   Websites employers can tap into; and
   •   For smaller organizations – advice on working closely with agencies, tapping into
       training support, and manuals they can utilize.


Service provider and persons with a disability interviewees offered some disability-
specific suggestions:


   •   Access to in-house medical benefits;
   •   Flexible scheduling of work hours;
   •   Job coaching is essential;
   •   Disability-specific advice on accommodations; and
   •   Allowance for part-time study.


One interviewee suggested the Ministry or Minister’s Council champion the idea of larger
corporations having a vocational rehabilitation specialist or “disability support person.”


What kinds of government assistance programs/services/incentives would help
you to recruit and retain persons with disabilities? Who should provide this
assistance?


The employer interviewees offered the following suggestions for government support:


   •   Tax credits for hiring persons with disabilities;
   •   Tax credits or other incentives for making a workplace more accessible, including
       physical modifications;
   •   Having good job fairs for persons with disabilities (sponsored by government);
       and



                                              62
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Increasing awareness among employers about existing government programs in
       this area (recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities).


A few other interviewees also suggested incentives to employers and reducing red tape
in existing government programs to make it easier for employers to hire persons with
disabilities. Another interviewee did not support wage subsidies because he felt
employers need to buy into the value of hiring persons with disabilities, not just for
government funding.


A number of service providers and persons with disabilities interviewed called for funding
to support adaptive equipment (“like four other provinces”) and other work-related
supports:


   •   Support to pay for interpreters to allow employers to hire individuals with hearing
       impairment;
   •   Medical benefits for those who leave income assistance for employment;
   •   Funding transportation costs to get to work; and
   •   Funding assistance to help transition into employment.


One service provider interviewee suggested the single most important thing government
could do is to provide funds for major public and employer education campaigns
regarding persons with disabilities in the workforce.


Employer Handbook Suggestions


All interviewees were very supportive of the idea of an Employer Handbook. Employer
interviewee comments included the following suggestions:


   •   Show examples of how easy it can be to work out and not cost a lot; show there
       is no impediment to hiring many persons with disabilities;
   •   The handbook should be available on-line and on a website that is highly visible
       and employers who are “looking for motivated individuals” should be directed to
       it;
   •   Provide a 1-800 helpline for employers needing assistance;
   •   Information on costs and examples that show the business case for hiring
       persons with disabilities; and
   •   Examples of simple worksite accommodations (e.g. a person’s work schedule)
       and where to get more information.


                                             63
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Other interviewees made several suggestions about the content, format and use of such
a resource.


Other Information


In questions 3.1 through 4.3 of the interview guide, key informants provided valuable
information about relevant studies and reports, individuals with relevant expertise,
candidates for case studies, employer champions, etc. These are summarized in the
appendix to this report. Most interviewees were interested in the December Minister’s
Council forum and all individuals interviewed would like a copy of the summary research
report when it is available.


4.3      EMPLOYER SURVEY


4.3.1    Results

Introduction


As described in the research methodology section, the WCG International database of
employers containing approximately 115,000 businesses and public-sector organizations
was used as the master frame for drawing random samples. A small number of
supplementary samples were also selected from lists of public sector organizations that
were found to be under-represented in WCG International’s database, and from
members of the British Columbia Human Resource Managers’ Association (HRMA).
Altogether, the project team contacted approximately 5,000 employers with targeted
completion of at least 500 responses. A sub-sample of the employers were sent the long
form survey with over 60 questions and the reminder received the short form survey with
26 core questions, which were a subset of the long form survey. Thus all respondents
received the 26 core questions. The long form and the core short form questionnaires
are shown in Appendices 1 and 2.


The actual survey responses numbered 520, consisting of 224 long form completions
with the remainder being short form completions. The survey covered a broad cross-
section of British Columbia businesses and sought information in following eight areas:


      1. Employer profile;
      2. Awareness of disabilities;


                                            64
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




    3. Barriers to work for persons with disabilities;
    4. Approach to reducing barriers;
    5. Training and job carving opportunities;
    6. Workplace supports for persons with disabilities;
    7. Assistance in hiring and retaining persons with disabilities; and
    8. Topics for inclusion in the Employer Handbook.


The results were analyzed by overall averages of respondents, by whether the
respondent had employees with disabilities, and by the five Ministry of Human
Resources provincial regions.



Key Findings

Awareness of disabilities is fairly high


On average, 69% of respondents said that there was a high level of awareness of
disabilities among their managers.


Majority of employers have no employees with disabilities


Only 31% of the businesses surveyed had any employees with disabilities, while over
two-thirds of employers had no such employees.

Communication and sight impairments are the greatest barriers to work


Respondents were more likely to indicate that communication and seeing impairments
were the greatest barriers to work (26%), while mental health disabilities were the least
cited (12%). However, the overall averages for all disabilities were quite low, indicating
that in the majority of companies, these disabilities would not constitute a substantial
barrier.

Currently, only modest efforts are being made to reduce barriers


Few companies have disability management plans (10%) or workplace supports for
persons with disabilities (22%). Some specific supports were used in more companies,
such as flexible work hours (28%), and a friendly and encouraging work environment
(33%).


                                             65
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Funding is the most desired form of assistance
On the question of what assistance respondents would find helpful in hiring or retaining
persons with disabilities, funding for training was the most popular response, with an
average score of 27%, with funding for modifications to the workspace (26%) and an
incentive/wage subsidy (25%) close behind.



Respondents are most likely to believe that Government programs should be
responsible for providing assistance


Thirty-eight percent of respondents identified Government programs as being
responsible for assistance in employing persons with disabilities, compared to 17% who
believed that company programs were responsible.



Companies with employees with disabilities are more aware and have better
support systems


As could be expected, companies with employees with disabilities are more likely to be
aware of disabilities than those without. As well, on the support and reducing barriers
questions, those companies with employees with disabilities scored between five and 36
percentage points higher.



The Vancouver Island region and Vancouver Coastal regions have the most
workplace supports; the Interior has the fewest


Thirty percent of respondents from the Vancouver Island region indicated that they had
workplace supports, compared to 17% for respondents from the Interior. Twenty-five
percent of Vancouver region respondents indicated that they had a disability
management plan, compared to less than 10% for respondents from the Interior.




                                            66
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Respondent Profile

Type of Industry


The respondents were from a wide cross-section of British Columbia businesses. The
major industry sectors include manufacturing (7%), retail and wholesale trade (9%) and
the public sector (13%). There were also a considerable number of respondents (32%)
who used the “Other” category.


                                                 Figure 1


                               Industry of Respondents


                           Manufacturing
                                                                            Other
               Finance, Insurance,
                   Real Estate
          Construction



     Arts, Entertainment
       and Recreation
                                                                                      Professional,
        Accommodation                                                                 Scientific and
       and Food Services                                                            Technical Services

          Transportation and
             Warehousing
                                                                               Public Sector
                                 Retail and                                  (health, education,
                               Wholesale Trade           Resource            public admin., etc.)
                                                         industries
                                                    (agriculture, mining,
                                                       forestry, etc.)




                                                   67
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Size of Company


Employer size was only included in the long form survey. In this sub-sample, the
respondents companies had a substantial range in terms of company size. The great
majority of respondents (82%) were from companies with less than 50 employees.



                                        Figure 2



                               Size of Company


                                                              >250
                                                            employees

                                                               101-250
                                                              employees
                1-50
              employees                                        51-100
                                                              employees




                                           68
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Location


Using the addresses provided, respondents’ locations were matched to the five Ministry
of Human Resources regions as shown in the figure below.



                                        Figure 3




                                                                                       26%
                                                                                       25%
                                                                               24%
                                                                               13%
                                                                               11%




                                           69
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Of the respondents, 31% employed persons with disabilities, and 69% did not. This
distinction will be used throughout the rest of the report to highlight the differences
between those employers who had persons with disabilities on staff and those who did
not.


The long form sub-sample of the survey showed that only 50% of employees with
disabilities were employed full-time, compared to 66% of all employees. 10% of
respondents noted that their company had had difficulty in recruiting persons with
disabilities, while 5% indicated that there were difficulties in retaining persons with
disabilities.


Nine percent of respondents’ companies have had employees become disabled since
they joined the company. Given that only 30% of the companies have any employees
with disabilities, this constitutes about a third of the companies with current employees
with disabilities.



                                          Figure 4



                                 Employees with disabilities

                      0 employees                                      >10 employees
                     w ith disabilites                                 w ith disabilities

                                                                              5-10
                                                                           employees
                                                                        w ith disabilities




                                                                1-5 employees
                                                                w ith disabilities




                                              70
  RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




 Awareness of Disabilities


 Respondents were asked whether they believed that their managers were reasonably
 familiar with disabilities. In 69% of the companies surveyed, respondents believed that
 more than 50% of their managers were aware of the disabilities. As could be expected,
 respondents from companies who had employees with disabilities were more likely to
 respond that their managers were familiar with disabilities.


                                          Figure 5



                             Awareness of Disabilities



    PwD Employer




Non-PwD Employer



                     0%     10%    20%     30%     40%     50%   60%     70%    80%     90%




                                             71
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Barriers to Work


Respondents were asked about what disabilities would prove to be barriers to work in
their company. The two disabilities that formed the greatest barriers were
communicating and seeing impairments, while mental health disabilities were the least-
cited barrier. Overall, the average on this question was quite low (around 25%), showing
that, in the majority of companies, these disabilities would not form a substantial barrier.



                                               Figure 6



                                       Would Barriers Affect Work?

   Communicating impairment

          Hearing impairment

           Seeing impairment

       Mental health disability

            Learning disability

           Mobility impairment

                                  0%      5%      10%      15%    20%    25%     30%       35%   40%

                                               Non-PwD Employer   PwD Employer   Average




                                                   72
  RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




 Methods of Reducing Barriers


 Respondents were asked to indicate which policies and programs they had in place to
 reduce barriers and support recruitment, training or retention of persons with disabilities.
 The most often cited was flexible work breaks, with an average of 28%, while funding for
 workplace support and mechanisms to integrate persons with disabilities into social
 activities were the lowest. Across all categories, the employers of persons with
 disabilities scored considerably higher.


                                              Figure 7


                                Methods of Reducing Barriers


                                  Skills training


                          Disability leave policy

Adequate equipment to accommodate employee
                   needs

  Funding for workplace support for people with
                   disabilities

           Emergency procedures and training


          Disability awareness training for staff

   Mechanisms to integrate persons into social
                   activities

                           Flexible work breaks

   Recruitment policies and practices aimed at
      encouraging people with disabilities

           Disability-related workplace support


                                                    0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45%

                                                    Non-PwD Employer   PwD Employer   Average




                                                    73
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   Training and Job Carving


   Respondents were asked about various aspects of training and job carving
   opportunities. Twenty-four percent of respondents indicated that there were job-carving
   opportunities at their workplace, and almost 40% of respondents were willing to adapt
   job training towards different learning abilities. However, less than 10% of respondents
   identified that they had disability awareness training available; even of those
   respondents whose companies had employees with disabilities, only 18% had disability
   awareness training.


                                             Figure 8



                                Training and Job Carving

           Job Carving
          Opportunities


Willingness to Adapt Job
         Training


   Disability Aw areness
           Training


                           0%    10%        20%        30%      40%      50%         60%       70%

                                       Non-Pw D Employer     Pw D Employer   Average




                                                  74
   RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




 Workplace Supports for Persons with Disabilities


 Respondents were asked to state whether their company had supports that directly
 benefited persons with disabilities. The two most common supports were the disability
 management process and the return-to-work programs, although those were only in 17%
 of the companies surveyed. Understandably, companies that had employees with
 disabilities were much more likely to have direct supports than those that did not.


                                                Figure 9



                                               Supports

   Disability Management Process for Staff w ho
                 become Disabled

                                         Retraining


Benefits plan design for w orkers w ith disabilities

Return to w ork programs / disability management
                    programs

                            Disability management


                                                       0%   5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%

                                                            Without Pw Ds   With Pw Ds   Average




                                                       75
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Workplace Supports to Create a Better Work Environment for People with
Disabilities


Respondents were asked to identify whether they had workplace supports to create a
better work environment for people with disabilities. Twenty-two percent of respondents
stated that they had workplace supports in place. Those respondents who had
employees with disabilities were much more likely to answer in the affirmative (46%)
than those who did not (10%). This same pattern follows generally through all of the
specific supports. The least mentioned support was more suitable evaluation
procedures, with an average score of 10%, while the most mentioned support was a
friendly and encouraging work environment (33%).
                                                     Figure 10



                                        Work Supports Available

         Workplace Support For People with Disabilities

           Support to family (e.g. networking, counseling
                           services, etc.)
     Company policies and programs providing disability
                         support

                   Disability awareness training for staff


                                            Skills training


    Provide a friendly and encouraging work environment


                    More suitable evaluation procedures


             Modify or provide assistance with job tasks


                                     Flexible work hours


                                Disability related support


                    Emergency procedures and training


                     Workspace/equipment modification


                                 Easier building access


                                                              0%   10%   20%     30%   40%      50%   60%

                                                              Non-PwD Employer   PwD Employer    Average


                                                              76
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Respondents were also asked what supports were needed. In the responses to this
question, the discrepancy between those companies with people with disabilities and
those without was much reduced, and in two cases (provide assistance, and disability-
related support), the trend was somewhat reversed with companies with no employees
with disabilities scoring slightly higher.


                                                 Figure 11


                                       Specific Supports Needed

          Support to family (e.g. networking, counseling
                          services, etc.)
     Company policies and programs providing disability
                         support

                   Disability awareness training for staff

                                            Skills training

                Provide a friendly and encouraging work
                               environment

                   More suitable evaluation procedures

             Modify or provide assistance with job tasks

                                     Flexible work hours

                               Disability related support

                    Emergency procedures and training

                    Workspace/equipment modification

                                 Easier building access

                                                              0%    5%    10%     15%   20%      25%   30%

                                                               Non-PwD Employer   PwD Employer   Average




                                                       77
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Assistance in Hiring or Retaining Persons with Disabilities


Respondents were also asked what assistance they would find useful in hiring or
retaining a person with a disability. Funding assistance was the most popular form of
assistance. Funding for training was the most popular response, with an average score
of 27%, with funding for modifications to the workspace (26%) and incentive/wage
subsidy (25%) close behind. This could be due to the perceived costs of employing
persons with disabilities although, as shown later in this section, respondents’ estimates
of direct costs associated with employing persons with disabilities is quite low.


                                        Figure 12



                                     Assistance Wanted

     An incentive/wage subsidy to hire people
                  with disabilities
           Networks to create partnerships for
            recruiting people with disabilities
        Information on how to recruit disabled
                       persons
     Training course for staff on how to assist
            coworkers with disabilities
      Disability awareness material or course
                      for staff

        Program providing workplace support


                           Funding for training


         Funding for workplace modifications

                                                  0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45%

                                                  Non-PwD Employer   PwD Employer   Average




                                             78
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Responsibility for Assistance


Respondents were also asked who was responsible for providing the assistance. The
most popular response was government programs; with local disability support services
the second most popular source on average. However, respondents with employees
with disabilities were more likely to say that the employers are more responsible than
local disability support services.


                                           Figure 13



                                      Source of Assistance

 Local disability support
        services

  Government Program


     Company Program


             Employers


                            0%       10%      20%       30%       40%         50%           60%

                                     Non-PwD Employer   PwD Employer    Average




                                              79
     RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Costs


The sub-sample of long form survey participants were asked to identify direct costs
associated with employing persons with disabilities (purchase and maintenance of aids,
skills training, and specialized equipment or renovations per employee with a disability).
Only 41 of 224 long form respondents identified these costs. As the chart below shows,
these costs are minimal, with the majority of respondents identifying costs of less than
$200 per employee with a disability, and 76% of respondents identifying costs less than
$500.


                                                   Figure 14



                  Cost for supports per employee with disabilities




0%        10%      20%           30%     40%        50%        60%        70%       80%           90%   100%

                Less than $200    $200 - $499   $500 - $999   $1,000 - $1,999   $2,000 - $5,000




                                                        80
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Topics for Inclusion in the Employer Handbook


Respondents were asked which items they felt would be useful in the Employer
Handbook planned by the Minister’s Council on Employment of Persons with Disabilities.
All topics scored approximately the same, with average scores of 26-34%. The three
topics with the highest average ratings were Resources and Programs; How to Identify
Workplace Barriers; and Human Resources Policies for Persons with Disabilities.


                                                Figure 15


                           Usefulness of Topics in Handbook

     Human resources policies for persons
              with disabilities

        How to identify workplace barriers


             Disability Awareness Training


                      Work place supports


               Work place accomodations


                    Resources & programs

    Job carving (designing the job to fit the
             individual strengths)
        Disability management for existing
                    employees

                   Retention best practices


                Recruitment best practices

                                                0%        10%   20%   30%    40%     50%       60%

                                                  Non-PwD Employer    PwD Employer   Average




                                                     81
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Best Practices


The sub-sample of long form survey respondents was asked to identify best practices in
employing persons with disabilities. There responses are in the table below.



           Best Practices
           Open-mindedness and willingness
           Patience
           Alternative interview formats, job carving
           Our policies
           Build employee’s self esteem
           Flexibility
           Government should pay employer instead of the person getting
           assistance
           We try not to treat people differently because of disabilities and
           we create opportunities for everyone to reach their potential



Model Employers


The long form survey respondents were also asked to identify companies and
organizations they considered to be model employers of persons with disabilities. The
responses are shown below.



           Model employers
           A&W/Duncan, Casino in Nanaimo, Mt. Prevost High School
           Pulp Mill
           Municipality of Saanich
           Office Work
           BC Hydro
           Canadian Mental Health Association
           Canada Revenue Agency
           Recycle Plus – Grande Prairie, AB
           McDonald’s, Safeway
           Vancouver Island Centre for People with Disabilities


                                            82
     RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Regional Differences


The data was analyzed using the regions as defined by the Ministry of Human
Resources to look at whether there were any trends in the comparison among regions.10
This section highlights a few significant differences among regions.

Employers of Persons with Disabilities


There were notable differences between the regions in terms of how many respondents
indicated that their company employed persons with disabilities. Companies in
Vancouver Island region were the most likely to employ persons with disabilities, at 38%,
while respondents from the North region were the least likely with 26%.



                                                        Figure 16


                                   Employers of Persons with Disabilities


          North


        Interior


        Fraser


Van. Coastal


 Van. Island


                   0%        5%          10%         15%          20%          25%         30%          35%         40%         45%




10
   As 68 companies did not provide a classifiable address, their data is not included in this analysis and so the findings in
this section may not directly reflect the full extent of findings in the previous sections.




                                                             83
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Awareness of Disabilities


There was some minor variation among the regions on the question of awareness of
disabilities – in both the Interior and the North regions, 80% of respondents noted that
more than 50% of their managers were aware of disabilities, compared to 69% in the
Fraser region.


                                         Figure 17



                                 Awareness of Disabilities


      North


     Interior


     Fraser


Van. Coastal


 Van. Island


            62%    64%     66%     68%      70%      72%    74%     76%     78%     80%     82%




                                            84
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Workplace Supports and Disability Management


Respondents from the Vancouver Island region (30%) and the Vancouver Coastal region
(28%) were most likely to say that they had workplace supports in place for persons with
disabilities, while respondents from the Interior were the least likely with 16%.


With regards to Disability Management, respondents from Vancouver Island and
Vancouver Coastal regions were most likely to say that they had a disability
management program or process. Respondents from the Interior region were again the
lowest, with less than 10%.


Figure 18


                     Workplace Supports and Disability Management

                                                                         North
                                                           Interior
   Workplace Supports                                                  Fraser
                                                                                  Van. Coastal
                                                                                             V. Island

                                                North
                                          Interior
 Disability Management                                  Fraser
                                                                                   Van. Coastal
                                                                                V. Island

                         0%   5%       10%          15%          20%            25%         30%          35%




                                              85
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




4.4 CASE STUDIES


Introduction
As part of the research project, the consortium agreed to conduct between five and
seven employer case studies. The purpose of the case studies is to identify and
document successful employment or return-to-work situations from a variety of
employers throughout the province. Seven case studies have been completed. The
breakdown of employers by type is as follows:


                            Type                      Number
                            Financial Institution     1
                            Small business            2
                            Large retail operation    1
                            Education                 1
                            Resource industry         1
                            Health sector             1


Methodology
Case studies were conducted through site visits or through telephone interviews. For
some employers, a single interview was all that was required. For others, several visits
were made to talk to company owners, human resources staff, managers and the
employees themselves.


Background information on the company was collected at the start of the interviews,
followed by a number of questions around employment practices in general, the
recruitment of employees with disabilities, return-to-work practices for existing
employees and general advice to other employers. In addition, employers were asked to
supply copies of checklists, forms, processes and other materials used to facilitate their
work.


Some interviews were also videotaped with the permission of those involved.




                                             86
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Case Studies

New Ports Travel

Background
New Ports Travel is a full service travel agency that has been in operation in Victoria for
nearly 20 years. Current owners, Ash Mukherjee and Irene Hamburg, both have years of
experience in the industry; they purchased the location in 2003. The company employs
three full-time and four part-time staff, two of whom have disabilities.


Like many small businesses, New Ports operates without dedicated human resource
staff or formal HR procedures. The process of hiring employees with disabilities and
making them part of the New Ports team is still fairly new for the company, but the
owners already consider the experience a success.


One of New Ports’ employees is Paul, a back-office staffer who currently works three
half days per week at New Ports for close to minimum wage. Paul has a psychiatric
disability. His employment history prior to joining New Ports was unstable. His longest
position was one year and much of his employment was as a temporary labourer. Now,
thanks in part to better treatment, Paul hopes this job will be more stable and
permanent.

Motivation
For New Ports, it was the desire to be good corporate citizens, coupled with the belief
that people with disabilities might prove to be loyal employees that motivated the
process. The owners also felt that employees with disabilities would be less vulnerable
to offers from other companies and that they would have less turnover, thereby offering
continuity in client servicing. As for Paul, his goals were to attain full-time employment
and to leave disability benefits behind.

Process
New Ports does not have any formalized processes in place to assist its owners with
hiring, although the owners state that they have substantial experience with the hiring
process. In order to find job candidates with disabilities, they looked at various
government agencies that deal with people with disabilities, but didn’t find any help.
Finally, through another business, they heard about Triumph Vocational Services and
contacted them. Triumph supplied the company with a number of resumes and some
advice on the hiring process. New Ports proceeded to interview candidates and settled


                                             87
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




on three people that they thought were qualified, two of whom are still with the company;
one person did not work out and chose to leave.


According to Paul, one of the successful hires, “Triumph played a big role in getting me
the job. I had tried other job agencies with no success.” While he didn’t have any specific
training for this job, the four volunteer positions he held prior to starting at New Ports
helped him learn some of the needed skills.

Challenges
“Finding job candidates with disabilities was very difficult,” says Ash. It took some time
for Triumph to match Paul and New Ports. When the match did happen and New Ports
hired Paul, a few issues remained unresolved. Despite having work a few days a week,
he is looking forward to more. Paul welcomes the opportunity to increase his stamina
and would like to increase his work hours.

Support
When it comes to accommodating an employee with a disability, Ash looks at it from a
business case point of view. If the cost of accommodating someone is offset by the fact
that they have found a valuable employee, then the decision is easy.


Ash’s approach to accommodating Paul involved looking at what Paul could and couldn’t
do and then fine-tuning the job accordingly. In Paul’s case, the only accommodation he
needed was to be given the freedom to take a break for a short time whenever he felt it
was necessary.


When asked about whether he would hire other people with disabilities, Ash replied that
he would definitely consider it if the person was qualified. Furthermore, he indicated that
he would make the necessary accommodations to bring them on board.

Outcomes
Paul has been with the company for a number of months now and has become a
valuable addition to the New Ports team. Working with client data, Paul completely
revamped the New Ports customer database, allowing the company to conduct targeted
marketing campaigns and to provide even better service to its clients. For example, the
company can now select people for mailings based upon their travel interests (i.e.
cruises) or other demographics. This will improve the returns on their marketing
investment.




                                              88
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Looking back on his recent accomplishment, Paul adds, “I am really happy to have the
chance to showcase what I can do.” Ash readily agrees. “It’s nice to find a willing learner
with some abilities to complete a task.” He has found the experience with Paul to be very
good. He calls Paul “brilliant” and expects to increase his hours soon and to get him
involved with other kinds of work.

Advice
Ash offers the following words of wisdom to fellow employers:
   •   “Disability goes beyond the more obvious mobility impairments.”
   •   “Take some risks. There’s not much to lose since you’re not paying them
       professional wages. It might work out well.”
   •   “Take an interest in the person and go beyond the obvious barriers.”


Paul has this advice for employers:
   •   “Lose your prejudice.”
   •   “Fully assess potential employees as to their capabilities.”
   •   “Be open to what we can do and our talents.”
   •   “Keep your recruitment process open to people with disabilities.”



Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Background
Canadian Natural Resources (CNR) is an oil and natural gas exploration, development
and production company founded in Calgary, Alberta in 1989. It has over 1,600
employees, a number of whom work at its Fort St. John regional office. The human
resources contact for its British Columbia operations is Brenda Peterson.


According to Peterson, CNR has an employee named Bob, inherited through one of its
B.C. contractors. While performing his duties as an Assistant Operator with the
contractor, he suffered a back injury.

Motivation
“Due to the nature of the work in the oil and gas industry, we need our employees to be
in good physical condition,” says Peterson. Not only is this needed to ensure high
productivity; it is necessary from a safety standpoint.




                                             89
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Process
Canadian Natural Resources does not currently have a mandate to specifically hire
people with disabilities. Most employees enter Canadian Natural Resources through a
contractor for the company. Similarly, although they have a commitment to health and
safety, there are no specific policies or corporate values around helping a disabled
worker return to work other than those mandated by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
When an employee does get injured, CNR goes through all the formal processes set out
by the Workers’ Compensation Board.

Challenges
“There are no light-duties in the field,” states Peterson. “Employees who are not in top
physical condition, possibly due to a disability, may compromise the safety of everyone.”
Therefore, injured employees are not permitted to return to work unless they have fully
recovered.

Support
CNR has a Long-Term Disability Insurance program. An employee is entitled to be on
this program for two years. After that, the company is no longer obligated to employ that
person. Other supports available to CNR include the services of the Workers’
Compensation Board, insurance wage subsidies, rehabilitation and training subsidies,
and the federal Employment Insurance program.

Outcomes
After being acquired by CNR, Bob underwent a year of retraining and has returned as an
Operator. His duties include driving to and from the site, responding to on-site
emergencies, assuring equipment is “up and running,” and testing. Bob is back at a
regular wage.


This type of success is not the norm for CNR or for the oil and gas industry in general.
Peterson notes, “I can’t think of any other employee who has returned after being on our
Long-term Disability Insurance program.” She suspects that since most of them have
high skill levels, they seek less physical work in other areas.

Advice
According to Peterson:
   •   “Don’t hesitate to hire or retain employees with disabilities if they are of a good
       work ethic.”




                                             90
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   “Employees returning to work after an injury, or who have a disability, have a
       tendency to be more loyal employees.”
   •   “There can be less financial risk employing people with disabilities because of
       subsidies.”

Universal Printing & Bindery Ltd.

Background
Located in North Vancouver, Universal Printing and Bindery offers digital printing,
design, offset printing, high-speed copying and associated services. The company is
owned by Shawn Hossein and has been in business for five years. Universal currently
has four employees, two of whom with disabilities.


John is one of Universal’s employees with a disability, having suffered two previous back
injuries. He has over 22 years of experience in the printing industry and works in the
pressroom. John’s second injury in September 2001 forced him to leave his previous
employer. Subsequently, John received some training through the Workers’
Compensation Board and was recently hired by Hossein at Universal.


Universal also has an employee with a mental illness who came to the company through
the Triumph Vocational Services program. She has years of experience in graphic
design. By bringing her on board, Universal has been able to benefit from this
experience with very little need for accommodation on their part.

Motivation
In the past, Universal worked with groups that would send them people with mental
disabilities for work experience. This helped Hossein to learn more about their abilities
and to become open to the idea of hiring someone with a disability full-time.


For Hossein, the fact that someone may have a disability does not concern him. As he
puts it, “As long as they can perform the job, that’s what matters.” In reality, he finds
hiring people with disabilities to be a good deal for his company since he can offer
wages that match their lower productivity. “I don’t see it as taking advantage of them; it’s
just that the pay matches what they produce,” adds Hossein.


Besides the financial efficiency of hiring employees with disabilities, Hossein believes it
makes his company a good corporate citizen as well. According to him, “If our business




                                              91
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




can help, that’s great. I love to help anybody I can and in return they’re helping my
company to grow and get stronger.”

Process
Hossein is the person responsible for doing the hiring at Universal. When posting jobs in
the newspaper or on the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website, he
specifically states that Universal is open to hiring people with disabilities. While relying
on these forms of advertising, Hossein has yet to actively contact disability organizations
when recruiting new staff.


Once Hossein does find job candidates, he uses a slightly more thorough interview
process for people with disabilities. “I explain the job more fully and check to see if the
person feels that they can handle it. This helps the candidate to identify any problems
that may exist.”


John’s journey to the interview chair at Hossein’s company wasn’t so straightforward
unfortunately. He didn’t know it at the time but when he sustained his most recent back
injury in 2001, John’s previous employer wasn’t interested in a return-to-work process for
him. John explains, “Because they gave me such a run around, I spent the last three
years in limbo. I wish none of this had ever happened, but that’s the way it is.”


It was only after going through over 300 company contacts presented to him at a
Workers’ Compensation Board job search program that John eventually came in contact
with Hossein at Universal.

Challenges
When Universal hires employees like John with disabilities, Hossein’s biggest concern
becomes one of keeping them on board. Hossein explains, “You don’t want to lose them
because they are helping your company grow and you’ve invested time and effort and
money into them. You don’t want to lose that and start from zero.”


John shares these sentiments - he’s looking forward to a long career at Universal.
However, two challenges remain - maintaining his energy levels and avoiding re-injury.
As he explains, “Work pretty much wipes me out each day. I also have to be really
careful with my back.”


John doesn’t see medication as an answer to these problems, adding that he would
prefer solutions that don’t interfere so much with the rest of his life.


                                              92
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Support
When hiring people with disabilities, Hossein looks for solutions that will keep them the
most productive and happy. As he says, “A happy employee is a much more productive
one.” To do this, Hossein accommodates their disability-related needs by doing things
like letting them go home early or take a day off when necessary.


Even though it is a small company, Hossein feels it is important for Universal to be
proactive: “We’re learning to find better ways to accommodate our employees all the
time. Every week we sit down for 30 minutes to talk about how things are going and
what we can do to improve things.”


Another big support, for John in particular, has been the Workers’ Compensation Board.
It funded computer equipment, software courses and sales training for John, and also
offered him a “job club.”

Outcomes
Universal is happy with the results so far, but Hossein admits that he and his staff are
still learning each day. He expects that issues will continue to arise but he is also
confident that they will learn to accommodate them.


In John’s case, the process at Universal started six months ago with training and he has
been working for about a month now. Universal’s ultimate goal is to have him move into
the sales area. According to Hossein, “With his printing knowledge, John would make a
good sales person as he could answer client answers.”


John appreciates Hossein’s efforts: “When Shawn hired me, he really took the heat off.”
John now hopes to continue using his skills and new training.

Advice
Hossein has a wealth of advice to offer:


   •   “There is lots of competition out there. People with disabilities have to realize this
       and compete within this environment.”
   •   “People with disabilities want to be involved, be productive, create, make money,
       and be with other employees as a team.”
   •   “You learn from having employees with disabilities. Most of us without disabilities
       take things for granted and don’t have a clue about some of the obstacles faced
       by others.”


                                             93
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   “We don’t expect perfection because even people without disabilities aren’t
       perfect. It’s a learning curve for the employer too, don’t forget.”
   •   “If I were disabled, I would want someone to look beyond that and see that I
       could do the job.”
   •   “There are challenges, but overall I think that what you get outweighs what you
       don’t get.”
   •   “Agencies need to be more aggressive in going to employers, especially small
       companies.”
   •   “The cost savings can help keep overhead down which is particularly good for
       small business.”
   •   “I challenge employers to try one person for a month…be open, don’t just write
       people off. Use this opportunity that’s available to us…you’ll be glad you did.”


John’s advice to employers is pretty straightforward:


   •   “Take a chance. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.”



North Island College

Background
North Island College (NIC), which opened in 1975, currently consists of four campuses
and four centres serving a population of 148,000 and a geographic region of 80,000
square kilometres. The campuses are located in Comox Valley, Campbell River, Port
Alberni, and Port Hardy, while the centres are located in Bella Coola, Cortes Island, Gold
River, and Ucluelet.


Throughout all its locations, NIC boasts over 9,200 students enrolled in credit courses
and over 1,200 students enrolled in continuing education courses. The college employs
over 400 people and operates in a unionized environment. Although NIC doesn’t track
how many employees have disabilities, estimates are that less than ten staff is off on
long-term disability claims at any given time.


The Director of Human Resources at NIC is Jennifer Holden. She is also chair of the
Employee Benefits Advisory Committee for Colleges and Institutes, a consortium of 16
colleges and institutes from around the province. She has worked extensively in the
disability management and return-to-work fields over the last several years.




                                             94
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Motivation
While NIC has experience with both the recruitment and the retention of people with
disabilities, most of its attention is focused in the retention area. With their highly-skilled
workforce, the college is eager to protect the investment that they have in their current
employees.

Process
In terms of recruitment, NIC does not do anything specific for people with disabilities
other than subscribing to the principles of the British Columbia Human Rights Code. In
addition, it attempts to ensure that its job descriptions are accurate and don’t
unintentionally discriminate or keep someone from applying.


North Island College also has access to support staff (i.e. interpreters, etc.) that can help
during the interviewing process if necessary. As well, there is always a Human
Resources staff member on the interview panel, which helps to ensure that interviews
are conducted professionally and fairly.


In the area of employee retention, NIC’s approach to return-to-work is based upon a
common plan developed and shared amongst 14 other colleges and institutes in B.C.
Working together has allowed the members of the group to develop better processes
and disability management practices.


When someone is injured or reports a disability, the college starts an immediate review
rather than waiting for a long-term disability claim to arise. They hope that this early
intervention will result in better outcomes.


During a review, the college’s human resources staff will work with the employee, the
insurance provider, medical practitioners, and the applicable union to put a plan into
place. There is also a joint faculty/management committee to help with the process for
faculty members.


Rehabilitation consultants meet with the employee early on and throughout the process
to ensure that appropriate treatment is recommended. If needed, the college will also
bring in ergonomic specialists to assess the work area and recommend changes to
accommodate an employee’s disability. NIC will then make the necessary
accommodations. It is hoped that this will result in better outcomes.




                                               95
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




At the same time, NIC works to protect the employee’s income, benefits, and pension by
negotiating agreements with the insurance carriers to handle return-to-work situations.
There is also support for the employee’s personal life (e.g. family issues) if the need
arises.


Finally, in order to ensure that these processes maintain their effectiveness, NIC holds
an annual benefits management conference for all employees to look at benefits as a
whole, including disability management and return-to-work.

Challenges
Holden rates NIC’s overall understanding of physical disabilities quite high but admits
that it is still learning about mental health issues, which can often be more complex. And
like many employers, NIC is also learning to deal with an aging workforce.


One of the issues arising for NIC is an increasing incidence of depression and mental
health issues. Tied to this is a rise in health insurance claims for anti-depressant
medication. Using this data, NIC is trying to be proactive by looking at preventative
programs so that it can avoid future long-term disability issues.

Support
NIC is serious about addressing disability-related issues. The college feels it is fully
accessible to employees from a physical standpoint, since it also needs to be accessible
to students. In terms of mental health issues, NIC is constantly expanding its awareness
of these disabilities thanks in part to representatives from local mental health agencies,
which come in to do presentations and workshops for NIC employees.


When it comes to return-to-work scenarios, Holden feels that NICs level of disability
awareness creates an accommodating atmosphere. The college has demonstrated its
openness to various options such as gradual return-to-work, etc. if it will help the
employee.


Holden is proud of successful accommodations NIC has made for faculty members.
Examples include the use of special hearing systems in the classroom, special eyewear,
and the use of a computerized prompting system by one faculty member with multiple
injuries requiring educational supports to enable that member to continue sharing
experiences and knowledge for teaching.




                                             96
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Their efforts in the return-to-work area are paying off. More than 60% of employees who
become disabled are returned to work, all of which helps North Island College protect
their skills investment and take care of their employees.



Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA)

Background
Vancouver Island Health Authority is one of six health authorities in British Columbia. Its
staff of approximately 16,500 employees provides a full range of health care services to
roughly 700,000 people living on Vancouver Island, the Gulf and Discovery Islands and
on the mainland adjacent to the Mt. Waddington and Campbell River areas.


At any given time, there are an estimated 500 staff off work on long-term disability and
80 to 100 off work on Workers’ Compensation Board claims. Many of people on long-
term disability are likely to be off work permanently due to factors such as age, the
nature of their disability and the difficulty in matching their skills and abilities to available
openings.


The VIHA division overseeing these injured workers is called Wellness and Safety, and it
consists of 30 staff spread across three offices. These staff members specialize in
particular areas such as safety, ergonomics, wellness, or disability claims.


Two employer interviews were completed for this case study. The first was with Rod
O’Connell, the Regional Manager of Employment Services, to talk about recruitment.
The second was with two Occupational Health Advisors, Adrienne Hook and Clive
Walton, to talk about the return-to-work process at VIHA.


The employee interviewed was Heather, a team clerk who does administration for a 30
member health care team in one of the regional offices. Heather, who was hired 11
years ago, was born with relatively mild cerebral palsy that didn’t interfere in any way
with her ability to work when she was hired. However, seven years ago she was
diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her knees, a condition of increasing pain that forced her
to stop work about two years ago and go on long-term disability.




                                               97
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Motivation
When it comes to hiring new employees, the main consideration for VIHA is to find
people who are able to do the job. When someone with a disability applies for a job, the
focus is on whether or not they have the required skills, not their disability.


Once skilled employees are hired, VIHA is determined to keep them. Health care is an
industry where workers are in short supply. As a result, keeping skilled workers on board
saves money for VIHA in the long run.

Process
During the recruitment process, the majority of positions are filled from resumes on file.
Before announcing these positions, job descriptions are carefully developed. This helps
to ensure that VIHA doesn’t unintentionally discriminate against people with disabilities
by listing unnecessary job skill requirements.


In terms of recruiting people with disabilities in particular, VIHA has nothing in place to
specifically target this population. For example, no non-discrimination clauses are used
on VIHA job postings, and the organization has no connections with disability groups or
agencies to facilitate the recruitment process.


Furthermore, the people doing the interviews do not necessarily have formal disability
awareness training. Although the Human Resources department will usually do the
preliminary screening, it may or may not be involved with the interview process.
Unfortunately, this means that disability awareness during hiring is dependant upon the
knowledge of the manager doing the hiring.


While there may be opportunities to strengthen its recruitment efforts towards people
with disabilities, VIHA has a more developed system in place on the disability
management and return-to-work side of things.


For existing staff, a disability might first be identified during a performance review, or
through employee self-disclosure. Once an issue is expressed, employees work with
their own doctor to diagnose the problem, complete an assessment of abilities and
limitations, and offer recommendations.


VIHA believes in early intervention to help resolve problems since it may prevent the
issues from becoming bigger. Based upon the doctor’s recommendations, VIHA’s
Wellness and Safety department will immediately begin a return-to-work process. Other


                                              98
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




stakeholders brought into the process at this point include: the insurance carriers,
unions, labour relations personnel, and managers.


After receiving the doctor’s recommendations, the Wellness and Safety department will
look at job modifications to see if that might solve the problem. If it is determined that the
employee could not return to their old job, the team would then look at other jobs within
the organization. Sometimes, this might involve retraining. If there is no work alternative
available within VIHA, the team will also consider external options with other employers.
With their long-term disability support in place, employees can pursue other types of
employment or volunteer work instead if they wish.


In Heather’s case, she went through various medical tests and treatments culminating
with a determination one year ago that there wasn’t much that could be done to improve
things. With this information, she contacted her long-term disability worker at Great West
Life Insurance (the insurance provider for VIHA) and began the return-to-work process.


Heather was then turned over to the Health Care Benefits Trust, whose job it was to
focus on return to work, and she was assigned a worker. The worker figured out what
supports would be needed and helped develop a return-to-work plan with the help of
Heather’s team, comprised of herself, a union representative, her manager, and a
member of the Wellness and Safety team. In the end, Heather was provided with
physical rehabilitation to help her become “work ready” after being away from work for
over a year. The team also worked to make any other accommodations needed and
gather the necessary equipment for Heather’s return.

Challenges
O’Connell feels that one of the challenges people face in getting hired by organizations
like VIHA is sometimes their own misconceptions about the jobs out there, thus they
self-select themselves out unnecessarily. For example, someone in a wheelchair may
think that nursing isn’t an option when the reality is that many types of nursing jobs are
doable from a wheelchair.


VIHA staff involved in Wellness and Safety have their own set of concerns, which will
only increase over time as its workforce continues to age (e.g. the average employee is
in his or her late 40s). The biggest concern cited, aside from the aging workforce, was
the lack of money available for retraining, modifications, etc. Tight health care budgets
mean that a business case is often required before money is spent on the return-to-work
process.


                                              99
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Another issue is the lack of alternate positions available to retrain someone for. This is
especially true for employees who are specialists (e.g. emergency room nurses),
although generalists don’t have it much easier. Many of the positions formerly held by
generalists have been contracted out, leaving far fewer entry-level options available to
them.


Finally, since VIHA employees belong to 16 different unions, the multiple contracts and
certifications can make it challenging to move employees around. Successfully
navigating this environment sometimes depends upon the experience of the steward
involved. For example, normally, you can’t transfer seniority between union certifications.
Using the duty to accommodate legal argument, however, they can often get the unions
and the employer to allow the transfer.

Support
While VIHA currently does not have any recruiting initiatives targeted towards people
with disabilities, it does have an interesting process going on with Aboriginal people.
VIHA sends out staff to talk to Aboriginal people about career opportunities within health
care as a way of raising vocational maturity. This may be an interesting option to
consider for disability groups as well.


The Wellness and Safety department does its share of educating and networking as
well. The department continually works to educate managers and staff around disability
and return-to-work issues. As well, it draws upon external resources when needed. The
Workers’ Compensation Board’s vocational rehabilitation program has been a good
source of information and support, as has the Occupational Health & Safety Agency for
Healthcare in British Columbia (OHSAH) and Healthcare Benefit Trust. The
Occupational Health & Safety Agency, which is funded by the Workers’ Compensation
Board, unions, and health employers, promotes safe and healthy workplaces and
provides money for supports.


Heather received a few different supports. She was provided with a wheelchair to get to
and from work and a walker for getting around the office. Her workspace was also
rearranged slightly to accommodate the extra space needed for her walker, and the
office bathroom was upgraded to include support bars. There was other support
available (i.e. counseling) but she didn’t use it as she has a good support system around
her. The Vancouver Island Health Authority’s Occupation Health group would also
periodically follow up with Heather to make sure that things were okay.


                                            100
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Outcomes
VIHA’s ongoing efforts to retain its employees are paying off. Its overall return-to-work
rate is over 50%, while its Workers’ Compensation Board insurance rates are going
down. The Vancouver Island Health Authority has also noticed a shift in terms of the
type of claims being made. Physical claims are going down while mental claims are
going up.


Heather’s case is a good example of success at VIHA. She started back in January of
this year on a gradual return-to-work plan (half days x 3 days per week to start). Within
six weeks, she was at full time again. Heather did not require any retraining, although
VIHA did provide an orientation to help her learn about changes in the administration
area since she had left work.


Even with her success, however, Heather still has good days and bad days. Fatigue is a
problem, as is pain management. Unfortunately, the six-month window has passed since
she returned to work, so she can’t rely upon long-term disability any longer. To make
matters worse, her vacation and sick time were used up when she first had problems, so
she doesn’t have much choice but to work at this point. In a sense, she feels tied to her
employer now as she doesn’t think she would be too employable on the open job
market.

Advice
Heather has the following advice to offer:


   •   A supportive manager and service coordinator really helped - she felt no
       pressure during the 21 months that she was off work;
   •   Remember, not everyone on long-term disability is trying to milk the system.
       Most people want to return to meaningful employment;
   •   She is still a valuable employee who wants to contribute to the organization;
   •   It might have been helpful to have some training/orientation for co-workers as
       part of the return-to-work process; and
   •   Work is social too and that’s important.




                                             101
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Thrifty Foods

Background
Thrifty Foods is a grocery retailer with 18 stores throughout Vancouver Island, Saltspring
Island and Tsawwassen. In addition to its grocery stores, the company also operates a
state-of-the-art commissary known as Thrifty Kitchens, and a 91,000 square foot
wholesale warehouse that supplies products to each Thrifty Foods location, and to more
than 60 other independent grocers in British Columbia. Thrifty Foods is the largest
private-sector employer on Vancouver Island, with 3,200 employees.


The company has a strong reputation as a community-minded business that takes care
of its customers and its employees. Although Thrifty Foods doesn’t track the overall
number of employees with disabilities, there are a number of people with disabilities
working for the company. It is estimated that between 30 to 65 employees are off work
at any given time due to disability.


Interviews were conducted with Gaya Cutler, Manager of Staffing and Recruitment,
Kathy Murphy, disAbility Manager, and an employee who wished to remain anonymous.

Motivation
Although there isn’t a formal company statement regarding the hiring of people with
disabilities, the company does have a strong culture of taking care of its employees and
being good corporate citizens. This has encouraged managers to be proactive and
flexible in this area. The Human Resources division, in particular, has been proactive in
a number of disability related areas including the recent creation of Kathy Murphy’s
position as disAbility Manager. In addition, Bonnie Campbell, the Vice-President of
Human Resources and Public Relations, is also active externally in promoting
employment opportunities for people with disabilities.


Like most employers, costs are also important and the company hopes that a properly
managed disability management program will help to reduce costs. Last year, for
example, employees missed 11,000 days due to injury and disability, costing the
company an estimated $400,000 in lost time. This year, they are working to lower the
number of missed days to less than 10,000. Their long-term goal is to reduce this
number by 50 %.




                                           102
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Process
When it comes to hiring new employees at the stores, location or department managers
make most of the decisions. The Human Resource team also supports the process.
Human Resources has developed corporate guidelines around hiring to ensure a fair
and effective process. Thrifty Foods has also used external groups such as the Greater
Vancouver Business Leadership Network, the Garth Homer Society and the Vancouver
Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Society to look at opportunities to match jobs with
people with disabilities.


In the area of disability management and return-to-work, the company has traditionally
tried to accommodate employees who become disabled through gradual return-to-work
programs, job carving and providing accommodations if needed. Currently, the company
is going beyond this to try to improve the process. A database is now being created to
capture key indicators of their performance in the return-to-work area and Kathy’s new
role as disAbility Manager means that there is now someone who can devote their full
attention to disability management.


Another key objective for Kathy is to get involved with employees sooner after they
become disabled. By being proactive in this regard, Thrifty Foods hopes to reduce the
impact of the disability on both the employee and the company.


Thrifty Foods also has an Occupational Health and Safety Auditor who conducts job
assessments and provides ideas on return-to-work options for employees. His duties
also include accident prevention.


When an employee does become disabled, a team is put together consisting of the
employee, Thrifty’s disability Manager, insurance representatives, medical practitioners
and rehabilitation professionals if required. Together, the team develops a return-to-work
plan for the employee. If job accommodations are needed, a business case may also be
completed if the costs are high.


In the case of an employee working in the Produce Department of one of the stores, the
return-to-work process has taken three years. The employee has been with the company
for 14 years. Three years ago, he injured his back on one of his days off. Initially, he
didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the injury and tried to take a few days off work to
recover. He returned for three weeks, but had to stop work due to the severe pain he
was experiencing.



                                            103
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Moving onto short-term and then long-term disability benefits, he worked his way
through medical treatment and then physical rehabilitation. He is still taking pain
medication, but he has been able to return to 80% of his old job. The graduated return-
to-work program started with just two hours per week and gradually increased his hours
to the current level. Moreover, he is not back to his old functionality, and expects to live
with chronic pain for the rest of his life.


Although he would have appreciated more contact from the company while he was off
work, he was impressed by the fact that Thrifty’s kept his job open for the three years
that he was away from work.

Challenges
One of the key issues on the hiring side is the decentralized nature of the hiring process.
With individual managers making hiring decisions, consistency is a challenge. To help
alleviate this issue, Human Resources is working to educate managers through effective
hiring workshops, corporate guidelines and simply being available to answer questions.


In the area of return-to-work, the company is trying to do a better job of contacting the
employee as soon as the disability is identified and providing supportive contact through
the return-to-work process.


Another challenge is the nature of the work. Many of the jobs at the company are in a
physically demanding retail setting. This can make it difficult to find a suitable job for
someone with a disability, but the company has been creative in developing “light duty”
jobs to help the return-to-work process.


Finally, like many employers in British Columbia, Thrifty Foods is also faced with an
aging workforce and a larger number of long-term employees. This underscores the
need to have a good disability management program in place.

Advice
Gaya Cutler advises employers to avoid tokenism and instead to focus on good
business decisions. When hiring people with disabilities, she says focus on their abilities
and how they might fit into and benefit the company. As well, it is important not to make
hiring decision based on assumptions or pre-conceived ideas. Rather, it would be better
to bring up any concerns you might have directly with the person to provide him or her
with the opportunity to respond to these concerns.


                                              104
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Kathy Murphy also suggests attending association meetings to keep apprised of
practices in other companies.


The number one recommendation from the employee who was in the process of
returning to work was for employers to maintain contact with their employees while they
are off work.



Scotiabank

Background
Scotiabank employs over 28,000 people across Canada. Of that number, 796 have
identified that they have a disability. This represents 2.8% of Scotiabank’s workforce.
The company has targeted a number of initiatives toward hiring people with disabilities
and also has human resources staff dedicated to employment equity. An interesting
internal resource is Scotiabank’s Human Resources Source, an online database of
human resources information that employees can access through the company’s
intranet system. The system includes information on workplace accommodation,
resources and funding assistance.


This case study focused on a single employee, Mark Saunders, a 19 year old employee
who works in Scotiabank’s Parksville Branch. Mark is a paraplegic who uses a
wheelchair.

                                            The Opportunity
                                            When Mark finished school and began his
                                            job search, a friend suggested that he try
                                            Scotiabank, as they were known for good
                                            hiring practices around people with
                                            disabilities. Mark subsequently applied for a
                                            job as a Customer Services Representative
                                            (CSR) at the Parksville Branch. Pauline
                                            Perro, the Branch’s Manager of Customer
                                            Service interviewed Mark and thought that he
                                            would be a valuable addition to the team.
Mark was offered a job, but there was a small problem – the wickets used by CSRs were
too tall and wouldn’t work with Mark’s wheelchair.


                                           105
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




The Solution
With help and support from head office, a new wicket was designed for Mark. It replaced
the lowered counter already in place for customers who used wheelchairs, and added
the full functionality of a CSR wicket. The entire process, from the initial request to the
design, building and installation of the wicket, took only two weeks. As a result, it was
ready for Mark to use as soon as his training was complete. An important part of
designing the new wicket was involving Mark with the measurement and layout.


When asked whether the new wicket was expensive, Pauline replied, “in terms of what
we have got back, no, it wasn’t expensive,” highlighting the notion that modifications are
best thought of as good investments.


No other modifications were required as the branch was already wheelchair accessible
to customers with disabilities.

The Result
Mark has now been employed for two months with the branch and looks forward to a
long career with Scotiabank. Pauline and the other staff have found Mark to be a bright,
hardworking member of the team.


Pauline feels that the accommodation required for Mark was very easy to make and well
worth the effort. One of the unexpected benefits was the overwhelming positive reaction
that the branch received from customers.


Summary of Findings
The case studies have provided some interesting information. Some of the themes that
emerged are:


   •   Most employers interviewed did not have formal processes in place around
       recruitment or return-to-work;
   •   For some employers, their insurance providers are a major source of information
       and resources around the return-to-work and disability management processes;
   •   A corporate intranet can be a useful way of disseminating disability information;
   •   Sourcing/finding persons with disabilities was challenging for some employers
       even if they wanted to hire someone with a disability;
   •   For smaller employers in particular, cost is a major driver;




                                             106
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Familiarity with people with disabilities is a key factor in opening doors (i.e. if an
       employer has had some experience with people with disabilities, they are more
       likely to be open to hiring people with disabilities);
   •   Connecting with disability organizations is a good way to raise awareness for
       employers;
   •   Helping people with disabilities understand the career options open to them at an
       early age so that they can undergo appropriate training is important;
   •   Some industries rely heavily upon subcontractors and thus have no direct input
       into hiring or retention policies for many of their employees;
   •   Early intervention is a key step in successful return-to-work programs;
   •   Mental health and mental disability issues are becoming more prominent,
       perhaps due in part to an aging workforce and also the increased “legitimacy”
       and understanding around these issues;
   •   For unionized environments, involving the unions in the return-to-work process is
       essential as creative solutions are often required that may not be covered in
       collective agreements;
   •   Injury prevention programs are helpful in reducing disability claims and should be
       part of a disability management program; and
   •   Employers may find that working together with other employers or industry
       groups can provide them with additional expertise and support.


4.5 FOCUS GROUPS


Introduction


Five focus groups were conducted for this project between August 23 and August 26,
2004. The focus groups were designed to validate the results obtained from earlier
research and surveys, to identify research gaps, and to gather additional information
with respect to training, employment and workplace issues for persons with disabilities.
Focus groups were held in each geographical region of the province (Prince George,
Kelowna, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria) and were conducted in a range of morning,
afternoon and evening sessions.


Attendance


The target number of focus group participants was 40 to 50. Forty-seven individuals
actually participated. The Ministry of Human Resources provided the member contact list
for the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee, and those individuals were invited


                                             107
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




to the focus groups. The consortium also generated a list of invitees and the list was
approved by the Minister’s Council liaison. Invitations were mailed and included a copy
of the Minister’s letter that was originally sent to employers participating in the survey.
Follow up phone calls were made to ensure participation in the focus groups.


Tracking of early RSVPs indicated strong participation from service providers; therefore,
additional efforts were taken to try to provide a more balanced representation of
employers and persons with disabilities in the focus groups. Suggestions for additional
employer and person with disabilities invitees were provided by WCG International
employment solutions and programs staff, and final hour faxes and phone calls were
made to encourage more participation from employers and persons with disabilities.
Challenges in having more employer participation often related to their busy summer
schedules. Additional time in the project schedule would have permitted better
representation in the focus group process.


In the end the focus group participation included:


       •   4 government service providers (Ministry of Human Resources, Human
           Resources and Skills Development Canada);
       •   4 employers;
       •   5 persons with disabilities; and
       •   34 service providers.


Although a more balanced representation from employers and persons with disabilities
was sought, service providers - who provide a wide range of services for persons with
disabilities - clearly wanted a voice into the project through the focus groups. Service
provider comments demonstrated their expertise in understanding the needs of persons
with disabilities, as well as the needs and challenges faced by employers. In many
cases, representatives at the focus groups were managers/owners of businesses, and
therefore they also have the perspective of being employers themselves. Additionally,
four service provider representatives disclosed disabilities, bringing the total number of
persons with disabilities participating to nine.


Focus group dialogue focused on three main areas:


   1. Barriers identified to the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities;
   2. Proposed solutions to improving the recruitment and retention of persons with
       disabilities; and


                                              108
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   3. Content and structure of the Employer Handbook to improve the recruitment and
       retention of persons with disabilities.


Overall, the focus groups certainly validated the barriers and solutions identified in the
research project, as well as the direction being taken with the Employer Handbook. The
focus groups also provided additional information on barriers and solutions, with some
particularly helpful input around solutions. In two of the focus groups it was noted by
participants that disability is not generic and that the issues and solutions around any
particular disability may not be transferred to another.



There did not appear to be comments distinctive to employers or persons with
disabilities that were different from those of service providers during the sessions. One
exception was in the Kelowna focus group, where it was noted that the employers were
specifically concerned about the liability issues surrounding hiring persons with
disabilities, whereas the service providers were concerned about educating employers.
“The service providers wanted to use the session to educate,” noted the facilitator.



There did not appear to be regional variations in relation to the focus group comments.
Noteworthy, however, was the strong emphasis made by Prince George participants that
differences exist in the north compared to southern counterparts. It was the participant’s
belief that there are fewer professional resources in all areas of the North and that this
could impact the ability of employers to take advantage of solutions. There was also a
consensus that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a big issue in the North.



The job market in the North was also described as unique. Jobs in the North tend to be
resource-based and seasonal. Many clients who have worked in these industries tended
to leave school early and needed physical strength to perform jobs rather than academic
skills. Clients who acquire disabilities are often undiagnosed and even unaware that they
have, for example, learning difficulties, which may impede them from attaining other
employment.


Overall, there were some definite key themes identified in the focus groups. This was
evident in part because of the challenge the facilitators had in keeping discussion
focused on either the topic of barriers or solutions. In many instances, discussion on




                                            109
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




barriers turned to discussion on solutions, and vice versa. This enhanced our ability to
identify key themes from the focus groups.


Two key barriers permeated discussions during the focus groups: employer attitudes
and employer lack of awareness on disability issues. Emphasis must be put on getting
employers on board. The business case and incentives need to be provided. It needs to
be easy for employers to access information, such as through a one-stop shopping
(1-800 service) model.


Focus group participants emphasized that much more is needed than a handbook. In
fact, there was considerable resistance to the whole concept of a handbook,
emphasizing the participant’s point that a handbook is not enough to successfully
address attitudes and ignorance. Participants emphasized that the handbook must be
kept short and practical to be effective.


Barriers to the Recruitment and Retention of Persons with Disabilities


The following barriers were identified for the focus group participants to consider, relative
to the research and survey findings:


   •   Attitudes, perceptions and fears;
   •   Awareness and knowledge of disability issues among employers, supervisors
       and staff;
   •   Education, training, skills and work experience;
   •   Accessibility, accommodation and employment supports;
   •   Access to disability management and return-to-work programs;
   •   Income support disincentives;
   •   Accessible transportation; and
   •   Program and service coordination.


Focus group participants felt the list of barriers identified in the survey was accurate and
appropriate. In particular attitudes, perceptions and fears and awareness and
knowledge of disability issues among employers, supervisors and staff were the
key barriers identified. Fear of persons with disabilities was identified as a huge reason
why employers choose not to hire persons with disabilities. Specifically, fear around
disabilities with stigmas, such as HIV-related disabilities, was mentioned, along with fear
of re-injury in terms of the cost involved. This makes it hard for employers to consider
someone who has been injured in the past.


                                             110
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




It was expressed that negative perceptions are exaggerated in the minds of employers.


Additionally, employers’ lack of knowledge on disability issues was expressed as a key
theme. It was pointed out that employers are not sure what to expect if they were to hire
a person with a disability, so they don’t. Employers’ lack knowledge on “duty to
accommodate” issues and lack of knowledge on how to set up a structured program in
hiring persons with disabilities were examples presented relating to the key theme of
lack of knowledge around disability issues. One participant put it well in that “small
employers may not know what they do not know.”


Additional Key Barriers


In addition to the research presented, focus group participants commonly identified three
other key barriers to the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities.


First, a lack of support services and specifically coordination of support services for both
employers and for persons with disabilities was identified as a key barrier to successful
recruitment and retention.


Second, economic barriers for employers were considered by focus group participants to
be a major barrier. It was felt that employers lack the resources to successfully recruit
and retain persons with disabilities and the lack of incentives for employers to do so is a
major barrier.


Third, it was a common perception in the focus groups that the need for workers of today
to multi-task and handle multiple jobs/roles, especially in smaller businesses, presents a
huge barrier to successful recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities. It was
expressed in the focus groups that in some situations it is not realistic for some persons
with disabilities to multi-task and handle multiple jobs/roles that employers seem to
commonly require.


Although not noted as common themes among the focus group participants, some other
barriers were identified and are categorized below under employers, persons with
disabilities and government:




                                            111
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Barriers for Employers


   •   Sometimes providing accommodation equipment takes too long – employers give
       up on the process;
   •   Community burnout for employers because they are bombarded by various
       programs geared towards persons with disabilities (lack of consistency and
       support with past programs after people were placed in employment);
   •   Mixed messages to employers – some days it’s a charity appeal, the next it’s
       about how persons with disabilities are as good as other employees;
   •   Lack of leadership and employer role models;
   •   Lack of understanding in general between employers and the disability
       community;
   •   Collective agreements can be a barrier; and
   •   Tight labour market results in less need for staff.


Barriers for Persons with Disabilities


   •   Track record of persons with disabilities with short-term jobs makes them less
       employable;
   •   Needs of many persons with disabilities to work only part time and/or have a
       flexible schedule and time outs from work present a barrier;
   •   Lack of money to support individuals (with the suggestion being made that
       money should be attached to the individual not the program);
   •   Psycho-social adjustment around dealing with disability for the individual;
   •   Lack of understanding on the part of many persons with disabilities about the
       labour market, skills and opportunities;
   •   Lack of counseling for people with disabilities; and
   •   Persons with disabilities get discouraged by past failures in the area of
       employment, and give up, so it’s important to get beyond short-term jobs.


Government Barriers


   •   Funding restrictions and rigid funding rules – time limits or particular purposes
       being attached to funding; performance based funding may not work for people
       with multiple disabilities – may result in skimming; time limits discourage
       appropriate support;
   •   The funding expectations of incentive-based programs cause fear for employers.
       Employers can be concerned that the employment may end (jeopardizing the


                                            112
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




       employment arrangement); that the emphasis on “getting a job” might preclude a
       full employment support strategy; or that the employer will have obligations that
       they would not have with a non-program employee;
   •   Once program contract ends, there is no longer support assistance for clients
       and employers, yet clients need ongoing support from employment programs to
       maintain employment;
   •   New initiatives by government to reduce double-dipping may result in barriers as
       clients will not be able to access programs from the federal and provincial
       governments at the same time; and
   •   Jurisdictional credit might interfere with placement, as everyone wants credit so
       they can receive performance funding.

Solutions to Improve the Recruitment and Retention of Persons with Disabilities


The following proposed solutions were presented to the focus group participants, relative
to the research and survey findings of the project:


   •   Community outreach programs;
   •   Awareness, promotion and advertising;
   •   Appropriate selection criteria;
   •   Appropriate interviewing practices;
   •   Assign a responsible senior manager/champion;
   •   Establish targets;
   •   Develop a flexible workplace;
   •   Involve staff with disabilities in decision-making;
   •   Design and implement specific disability management plans;
   •   Educate and train all staff; and
   •   Identify associated costs and place in context.


Focus group participants agreed that the solutions identified were accurate and
appropriate, with awareness, promotion and advertising being a solution that appeared
to have consistent appeal throughout the focus groups. There was consistent input that
the solutions identified did not go far enough.


Additional Key Solutions


Eight additional key themes emerged consistently in the focus groups, relevant to
solutions to improve the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities:


                                             113
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Focus group participants consistently stated that providing one-stop shopping for
information/resources for both employers and potential employees would be an excellent
solution. This could operate through the establishment of a network of community
organizations.


A second common message was that flexible and appropriate jobs need to be created
for persons with disabilities, with consideration given to part-time jobs, job sharing and
job carving.


Training specifically for employers about disabilities was identified throughout the focus
groups as important. It was noted that it is relatively easy for large businesses having
Human Resources departments to deal effectively with education issues relating to
disabilities, but that strategies targeted at small businesses are needed.


Another common suggestion was to provide an awareness campaign around “abilities”
with the goal being to educate employers and the general community to the abilities of
persons with disabilities. Participants suggested using the example of champions/model
employers, on a community-by-community basis, to raise the likelihood of other
employers participating and to demonstrate the benefits to other employers. This method
of showcasing good corporate citizens challenges other employers. Providing
recognition/awards to showcase successful and supportive employers was also
recommended.


Also recommended during the focus groups was the idea of using employer networks to
spread the message and to have employer-to-employer messaging in terms of getting
employers to buy into the concept of hiring and retaining persons with disabilities. The
concept of business leadership networks, although not specifically directed by facilitators
as a solution identified during the research or survey, did appear to have strong appeal
as a solution among focus group participants.


More financial incentives for employers through the form of wage subsidies and tax
breaks were another common theme relating to solutions. It was expressed that, without
financial incentives, it is unlikely that many employers will make the extra effort.


Focus group participants stated that it is essential to make the business case to
employers. A cost benefit analysis must be performed and provided to demonstrate the
long-term benefit of hiring a person with a disability. This is important to get employer


                                             114
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




buy in initially, but also so that employers and persons with disabilities have realistic
expectations of the time and effort that needs to go into each plan.


Emphasis on soft skills and job readiness/pre-employment training and support for
persons with disabilities was identified as a key solution. Although one would not be
surprised that this came up in focus groups dominated by service providers, it was
specifically identified by an employer in the Kelowna focus group that soft skills training
relating to ‘getting along with other people’ is essential for persons with disabilities to be
successful.


Although the following were not common themes among focus group participants, there
were other additional solutions identified in the focus groups as noted below:


   •   Both the employer and person with a disability needs to have a flexible attitude;
   •   Persons with disabilities need to have a good sense of their abilities, and
       someone needs to relate that to employers to convince them to be flexible;
       service provider contact is needed sometimes because persons with disabilities
       may not be able to represent themselves in the best light;
   •   Establish an advocate for persons with disabilities – designed and operated by
       persons with disabilities;
   •   Mentoring; peer to peer support and peer testimony is helpful;
   •   Employment strategies that distinguish between visible and non-visible
       disabilities;
   •   Use people with disabilities as job coaches and as a bridge between the disability
       community and employers and the government;
   •   Consider strategies for self-employment for persons with disabilities;
   •   Different strategies need to be developed for small business and larger
       organizations;
   •   Issues of equal pay for equal work need to be addressed;
   •   Evaluate strategies and provide feedback to individuals and organizations;
   •   There needs to be consistency and continuity of programs;
   •   Awareness, promotion and advertising must be focused on ‘social marketing;’
   •   Provide long term support to both the employee and the employer to help ensure
       the placement works and carries on;
   •   Develop better partnerships with unions and other key stakeholders;
   •   Earlier intervention with youth with disabilities or those who have recently been
       injured to start them on the right path;



                                             115
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




    •   Start with the K-12 system ensuring persons with disabilities are fully included
        and that their vocational maturity is developed;
    •   Providing lawyers/legal system with better information to discourage the practice
        of lawyers keeping clients away from work in order to build a stronger case for a
        large settlement;
    •   We need both carrots and sticks – incentives are good but we need penalties
        also;
    •   Create job exchanges between government staff and service provider staff or
        between service provider staff and employers to help people understand things
        from each other’s perspective;
    •   Volunteering as a stepping stone is a great option for persons with disabilities;
    •   Start with small commitments on the part of employers as this helps employers
        learn about disability and overcome any misconceptions; and
    •   Increased dialogue between service providers and employers.


Contents and Structure of the Employer’s Guide to Improve the Recruitment and
Retention of Persons with Disabilities

Focus group participants were informed that a tool being created for employers is a
handbook with information on hiring and retaining persons with disabilities. They were
asked to provide input into the handbook content and design and to provide specific
feedback on the proposed handbook content and table of contents.


In three of the five focus groups there was a fairly strong view that the concept of a
handbook for employers was not helpful. Dialogue included comments ranging from: “it
has been done in the past” to “it will be too general” to “it will be too large so it will sit on
a shelf” and “the other solutions/supports need to be in place for a handbook to work.”


The resistance is worth noting and may be due, however, in part to the fact that the
attendees were mostly service providers who already have a good sense of what
information is out there. It also may be due, as pointed out earlier, to the fact that service
providers believe that the issues relating to improving the recruitment and retention of
persons with disabilities are complex and a simple solution of a handbook is not enough.




                                               116
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Key Suggestions


There were eight common suggestions identified during the focus groups in relation to
the handbook. First of all, the handbook must be kept short and practical, simple and
easy to read. A suggestion was to include “how to” sections.


A definition of “disability” and information on disabilities must be included. A suggestion
was that a glossary or definition of terms be included in the handbook.


The handbook must contain core information for employers on how to successfully
recruit persons with disabilities. This section should include topics such as how to
advertise job openings and training for interviewers. Information should be provided so
that employers will see potential for job carving/job sharing situations.


It was emphasized that the handbook needs to include success stories and case studies
of successful recruitment and retention practices.


The handbook must include a list of resources for employers. It should include contacts
in the community. A specific suggestion was identified to include a 1-800 line for
employers to call for help.


Interest must be sparked so that employers will actually use the handbook. A suggestion
in that regard was that the handbook launch includes training for employers.


Distribution of the handbook will be vital to its utility. It was emphasized that the
handbook should not simply be printed and handed out. One suggestion was that
service providers could distribute the handbook as part of their packages.


Keeping the handbook current was also identified as very important to the effectiveness
of the handbook.


Additional ideas relating to the handbook that came up in the sessions included the
following:


   •   It must address attitudes and fears;
   •   The business case must be presented;
   •   The handbook must be part of an overall marketing strategy;
   •   Included should be a training module for front-line staff and other staff;


                                             117
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   An awareness quiz could be included;
   •   Examples of specific job descriptions should be provided;
   •   Information on on-going accommodation;
   •   Follow up must be done to ensure employers are actually using it;
   •   Have a regular employers conference to keep momentum going;
   •   It’s more effective if a group speaker went to employers and talked to them about
       persons with disabilities;
   •   More emphasis on how to make the workplace accessible to everyone;
   •   Need a section on what to do if it doesn’t work out…section on problem solving;
   •   In the Prince George focus group it was noted that the handbook must reflect
       regional differences and ensure that advertised resources are easily accessible
       and preferably are optimally available locally and at least available within a
       region; and
   •   There needs to be a central website that makes it easy to access community,
       regional and provincial resources.

Conclusion

Overall the sessions went well in terms of flow, dialogue and outcomes. Focus group
participants certainly validated the research and survey findings and the approach being
taken with the Employer Handbook. They also provided additional input, especially
relating to solutions. Focus group participants expressed interest in receiving a copy of
the handbook upon completion.




                                            118
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




5. ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

As described though out the report, this study draws on a variety of primary and
secondary research sources to draw inferences on issues related to the employment of
persons with disabilities. This section summarizes the key findings and discusses
interpretation of the results.


The results are grouped into the following four themes:


      •   The Rationale for Supporting Employment of Persons with Disabilities;
      •   The Barriers;
      •   The Solutions; and
      •   The Handbook


5.1       THE RATIONALE FOR PROVIDING SUPPORT


The economic and demographic analysis of British Columbia confirms the overwhelming
social and economic importance of addressing employment of persons with disability
issues. Three major forces – continuing expansion of economy and labour demand,
declining birth rates and labour force growth combined in the face of increasing
retirements from an aging population and the increasing social and health care burden
associated with a large and growing number of persons with disabilities are converging
to make a compelling case for employers’ championship and public policy support to the
issue of employment of persons with disabilities.


First, forecasts of British Columbia and Canadian economy and labour markets indicate
continuing growth in employment across a wide range of industries. Particular strong
growth areas include services, small business and self-employment.


Second, declining birth rates, concomitant slower growth of population and labour force
is reducing the inflow of new workers. At the same time, aging population and the
impending retirement years of the baby boomers will create a huge new demand for
replacement workers. The analysis presented in section 2 indicates more than 1 million
new projected job openings between 2003 and 2015, with computer-related services,
construction, health care, manufacturing, retail, tourism, transportation sectors providing
the largest growth opportunities. A smaller 15-24 cohort and increasing retirements,
combined with moderate inter-provincial migration will mean a decreasing labour supply.
It will also mean that will mean provincial industry will be hamstrung for a lack of


                                            119
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




workers. In the absence of public policy support to expand the potential pool of qualified
workers from non-traditional sources such as persons with disabilities, provincial industry
could be at serious competitive disadvantage.


Third, the province has a large and growing number of persons with disabilities.
According to the 2001 census, almost 1 in 7 or 530,000 persons have a disability in
British Columbia. Of this population, 290,880 persons with disabilities in British Columbia
are of working age (15-64). While education levels are only marginally lower than for
persons without disabilities, the most recent data shows persons with disabilities are far
more likely to be unemployed, under-employed or an active labour force participant.
Persons with disabilities in British Columbia were 350% more likely to be unemployed
than those without disabilities—21% versus 6%, respectively. This creates huge
collective social and personal costs as well as economic ones of under employment and
lost opportunity costs.


Moreover, both the secondary and the primary research from literature review, employer
survey, key informant interviews, case studies and focus groups provides strong
evidence that addressing barriers is feasible and in most cases a low-cost high-return
proposition for the employers as well as for the society at large. For instance, the
respondents in the employer survey indicated that in the vast majority of the cases, the
cost of accommodation was less than $500. Case studies demonstrate a range of three
way win-win-wins with highly satisfied employers, happy and productive employees and
the public benefiting from reduced social dependency costs and enhanced tax revenue.
All from modest effort, low cost innovative solutions and some public and privately
sponsored facilitation and support.


The research also indicates a huge potential for making gains on employment of
persons with disabilities. For instance, the employers’ survey indicates over two-thirds
(69%) of employers have no experience in hiring persons with disabilities. The literature
review, key informant interviews and focus group discussion confirmed that while major
gains have been made in awareness of disabilities related issues, lack of information,
misinformation and stereotyping is still wide spread.


5.2    THE BARRIERS


An extensive review of literatures on employment for persons with disabilities identified
the following key barriers to employers recruiting and retaining persons with disabilities:



                                            120
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Negative attitudes, false assumptions and myths and perceptions about persons
       with disabilities held by employers, managers and supervisors and other
       employees;
   •   A lack of awareness about persons with disabilities and available resources
       among employers and others;
   •   Access to education and workplace training and adequate job skills and work
       experience of persons with disabilities;
   •   Inadequate workplace accessibility and accommodation and employment
       supports for persons with disabilities; and
   •   A lack of widespread use of disability management and return-to-work programs.


The literature also identified other employment barriers for persons with disabilities, such
as income support disincentives, inadequate program and service coordination, and
specific barriers for Aboriginal people with disabilities, women with disabilities,
immigrants with disabilities, and youth with disabilities.


The employer survey confirmed the general findings of the literature review and added a
number of findings specific to British Columbia. The key findings from the employer
survey are highlighted below:


Awareness of disabilities among British Columbia employers is fairly high - on average,
69% of respondents said that there was a high level of awareness of disabilities among
their managers.


Communication and sight impairments are the greatest barriers to work - Respondents
were more likely to indicate that communication and seeing impairments were the
greatest barriers to work (26%), while mental health disabilities were the least cited
(12%). However, the overall averages for all disabilities were quite low, indicating that in
the majority of companies, these disabilities would not form a substantial barrier, at least
from the point of view of the employer.


Currently, only modest efforts are being made to reduce barriers - few companies have
disability management plans (10%) or workplace supports for persons with disabilities
(22%). Some specific supports were used in more companies, such as flexible work
hours (28%), and a friendly and encouraging work environment (33%).


Key Informant Interviewees corroborated findings of the survey that there is a greater
societal awareness of persons with disabilities in the workforce. Most also believed that


                                             121
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




there was a greater awareness and acceptance of hiring persons with disabilities among
employers but that this did not always translate into action or behavioural change.
Employer interviewees themselves observed that some of businesses’ increased
involvement with persons with disabilities was due to corporate requirements regarding
federal legislation and employers’ duty to accommodate.


The employer informants interviewed identified a number of important barriers or
challenges, including, cost of worksite accommodations, particularly physical
accommodations. The larger employers recognized that many accommodations are not
costly but they also pointed to examples where costs for worksite modifications were
significant, but cost-effective. Other interviewees stressed that many accommodations
were relatively inexpensive and that many employers do not know what is
possible/available. Findings of the employer survey were somewhat more definitive on
this issue and found the costs to be quite modest, usually less than $500 in most cases.
As the wording of the survey requested actual costs and only 64 of the employers out of
224 long form respondents provided information on cost of work place accommodation,
it is likely that these were employers with direct experience in this area. On the other
hand informant interviewees likely reflected a mix of highly knowledgeable employers
combined with others that held the general perception and corroborated some of the
myths and perceptions in the literature review.


Lack of awareness or capacity to know where to start, find a person with disabilities and
how to recruit and support persons with disabilities was identified as another major
barrier. The lack of information on resources and how to go about recruitment and
retention is also highlighted in the survey and the literature.


The employer informant interviews also reaffirmed the finding in the literature that the
fear of the unknown and fear of hiring a person with a disability and contravening human
rights or some other regulatory requirements if you have to lay them off. Other
interviewees corroborated some of what the employer interviewees emphasized on the
“fear” they believed employers have towards employing persons with disabilities as well
as other related issues such as employer assumptions and misunderstandings about
persons with disabilities in the workplace, and isolation persons with disabilities
experience in the workplace that limits their retention.


Focus group participants felt the list of barriers identified in the survey and by the key
informants was accurate and appropriate. In particular attitudes, perceptions and fears,
and awareness and knowledge of disability issues among employers, supervisors and


                                             122
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




staff were the key barriers identified. Fear of the unknown was identified as a huge
reason why employers choose not to hire persons with disabilities. Specifically, fear
around disabilities with stigmas such as HIV related disabilities was mentioned, along
with fear of re-injury in terms of the cost involved.


In addition, focus group participants identified the following other key barriers to the
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities:


      •   A lack of support services and specifically coordination of support services for
          both employers and for persons with disabilities;
      •   Economic barriers - employers lack the resources to successfully recruit and
          retain persons with disabilities and the lack of incentives for employers to do so is
          a major barrier; and
      •   The need for workers of today to multi-task and handle multiple jobs/roles,
          especially in smaller businesses, presents a huge barrier to the successful
          recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities.


5.3       THE SOLUTIONS


A review of the literature found many critical success factors and best practices for
maximizing the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities. The key themes
found from the literature review are:


      •   Employer and industry tools and resources;
      •   Readily available data and information on which employers, persons with
          disabilities, service-providers and policy makers can base decisions;
      •   Labour market information and human resources planning;
      •   2010-related opportunities;
      •   Awareness, promotion, communication strategies;
      •   Employer/industry involvement and engagement, and linkages and connections
          with the persons with disabilities community;
      •   Innovative, employer-driven employment and training models;
      •   Integration and coordination of employers, government agencies, service
          providers, and the persons with disabilities community;
      •   Promotion and advancement of self employment and entrepreneurship for
          persons with disabilities; and
      •   Provision of employer incentives (e.g. Workers’ Compensation Board Pulp and
          Paper project).


                                              123
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Each of these topics cut across recruitment, accommodation, training and education,
and disability management issues and opportunities.


Employers surveyed confirmed the importance of many of the above supports and
solutions. In particular, employers highlighted the importance of the following solutions
for reducing barriers:


   •   Flexible work breaks and schedules (40% of employers that have employees
       with disabilities rated this as an important solution and 22% of other employers
       rated this important);
   •   Emergency procedures and related training (29% and 14%);
   •   Adequate equipment to accommodate needs of employees (28% and 15%);
   •   Skills training (28% and 14%);
   •   Disability related workplace supports (28% and 12%); and
   •   Recruitment policies and practices (26% and 12%).


In a related question on employer’s assessment of the effective workplace supports
needed by the employers, solutions were deemed to be important in the following order:


   •   Disability awareness training for staff;
   •   More suitable evaluation procedures;
   •   Company policies and procedures for support;
   •   Support to family;
   •   Disability related workplace supports;
   •   Emergency procedures and related training; and
   •   Easier building access.


Funding for work place supports and social mechanisms to integrate persons in the
workplace scored lower as a solution to reducing the barriers question. On the other
hand, in a separate question on desired form assistance to support hiring and retaining
an employee with disabilities, funding for training was the most popular response, with
an average score of 27%, with funding for modifications to the workspace (26%) and an
incentive/wage subsidy (25%) close behind. Independently, key employer informants
interviewed also highlighted the importance of government assistance
programs/services/incentives and suggested tax credits for hiring persons with
disabilities, tax credits or other incentives for making a workplace more accessible, and



                                            124
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




increasing awareness among employers about existing government programs in this
area.


Survey respondents are most likely to believe that Government programs should be
responsible for providing assistance - 38% of respondents identified Government
programs as being responsible for assistance in employing persons with disabilities,
compared to 17% who believed that company programs were responsible.


Companies with employees with disabilities are more aware and have better support
systems - As could be expected, companies with employees with disabilities are more
likely to be aware of disabilities than those without. As well, on the support and reducing
barriers questions, those companies with employees with disabilities scored between 5
and 36 percentage points higher.


The survey also found that the Vancouver Island region and Vancouver Coastal regions
have the most workplace supports; the Interior has the fewest - 30% of respondents
from the Vancouver Island region indicated that they had workplace supports, compared
to 17% for respondents from the Interior. Twenty-five percent of Vancouver region
respondents indicated that they had a disability management plan, compared to less
than 10% for respondents from the Interior.


Key informant employer interviewees highlighted the need for education on the employer
agency side in addition to education on the employer side; they also underscored the
need for better marketing of relevant government programs to the business sector.


The interviewees offered some additional specific success factors including the
following: treat everyone with respect; acknowledge the disability; ensure supervisors
are brought into the fold; attending job forums/fairs; use affinity groups to help support
each other and raise awareness; building trust relationships with agencies, the
community and nationally; and showcase access technology.


Interviewees also suggested important factors for disability management and return to
work programs: focus on the best candidate not the disability; strong leadership support
(i.e. CEO) - message that it makes good business sense; developing strong
relationships with persons with disabilities agencies; having resources/tool kits for
managers; and leadership from the top.




                                            125
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




When persons with disabilities groups approach businesses, they need to present a
strong cost-benefit rationale, a good business case, and not superficial attention.


Focus group participants agreed that the above solutions identified were accurate and
appropriate, with awareness, promotion and advertising being a solution that appeared
to have consistent appeal and voice throughout the focus groups. There was also a
strong sense that the solutions identified did not go far enough. The following key
additional themes relevant to solutions to improve the recruitment and retention of
persons with disabilities emerged:


   •   Focus group participants consistently stated that providing one-stop shopping for
       information/resources for both employers and potential employees would be an
       excellent solution. This could be provided through the establishment of a network
       of community organizations;
   •   A second common message was, flexible and appropriate jobs need to be
       created for persons with disabilities, with consideration given to part-time jobs,
       job sharing and job carving;
   •   Training specifically for employers about disabilities was identified throughout the
       focus groups as keenly important. It was noted that it is relatively easy for large
       businesses having Human Resources departments to deal effectively with
       education issues relating to disabilities but that strategies for making it easier for
       small businesses are needed;
   •   Another common suggestion was to provide an awareness campaign around
       “abilities” with the goal being to educate employers and the general community to
       the abilities of persons with disabilities. It was suggested to use the example of
       champions/model employers, on a community-by-community basis to raise the
       likelihood of other employers participating and to demonstrate the benefits to
       other employers. This method of showcasing good corporate citizens challenges
       other employers. Providing recognition/awards to showcase successful and
       supportive employers was recommended;
   •   Also recommended during the focus groups was the idea of using employer
       networks to spread the message and to have employer-to-employer messaging
       in terms of getting employers to buy into the concept of hiring and retaining
       persons with disabilities. The concept of business leadership networks, although
       not specifically directed by facilitators as a solution identified during the research
       or survey, did appear to have strong appeal as a solution among focus group
       participants;



                                            126
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




      •   More financial incentives for employers through the form of wage subsidies and
          tax breaks were another common theme relating to solutions, reinforcing the
          findings of the survey and key informants interviews. It was expressed that
          without financial incentives it is unlikely that many employers will make the extra
          effort;
      •   Focus group participants stated that it is essential to make the business case to
          employers, also a key finding of the informant interviews. A cost benefit analysis
          must be performed and provided to demonstrate the long-term benefit of hiring a
          person with a disability. This is important to get employers to buy in the first
          place, but also so that employers and persons with disabilities have realistic
          expectations of the time and effort that needs to go into each plan; and
      •   Emphasis on soft skills and job readiness/pre-employment training and support
          for persons with disabilities was identified as a key solution. Although one would
          not be surprised that this came up in focus groups dominated by service
          providers, it was specifically identified by an employer as well that soft skills
          training relating to ‘getting along with other people’ is essential for persons with
          disabilities to be successful.


5.4       THE HANDBOOK


There was a considerable consensus and synergies among the various research
sources in terms of the contents of the handbook. The following list of top ten potential
items for inclusion in the handbook were selected from the literature survey including a
study of similar instruments used in other jurisdictions detailed in section 2:


      •   Human Resources Policies for Persons with Disabilities;
      •   How to Identify Workplace Barriers;
      •   Disability Awareness Training;
      •   Disability Management for Existing Employees;
      •   Workplace Supports;
      •   Workplace Accommodations;
      •   Resources and Programs;
      •   Job Carving;
      •   Retention Best Practices; and
      •   Recruitment Best Practices.


Respondents in the employer survey were asked which of the above items they felt
would be useful in the Employer Handbook planned by the Minister’s Council on


                                               127
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Employment for Persons with Disabilities. All topics scored approximately the same, with
average scores of 26-34%. The three topics with the highest average ratings were
Resources and Programs; How to Identify Workplace Barriers; and Human Resources
Policies for Persons with Disabilities. Other important areas included Disability
Management for Existing Employees, Workplace Supports. Workplace
Accommodations, Disability Awareness Training, Job Carving, Recruitment Best
Practices and Retention Best Practices. Employers with employees with disabilities
consistently ranked the importance of including each of these topics in the handbook
higher (40 to 50% affirmative support) than those without such employees.


Focus groups provided a number of suggestions in terms of contents, generally
supportive of those in the literature and the employer survey, and numerous more
detailed ideas to enhance the effectiveness of the handbook. Suggestions for important
contents for the handbook include awareness of disability issues particularly addressing
fears and ignorance, accessibility and accommodation, resources and programs,
recruitment supports and job carving/job sharing. Other suggestions include the
following:


   •   The handbook must be kept short and practical, simple and easy to read and
       include “how to” sections;
   •   A definition of “disability” and information on disabilities must be included, along
       with a glossary or definition of terms included in the handbook;
   •   In the resources section, specific suggestions included a 1-800 help line for
       employers and a central website that makes it easy to access other resources –
       needs to be a web link to all resources - in communities, regions, and provincial.
       The handbook must reflect regional differences and ensure that advertised
       resources are easily accessible and preferably are optimally available locally and
       at least available within a region;
   •   Some suggestions for specific contents include examples of specific job
       descriptions, an illustrative business case and an awareness quiz;
   •   It was emphasized that the handbook needs to include success stories and case
       studies of successful recruitment and retention practices;
   •   Interest must be sparked so that employers will actually use the handbook. The
       handbook must be part of an overall marketing strategy that includes training for
       employers, e.g. a training module for front-line staff and other staff;
   •   Distribution of the handbook will be vital to its utility. It was emphasized that the
       handbook should not simply be printed and handed out. One suggestion was that
       service providers could distribute the handbook as part of their packages; and


                                             128
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Follow up must be done to ensure employers are actually using it. Have a regular
       employers conference to keep momentum going. Keeping the handbook current
       was also identified as very important to the effectiveness of the handbook.


However, as outlined in section 4, focus group participants emphasized that much more
is needed than a handbook. In fact, there was considerable resistance to the whole
concept of a handbook, emphasizing the participant’s point that a handbook is not
enough to successfully address attitudes and ignorance. Participants emphasized that
the handbook must be kept short and practical to be effective. Dialogue included
comments ranging from: “it has been done in the past” to “it will be too general” to “it will
be too large so it will sit on a shelf” and “the other solutions/supports need to be in place
for a handbook to work.”


The resistance is worth noting and may be due, however, in part to the fact that the
attendees were mostly service providers who already have a good sense of what
information is out there. It may also be due, as pointed out earlier, to the fact that service
providers believe that the issues relating to improving the recruitment and retention of
persons with disabilities are complex and a simple solution of a handbook is not enough.




                                             129
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




6.     CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

In summary, the visual on the next page summarizes the key findings of this project,
which have been confirmed by a number of research methods and validated by focus
groups.


6.1    CONCLUSIONS


This research report provides a considerable amount of secondary literature review of
studies in British Columbia and other jurisdictions as well as from our own primary
research that has been further validated through a series of focus groups regarding the
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities. The primary research consisted of
interviews with approximately 20 knowledgeable key informants, a survey of
approximately 520 employers in all major industry sectors and regions, 6 site visits and
case studies, and 5 focus groups, one in each of the Ministry of Human Resources
regions of the province. This section provides a high-level summary of the researchers’
conclusions and recommendations.


The key barriers to the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities, which have
been corroborated by various research findings in this project and validated by focus
groups, include the following:


       The negative attitudes, false assumptions and myths and perceptions about
       persons with disabilities held by some employers, managers and supervisors and
       other employees;
       A lack of awareness about the employment potential of persons with disabilities
       and available resources among employers and others;
       Access to education and workplace training and adequate job skills and work
       experience of persons with disabilities;
       Inadequate workplace accessibility and accommodation and employment
       supports for persons with disabilities; and
       A lack of widespread use of disability management and return-to-work programs.


The literature also identified other employment barriers for persons with disabilities, such
as income support disincentives, inadequate program and service coordination, and
specific barriers for Aboriginal people with disabilities, women with disabilities,
immigrants with disabilities, and youth with disabilities.



                                             130
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          131
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Research also identified as barriers the following: a lack of support services and
specifically coordination of support services for both employers and for persons with
disabilities; economic barriers – employers lack the resources to successfully recruit and
retain persons with disabilities and the lack of incentives for employers to do so is a
major barrier; and the need for workers of today to multi-task and handle multiple
jobs/roles, especially in smaller businesses, presents a huge barrier to successful
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities.


The survey of British Columbia employers conducted as part of this study indicates that
awareness of disabilities among British Columbia employers is fairly high – on average,
69% of respondents said that there was a high level of awareness of disabilities among
their managers. However, currently, only modest efforts are being made to reduce
barriers - few companies have disability management plans or workplace supports for
persons with disabilities. Thus, there appears to be a difference between the level of
awareness and on the ground practice or organizational behaviour. Some specific
supports were used in more companies, such as flexible work hours, and a friendly and
encouraging work environment.


The key conclusions arising from this project’s secondary research, primary research
and validation of research findings revolve around the following themes that are each
elaborated on:


   1. The need for attitudinal change and awareness-raising among employers;

   2. The need for more effective practices among employers and managers;

   3. The need for better information and coordination of services for employers; and

   4. The need for more supports for and awareness among persons with disabilities.


Employer Attitudes and Awareness


   •   A “fear of the unknown” possessed by many employers of persons with
       disabilities in terms of legal risks, not understanding disabilities, not knowing how
       to treat, etc.;

   •   The lack of awareness of disability issues among employers,
       managers/supervisors and other employees;

   •   Myths and perceptions about the abilities and challenges and costs of employing
       persons with disabilities held by employers; and


                                            132
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   The lack of awareness of ways to accommodate persons with disabilities in the
       workplace, including some simple and/or cost-effective methods.


Employer Practices


   •   The need for employers and people who hire to focus on the individual and the
       abilities of persons with disabilities – not the disability;

   •   The lack of a strong business case used in promoting the employment of persons
       with disabilities;

   •   Many of the principles and effective practices for recruiting and retaining persons
       with disabilities are the same for individuals without disabilities – they make good
       business and reflect good human resources or “people” practices;

   •   The greater difficulty facing smaller business in employing persons with
       disabilities;

   •   An interest in incentives for employers hiring persons with disabilities and for
       funding workplace accommodations; and

   •   Lack of use of use of effective disability management and return-to-work
       programs, particularly among small business and non-union organizations
       outside primary sectors.


Information and Coordination


   •   Inadequate information on and employment tools related to disability-specific
       barriers;

   •   The need to improve matching between service providers and persons with
       disabilities seeking employment on one hand and employers and business and
       industry associations;

   •   The lack of adequate coordination among persons with disabilities service
       providers and inadequate mechanisms for interface between them and
       employers and industry and business groups;

   •   The need for a central source of information and resources to help employer
       recruit and retain persons with disabilities;

   •   The fact that an employer handbook with the appropriate content, format, etc.
       could be part of the solution of assisting employers to recruit and retain persons



                                              133
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




       with disabilities; and that it needs to be part of a larger marketing program and
       awareness-building campaign; and

   •   The need for a “segmented” approach in providing assistance to employers who
       want to recruit and retain persons with disabilities in terms of providing support to
       small and large employers, employers in different sectors, and employers in
       different regions in British Columbia.


Persons with Disabilities


   •   The social isolation of employees with disabilities in the workplace and how this
       significantly affects retention rates;

   •   The lack of effective ongoing workplace support for employees with disabilities;

   •   The need for access to relevant job skill and workplace based training for
       persons with disabilities; and

   •   The need for persons with disabilities to better understand employer
       expectations, working conditions and labour market realities.


In summary, all research points to the fact that persons with disabilities represent a
large, growing and as yet untapped pool of talent. In Business Case for Accessibility, the
Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health,
summarized the human resource potential in this way:


       “For far too many years, people with disabilities have been ignored in the
       marketplace. Yet this significant segment of the population is made up of
       many dedicated and talented people with much-needed abilities that have
       so far been under-utilized in the work environment. Additionally, people
       with disabilities consist of a group that has been neglected by the
       consumer market, although its purchasing power – and the secondary
       market that it influences – is large and growing” (Wilkerson, 2001).


The research undertaken in this project shows a clear business case for hiring persons
with disabilities: an expanded talent pool for employers, employment for persons with
disabilities and a growing consumer market.




                                                134
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




      •   Expanded Talent Pool
          Employers in British Columbia need skilled employees to fill positions that keep
          their businesses competitive in local, provincial, national and global markets.
          With the number of labour force entrants expected to decline, employers cannot
          continue to ignore any untapped pool of talent.


      •   Employment for Persons with Disabilities
          Persons with disabilities continue to struggle to share in the social and economic
          mainstream of society. Individuals, employers and governments are all impacted
          by the costs that result from unacceptable unemployment rates and wasted
          human potential amongst persons with disabilities.


      •   Growing Consumer Market
          In Canada, the spending power of persons with disabilities is now estimated to
          be about $25 billion, and they also influence the buying decisions of friends and
          families and, in doing so, at least double their economic reach. Companies that
          recognize the value of reflecting the characteristics of their consumers within
          their workplaces will reap the benefits in productivity and sales.


6.2       RECOMMENDATIONS


Based on the findings and conclusions of this report, the researchers offer the following
recommendations to the Ministry of Human Resources and Minister’s Council on
Employment for Persons with Disabilities for improving the recruitment and retention of
persons with disabilities in British Columbia.


Recruitment and Retention of Persons with Disabilities


Based on the research findings and the validation focus groups, the researchers offer
the following recommendations:


Recommendations to Support Employers


      1. Incentives for employers who hire persons with disabilities, and who purchase
          equipment/accommodate, including more financial incentives for employers
          through the form of tax credits – without financial incentives it is unlikely that
          many employers will make the extra effort;



                                                135
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




  2. Stakeholders, including employers, noted a lack of communication between
      employers/industry groups, and service providers/persons with disabilities (job
      seekers). In order to resolve this situation and improve the matching of supply
      and demand, government, business networks and service provider umbrella
      groups should become more involved in the process;

  3. There is a clear need for strong business case for employers to hire persons
      with disabilities. A cost benefit analysis must be performed and provided to
      demonstrate the long-term benefit of hiring a person with a disability. This is
      important to get employers to buy in the first place, but also so that employers
      and persons with disabilities have realistic expectations of the time and effort that
      needs to go into each plan;

  4. It is important to use employer networks to spread the message and to have
      employer-to-employer messaging in terms of getting employers to buy into the
      concept of hiring and retaining persons with disabilities. The concept of business
      leadership networks, although not specifically directed by facilitators as a solution
      identified during the research or survey, did appear to have strong appeal as a
      solution among focus group participants;

  5. An awareness campaign is needed around “abilities” with the goal being to
      educate employers and the general community to the abilities of persons with
      disabilities. The example of champions/model employers could be used on a
      community-by-community basis to raise the likelihood of other employers
      participating and to demonstrate the benefits to other employers. This method of
      showcasing good corporate citizens challenges other employers; also providing
      recognition/awards to showcase successful and supportive employers could also
      be used;

  6. Awareness training for employers, managers/supervisors/employees needs to
      be promoted and made more readily available. Training specifically for employers
      about disabilities is important. While this may be relatively easy for large
      businesses having human resources departments to deal effectively with
      education issues relating to disabilities, strategies for making it easier for small
      businesses are needed; and

  7. One-stop shopping for information/resources for both employers and
      potential employees could be an excellent solution (e.g. the establishment of a
      network of community organizations).




                                           136
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Recommendations to Support Persons with Disabilities Service Providers


   1. Better coordination of services offered by service providers, educators and
       trainers and government programs directed at supporting the employment of
       persons with disabilities; and

   2. Training is needed for employment service agencies and organizations of
       persons with disabilities on business needs.


Recommendations to Support Persons with Disabilities


   1. Programs that provide pre-employment soft skills and job readiness/pre-
       employment training and support for persons with disabilities need to be readily
       available;

   2. A persons with disabilities labour market/employment “reality package” or
       resource could be developed and made available through service providers to
       raise their awareness and readiness for new workplaces;

   3. Persons with disabilities need greater access to workplace based training
       programs, both before and during employment;

   4. Special effort is needed on promoting work place supports in the Interior
       region, which survey results show, has the fewest workplace supports available
       for persons with disabilities; and

   5. Flexible and appropriate jobs need to be created for persons with disabilities,
       with consideration given to part-time jobs, job sharing and job carving.


Employer Handbook


Findings from literature review and recommendations in the employer survey, interviews,
case studies and focus groups provided many suggestions for the Employers’
Handbook. These are highlighted in the summaries of the findings of each piece of
research earlier in this report. Recommendations for handbook content related to the
following content topics:


   •   Human Resources Policies for Persons with Disabilities;
   •   How to Identify Workplace Barriers;
   •   Disability Awareness Training (also addressing fears and ignorance);
   •   Disability Management for Existing Employees;


                                            137
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




   •   Workplace Supports;
   •   Workplace Access and Accommodations;
   •   Resources and Programs;
   •   Job Carving, Recruitment Best Practices;
   •   Retention Best Practices; and
   •   Recruitment Supports and Best Practices.


Other suggestions for the handbook include the following:


   •   The handbook must be kept short and practical, simple and easy to read and
       include “how to” sections;
   •   A definition of “disability” and information on disabilities must be included in the
       handbook;
   •   In the resources section, specific suggestions included a 1-800 help line for
       employers and a central website that makes it easy to access other resources;
       the need for a web link to all resources; and the need for community, regional,
       and provincial relevance;
   •   The handbook must reflect regional differences and ensure that advertised
       resources are easily accessible and preferably are optimally available locally and
       at least available within a region;
   •   Some suggestions for specific contents include examples of specific job
       descriptions, an illustrative business case and an awareness quiz;
   •   It was emphasized that the handbook needs to include success stories and case
       studies of successful recruitment and retention practices; and
   •   It was suggested by many stakeholders that the handbook must contain a strong
       business case for employers, including small businesses, to recruit and retain
       persons with disabilities.


Beyond The Handbook


As outlined in the preceding section much more is needed than a handbook. The issues
relating to improving the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities are
complex and a simple solution of a handbook is not enough.


Interest must be sparked so that employers will actually use the handbook. The
handbook must be part of an overall marketing strategy, including training for employers,
e.g. a training module for other staff.



                                             138
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Distribution of the handbook will be vital to its utility. The handbook should not simply be
printed and handed out. Follow up must be done to ensure employers are actually using
it. Regular employers’ conferences could be useful to keep the momentum going.
Keeping the handbook current is also very important to the effectiveness of the
handbook.




                                            139
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                      REFERENCES


2010 Human Resources Planning Committee. (2003a). December 10th, 2003
Employment and Skills Development Stakeholder Forum: Summary of Proceedings.
Canada.


2010 Human Resources Planning Committee. (2003b). Maximizing 2010-Related
Employment and Skills Opportunities in British Columbia: Connecting Labour Market
Supply and Demand. Final report of the 2010 Human Resources Planning Committee.
Canada.


Ababa, A. (2002). Employment of People with Disabilities, The Impact of Legislation.
International Labour Organization. Switzerland.

Alberta Human Resources and Employment. (2000). Employment Series for Persons
with Disabilities: Tips for Employers. http://ab.workink.com/
hrdc/english/employer/index.htm.

Alberta Human Resources and Employment. (2002). Breaking Barriers, Enhancing
Employment Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. Canada.

Annable, G., et al. (2003). Students with Disabilities: Transitions from Post-Secondary
Education to Work Phase One Report. Canadian Centre on Disability Studies. Canada.

Australian National Training Authority. (2000a). Bridging Pathways, the Blueprint for
Implementation. Australia.

Australian National Training Authority. (2000b). Bridging Pathways: the national strategy
for increasing opportunities for people with a disability in vocational education and
training. Australia.

Bales, D., Braddock, D., Dennison D. (Undated). 10 Essentials to Get That Job. Human
Resources Development Canada. Canada.

Bernard Hodes Group (2002). Diversity Matters. United States.

Bonham, J. (2004). Disability management benefits pulp and paper industry. WorkSafe
Magazine. Canada.




                                            140
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Brownlee, K. (1999). Helping people with disabilities find employment. Leader-Post.
Canada.

Canadian Abilities Foundation. (2003). ABILITES @ WORK. Canada.

Canadian Abilities Foundation. (2004). Neglected or Hidden: Connecting Employers and
Persons with Disabilities in Canada. Canada.

Canadian Centre on Disability Studies. (2001). Building Bridges between the Corporate
Sector and the Disability Community. Canada.

Canadian Centre on Disability Studies. (2002). Best Practices in Contemporary Disability
Management. Canada.

Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, http://www.ccrw.org/.


Canadian Human Rights Commission. Physical or Mental Disability Barrier-Free
Employers Practical Guide for Employment Accommodation for People with Disabilities.
http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/discrimination/ barrier_free-en.asp#barrier.

Canadian Paraplegic Association. (2000). Workforce Participation Survey of Canadians
with Spinal Cord Injuries. Canada.

BC Paraplegic Association. http://www.canparaplegic.org/bc.

British Columbia Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities. (2004).
Annual Report: 2003 – 2004. Canada.

Conference Board of Canada. (2001). Tapping the Talents of People with Disabilities.
Canada.

Cossette, L., Duclos, E. (2002). A Profile of Disability in Canada, 2001. Statistics
Canada. Canada.

Dixon, K., Kruse, D., Van Horn, C. (2003). Americans’ Attitudes About Work, Employers
and Government Restricted Access: A Survey of Employers About People with
Disabilities and Lowering Barriers to Work. John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce
Development. United States.




                                            141
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Dixon, K. (2003). Toward the Accessible Workplace: Strategies for Competitive
Employment Among New Jerseyans with Disabilities. John J. Heldrich Center for
Workforce Development. United States.

EmployAbilities. (2002). The Disability Handbook: A Guide to Understanding Individuals
with Disabilities. EmployAbilities and Community Futures Network Society of Alberta.
Alberta.

Employers' Forum on disability. (October, 2003). Global Inclusion Benchmark. United
Kingdom.

Gildiner, A., et al. (1998.) International Colloquium on Job retention and Return to Work
Strategies for Disabled Workers. University of York. United Kingdom.

Government of Canada. (1999). Future Directions to Address Disability Issues for the
Government of Canada: Working Together for Full Citizenship. Canada.

Government of Canada. (2002a). A Way with Words and Images. Canada.

Government of Canada. (2002b). Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
Executive Summary. Canada.

Government of Canada. (2002c). Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
Technical Report. Canada.

Government of Canada. (2002d). Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.
Canada.

Government of Canada. (2002e). Bridging the Gap. Canada.

Government of Canada. (2004). 2003 Annual Report on Employment Equity Act.
Canada.

Government of Manitoba. (2001). Full Citizenship: A Manitoba Provincial Strategy on
Disability. Canada.

Greater Vancouver Business Leadership Network, http://www.gvbln.ca.


Green, M. (Undated). People with disabilities embrace entrepreneurship. Courier
Journal. United States.




                                           142
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Harder, H., Voaklander, D. (Undated). Disability Management Career Awareness
Survey. International Disability Research Centre on Social & Economic Innovation.
Canada.

Health Canada and Interdepartmental Committee on Aging and Seniors Issues (2002).
Canada’s Aging Population. Canada.

Howatt, S. (2004). Employment services, we work hard to get you working! Canadian
Paraplegic Association Ontario. Canada.

Hulett, T. (2002). Accommodating and Employing Students with Disabilities
http://www.workopolis.com/servlet/Content/rprinter/20020725/ccrw_students.


Human Resources Development Canada. (1998). Evaluation of the Opportunities Fund
for Persons with Disabilities (Phase I). Canada.

Human Resources Development Canada. (1999). Lessons Learned from Evaluation of
Disability Policy and Programs. Canada.

Human Resources Development Canada (2000). In Unison 2000: Persons with
Disabilities in Canada. http://socialunion.gc.ca/In_Unison2000.


Human Resources Development Canada (2002a). Advancing the Inclusion of Persons
with Disabilities. Canada.


Human Resources Development Canada. (2003a). Defining Disability, A Complex Issue.
Canada.


Human Resources Development Canada. (2003b). Disability in Canada, A 2001 Profile.
Canada.

International Labour Office. (2002). Managing disability in the workplace. Switzerland.

John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. (2002). How The One-Stop System
Serves People with Disabilities: A Nationwide Survey of Disability Agencies. The
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy for Persons with
Disabilities. United States.

John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. (2002). One-Stop Accessibility: A
Nationwide Survey of One-Stop Centers on Services for People with Disabilities. The


                                           143
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment Policy for Persons with
Disabilities. United States.

Longfield, J., Bennett, C. (2003). Listening to Canadians: A First View of the Future of
the Canada Pension Plan. Government of Canada. Canada.

Losier, M. Thumbs up to Employers, http://nb.workink.com/articles-single.asp?ID=3552.


Lynk, M. The Duty to Accommodate in the Canadian Workplace.
http://www.workink.com/workink/national/Lynk/lynk.htm.


Ministry of Human Resources. (2002). Employment Strategy for Persons with
Disabilities. Canada.

Morris, J. (2000). Employment for Youth With Disabilities: Issues and Experiences.
Canadian Centre on Disability Studies. Canada.

National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People. (1999). The
employment scenario in India with reference to People with Disabilities. India.

National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (1996). Best Practices Case
Study, Implementing a Disability Management Program in Industry. Canada.

National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (1997). Disability
Management Program Graduates. Canada.

National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (1997). The Effects of
Disability on BC’s Economy. Canada.

National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (1998). Recommendations to
the Royal Commission into the BC Workers’ Compensation System. Canada.

National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (1999). Occupational
Standards in Disability Management Executive Summary. Canada.

National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (1999). Occupational
Standards in Disability Management. Canada.

National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (2000). Code of Practice for
Disability Management. Canada.




                                           144
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




National Institute of Disability Management and Research. (2003). Disability
Management in the Workplace (2nd Edition). Canada.

Neil Squire Foundation. http://www.neilsquire.ca.

National Educational Associations of Disabled Students (NEADS). (2003). Access to
Success: A Guide for Employers.

O’Donnell, S., Ellen, D., Duggan, C., Dunne, K. (2003). Building the Information Society
in Europe, A Pathway Approach to Employment Interventions for Disadvantaged
Groups. Itech. Ireland.

Opportunities through Rehabilitation and Work Society. http://www.orw.ca.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2003). OECD Employment
Outlook, Towards More and Better Jobs. Canada.

R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. (2003). A Profile of Persons with Disabilities in British
Columbia: Employment, Labour Market Needs and Occupational Projections. Prepared
for the Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities. Canada.

The Roeher Institute. http://www.roeher.ca/english/about/about.htm

Roslyn Kunin & Associates, Inc. (2003a). 2010 Labour Demand Analysis. Prepared for
the 2010 Human Resources Planning Committee. Canada.

Roslyn Kunin & Associates, Inc. (2003b). 2010 Labour Supply and Gap Analysis.
Prepared for the 2010 Human Resources Planning Committee. Canada.

Sandys, J. Immigration and Settlement Issues for Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities:
An Exploratory Study. http://ceris.metropolis.net/ virtual%20library/health/ sandysj1.html.


State Services Commission, Wellington, New Zealand. (2002).Moving Forward, EEO for
People with Disabilities in the Public Service. New Zealand.


Stienstra, D., Annable, G., Morris-Wales, J., Matanga, Z. (2002). Best Practices in the
Home-Based Employment of People with Disabilities. Canadian Centre on Disability
Studies. Canada.

Sutton, I. (2003). What we all need to learn. Special to The Globe and Mail. Canada.




                                            145
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




Teicher, S. (Undated). Ready, willing, and working. Christian Science Monitor. United
States.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (September, 2001a). Research on
Employment Supports for People with Disabilities: Summary of the Focus Group
Findings Executive Summary. http://www.aspe.hhs.gov/ daltcp/reports/fgfindes.htm.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (September 2001b). Research on
Employment Supports for People with Disabilities - The Role of Supports in Successful
Labor Force Entry for Youth with Disabilities. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. http://
www.aspe.hhs.gov/ daltcp/ reports/ youthlfe.htm.

U.S. Department of Labour, Office of Disability Employment Policy,
http://www.dol.gov/odep/.


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Undated). The Americans with
Disabilities Act: A Primer for Small Business. United States.

Watson Hyatt, G. (2002). Simplified Web Accessibility Guide. Ministry of Advanced
Education and Human Resources Development Canada (BC/Yukon Region). British
Columbia.

Worksupport.com. Disability Friendly Strategies for the Workplace.
http://www.worksupport.com/Main/disability_friendly_strategies.asp.

WORKink Alberta. (2003). Employ with Expertise: A Toolkit for Success in Hiring
Individuals with a Disability. Alberta.




                                           146
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                     APPENDICES




APPENDIX 1 – Employer Survey Questionnaire (Long Version)

APPENDIX 2 – Employer Survey Questionnaire (Short Version)

APPENDIX 3 – Minister of Human Resources Letter of Support

APPENDIX 4 – WCG International Letter with Employer Survey

APPENDIX 5 – Key Informant Interview Questions

APPENDIX 6 – Case Study Work Plan

APPENDIX 7 – Methodology for Establishing Reliability of Responses

APPENDIX 8 – Validation Focus Group Guide

APPENDIX 9 – List of Programs and Services

APPENDIX 10 – Key Informant Interviews

APPENDIX 11 – Focus Group Participants




                                           147
 RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




APPENDIX 1 – Employer Survey Questionnaire (Long Version)




                                           148
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          149
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          150
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          151
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          152
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          153
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          154
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          155
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          156
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          157
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          158
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          159
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA RESEARCH REPORT




                                          160
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  161
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  162
      RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



APPENDIX 2 – Employer Survey Questionnaire (Short Version)




                                        163
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  164
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  165
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  166
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  167
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  168
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



APPENDIX 3 - Minister of Human Resources Letter of Support (Employer
Survey)




June 9, 2004


Dear Employer:

As Minister of Human Resources I am dedicated to assisting persons with disabilities to
achieve their social and economic potential. Most persons with disabilities can and do
want to work. Despite greater access to technology and education, trends indicate that
persons with disabilities continue to experience high levels of unemployment and low
levels of labour market participation.
The Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities was created in
January, 2003. The overarching goal of the Council is to advise the Minister of Human
Resources on solutions and strategies for increasing the employment, employability and
independence of persons with disabilities, particularly through partnerships with
business and industry throughout British Columbia.

A key project of the Council is the research project Recruitment and Retention of
Persons with Disabilities. The purpose of this project is to better understand the
workplace environment, including the issues faced by employees with disabilities, their
co-workers and their employers. The project includes two components:
•   Research to document BC employers’ experiences, approaches, challenges and
    best practices with respect to recruitment and retention of employees with
    disabilities; and
•   Creation of a handbook for BC employers to recruit and or accommodate persons
    with disabilities.
         On behalf of the Council, I would appreciate your assistance in completing this
         15 minute survey being conducted by WCG International, who is the contractor
         managing this project. The above letter from WCG provides more information
         about the survey process, and explains the role you can play in improving
         labour market participation by persons with disabilities.




                                           169
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



Thank you in advance for completing the survey.

Yours truly,




Stanley B. Hagen
Minister


Ministry of             Office of the Minister         Mailing Address:       Location:
Human Resources                                        Parliament Buildings   Parliament Buildings, Victoria
                                                       Victoria BC V8W 9H8




                                                 170
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



APPENDIX 4 - WCG Letter with Employer Survey




Date

Dear [client name]

On behalf of the British Columbia Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with
Disabilities, we would appreciate your assistance in conducting a survey on employment
of persons with disabilities. The purpose of this study is to provide the Council with
information that can be used to help make recommendations for programs and initiatives
to increase the employment of persons with disabilities.

Employers will benefit directly from this project. By participating in this survey, you will
help develop research results related to employing persons with disabilities. In particular
a resource guide on best practices will be developed to assist employers in recruiting
and retaining persons with disabilities.

Your establishment was randomly selected from a list of businesses and public sector
organizations in the province.

While this survey is completely voluntary, your participation will be greatly appreciated.
Any information you provide is confidential and will be retained in accordance with the
laws of Canada regarding the protection of personal information (i.e., the Privacy Act
and the Access to Information Act.) The information collected is for research purposes
and will be reported in aggregate form only with no personal identifiers used.

To complete the survey, please click on the link below to use the survey tool, Survey
Logix, provided by Sparklit Networks: [Link]

It is expected that the survey will take about 15 minutes to complete.

If you would like to complete the survey through means other than the internet, please
contact WCG at (toll-free) [#], between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00 pm Monday to
Friday. In addition, you may contact WCG by email at [email].




                                            171
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



If you would like to have more information about the survey, please contact [name] of
WCG at [phone].

Sincerely,




                                          172
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




APPENDIX 5 - Key Informant Interview Questions


Purpose of the interview

The goals of the interview are to obtain:

a) employers’, persons with disabilities’ and stakeholders’ perspectives on the recruitment and
retention of persons with disabilities in employment, including exploring the boundaries of the
issues, the evidence about the issues and causes, and possible solutions;

b) stakeholders views on barriers and solutions to matching persons with disabilities with
appropriate employment opportunities;

c) examples of effective practices, critical success factors, pitfalls to avoid, etc. regarding the
recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities; and,

d) information on any pertinent literature, data, websites, potential champions and case studies
that should be included in the project research.

Confidentiality

All information obtained from the interview will be used for only this project and all views
regarding the interviewee’s perspectives will be treated with confidentiality and will respect
anonymity.

Note

These questions are directed particularly at employers and persons with disabilities with
reference to the experience, challenges and opportunities for employers to recruit and retain
persons with disabilities. They will also be adapted for use with other stakeholders. Some
questions may not apply to certain interviewees.




                                                  173
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                    INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Part 1 – Opening Questions

1.1
Describe the role of your organization and yourself with regard to persons with disabilities
generally and regarding the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities in particular.


1.2
Describe your level of familiarity and experience with persons with disabilities, particularly with
regard to recruiting, employing and otherwise working with persons with disabilities?



1.3
How do you think trends in the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities have
changed over the last 10 years? If not already addressed, what are the reasons for these shifts?


1.4
To what extent have you recruited and/or employed persons with disabilities? What has your
experience been in this regard in terms of challenges and benefits? If you have not done so,
please indicate why.

Part 2 – Challenges, Opportunities and Supports
2.1
What do you think are the most important barrier(s) or challenges which make it more difficult for
employers to recruit and retain persons with disabilities?


2.2
Describe your experiences and/or the experiences of your organization or other specific
examples that illustrate the barriers or challenges you identified?


2.3
What pitfalls or practices do you think employers should avoid in recruiting, employing and
training persons with disabilities?




2.4
What do you think are the most important barriers preventing or limiting persons with disabilities
from participating in work-based education and training that leads directly to and/or maintains
employment?


2.5
What awareness and/or experience do you have with workplace accommodations to make
jobsites and work more accessible to persons with disabilities? What is your understanding of
the costs and challenges of such accommodations?




                                                 174
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



2.6
What is your awareness and/or experience with disability management and return-to-work
programs? How can they be used to improve the re-employment and retention of injured
workers?


2.7
Describe a few examples of practices you have used or experienced which have been effective
in recruiting and/or retaining persons with disabilities. Explain the reason(s) you think they have
been successful in this regard.


2.8
Identify what you think are some key critical success factors which enable employers to
effectively recruit and retain persons with disabilities?


2.9
How can employers, industry groups, representatives of persons with disabilities, and service
providers improve mechanisms and programs to more readily match persons with disabilities
with appropriate employment opportunities? What kinds of information, services, and support
would facilitate such matching?


2.10
What kinds of supports and resources do you think are most important for persons with
disabilities and for helping employers to recruit and retain persons with disabilities?


2.11
What kinds of government assistance programs/services/incentives would help you to recruit
and retain persons with disabilities? Who should provide this assistance?


2.12
As part of this project, the Minister’s Council is sponsoring the development an Employers’
Handbook. This will be a practical, user-friendly toolkit and resource guide to assist employer
planning and prepare for and execute strategies to recruit and retain persons with disabilities.
What kinds of information, tools, and resources do you think would be most useful for employers
in this handbook?




                                                175
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



Part 3 – Sources of literature, data, etc.

Part of this project includes a comprehensive review of what can be learned from all pertinent
literature and data regarding the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities.

3.1
What key publications and data about recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities
published in the past five years are you aware of that we should include in the research?


3.2
What organizations and individuals do you know or think have valuable information for this
project?


3.3
What important gaps or deficiencies exist in information or data on barriers and accessibility to
employment?

Part 4 – Other Information

Site visits and case studies will be used to complement survey data, interview and focus group
findings, and to allow a more qualitative understanding of employer barriers and critical success
factors to recruiting and retaining persons with disabilities. This research also involves
identifying employer champions who may participate in a forum with the Minister’s Council on
Employment for Persons with Disabilities.

4.1
What employers or organizations do you think might make for interesting case studies or site
visits on the recruitment and/or retention of persons with disabilities for us to investigate and
document?


4.2
Can you identify employer champions who may be interested in supporting the work of the
Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities?

4.3
Are there particular questions or issues that you think we should be asking employers, persons
with disabilities and stakeholders when we conduct interviews and focus group sessions?




Thank you very much for participating in this interview and project.

Please indicate if you would like to obtain a copy of the summary report of this project
when it is available.




                                                 176
      RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



APPENDIX 6 - Case Study Work Plan




                   Case Study Interviews

                                Work Plan




           WCG INTERNATIONAL CONSULTANTS LTD.


 Recruitment and Retention of Persons with Disabilities Project



                           For Internal Use Only




                                July 27, 2004




                                        177
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



Goal
To record 6 case studies of successful employment situations. Cases will be documented
through worksite visits of 6 different employers. The selection of sites will reflect some diversity in
terms of employer size, industry, occupation, disability type.

Specific outputs of this project are:
        a completed case study document covering 6 different employers in BC
        a “Best Practices” video showcasing successful employment practices
        backup material such as interview lists, questionnaires, release forms, etc.

Timing
The case studies will be conducted during the first half of August. If necessary, candidates will be
changed to accommodate timely completion. The results of the case studies will be documented
during the latter part of August. A “Best Practices” video will also be compiled, edited and
produced during this time.

Resources
The lead on this project will be Rob Sorensen. In addition, two of his staff will work with him on
this project (a camera operator and a narrator) to help complete the video.

Preparation
Interview candidates will be contacted by telephone to explain the project and ask for their
participation.

Suggested Breakdown of Key Characteristics
Our aim will be to obtain interviews from a variety of employers. A target breakdown of
employers is:

Employer Size: 2 small (less than 50 employees), 4 large
Industry: 1 retail, 1 manufacturing, 1 financial services, 1 health care, 1 public sector/government,
1 small business
Occupations: aim for a variety categorized as in the survey
Disability types: aim for a variety categorized as in the survey
Geographic location: 1 or 2 Victoria, 2 Vancouver, 1 Vancouver Island, 1 Okanagan, possibly 1 in
Northern BC.

The specific companies studied may vary if necessary to accomplish the project on time.

Format
All case study interviews will be conducted in-person, on-site with the employer and the
employee(s).
        a typical interview is expected to run 1-2 hours in duration
        most, if not all, interviews will be video taped for use in a “Best Practices” video
        we will also take photographs (employee, employer, workplace, etc.) for use in the case
        study report
        follow-up questions may be asked by telephone to gather additional information


Questions/Topics to Cover
The following questions/topics will be explored. In addition, other areas may be covered
depending upon the interview and the nature of the employment, etc.



                                                 178
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



Employer
      Nature of the business
      Number of employees in total
      Whether or not the company has a unionized workforce
      General information on how long and how many PWD have been employed
      How formal are their HR systems around hiring PWD
      What have they learned about improving the hiring process
      Same questions regarding retention of someone who becomes disabled while they are
      an employee
      Identify the key players/roles involved in the hiring/RTW process
      Workplace challenges that have been overcome (what, how, etc.)
      What resources did you use to help
      What support systems were needed
      Have they done any program evaluations
      Workplace challenges that still need to be resolved
      What do they see as the benefits of hiring PWD
      What do they see as the benefits of having a return to work program
      Advice to other employers
      Collection of any specific materials relating to the employment of PWD (i.e. mission
      statements, statistics, assessment tools, etc.)

Employees (may be more than 1 per employer)
      Employment history prior to joining company
      Employment history with company
      Future employment plans
      Nature of disability (what, where, when, etc.)
      Workplace challenges that have been overcome (what, how, etc.)
      What resources did you use to help
      What support systems were needed
      Workplace challenges that still need to be resolved

Other
A release form will be used for all people being interviewed to ensure that we have their
permission to use their interviews in the video.




                                               179
            RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  Authorization & Release

                 Authorization to Reproduce Physical Likeness

1.         I understand that Sorensen & Associates (the “Producer”) is producing a video/film as
       part of a research project for the British Columbia Ministry of Human Resources and the
       Minister’s Council on Employment for People with Disabilities.

2.         I understand that the final production may be produced in any number of versions or as
       part of other related productions.

3.          As a person appearing and participating in the video/film, I allow the use of my name,
       portrait, picture, recordings, utterances, information provided during or after my interview
       (collectively “the Material”) in the production and printed materials based on the production
       and in all publicity and advertising related to it.

4.          I release and hold harmless the producers of the video/film, including Sorensen &
       Associates, the British Columbia Ministry of Human Resources, the Province of British
       Columbia and their agents from all manners of claims relating directly or indirectly to the use
       of the Material in connection with the production.

5.         I recognize that I will receive a DVD copy of the final product and no cash payment from
       the Producer.

6.         As a person appearing in the video/film, I will receive screen credit at the end of the
       production using the name shown below.

7.         I hereby certify that I have read the foregoing and fully understand the meaning and
       effect thereof and, intending to be legally bound, I agree to the conditions of the authorization
       and release set out above.

Signed:      _____________________________                  Date: ____________________

Name:        _____________________________

Address: _____________________________

             _____________________________

Tel:         _____________________________




                                                   180
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



APPENDIX 7 – Reliability of Survey Findings
The WCG International database of employers containing approximately 115, 000 businesses
and public sector organizations was used as the master frame for drawing random samples. A
small number of supplementary samples were also selected from lists of public sector
organizations where WCG database was found to be under represented and from members of
the BC Human Resource Managers’ Association (HRMA). Altogether, the project team contacted
approximately 3,000 employers with targeted completion of at least 500 responses. A portion of
the respondents were sent the long form survey with over 60 questions and the reminder
received the short form survey with 26 core questions, which were a subset of the long form
survey. Thus all respondents received the 26 core questions.

The actual survey responses numbered approximately 520 consisting 224 long form completions
and the remainder from the short form completions.

Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a survey: sampling error and non-
sampling error. Non-sampling error may occur for reasons such as non-response bias, incorrect
responses, interviewer errors, attrition and processing errors. Sampling error is a measure of the
variability that occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, responds to a survey.

The first important assumption in analyzing the survey results is that the 520 respondents are
representative of the universe of 110,000 or businesses in the province. The second is that the
response bias because of questions’ wording is not material. The third is that non-response bias
of 520 responses out of 3000 organizations that were contacted the survey is not significant. All
of these assumptions are typical of most surveys undertaken although the extent of errors varies
with the method of sample selection and design of questionnaire (wording).

The sample errors are quantitatively measurable. One measure of the likely difference is given by
the standard error. There are about nineteen chances in twenty (or 95%) that the difference will
be less than 2 (1.96 to be precise) standard errors. Standard errors enable us to calculate
confidence intervals for the estimates. By convention, a 95% confidence interval is applied in
judging the reliability of survey estimates. That is, if the survey were to be repeated there is a
95% chance that the new results obtained would be within plus or minus twice the standard error.

For a variable measuring proportion of population, such as the proportion, p, giving a ‘yes’
response can be estimated by first calculating the variance

Variance = [p(1-p)/(n-1)]x[(N-n)/N]

Where n = sample responding and N = total population of members

Standard error = Square Root of Variance and

90% Confidence interval = ± 1.645xStandrd Error and


                                                 181
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



95% Confidence Interval = ± 1.96xStandard Error

In this survey, for the province as a whole sample response is n = 520; response to additional
questions in the Long Form Survey n’ = 224; universe of all members is, say N = 110,000.

Excluding the non-sampling errors or biases discussed above, the following table shows the
relationship between proportion p giving a particular response (e.g. yes, no or unsure) and the
95% confidence interval.


                Table 1    Reliability of Various Proportions of Responses


                                      Core Survey Responses       Long Form Responses

      Proportion, p, %     Fraction      Variance 95% Intervals       Variance 95% Intervals

                                                     ± % points                  ± % points

                    10         0.1        0.00017           2.6        0.00040                3.9

                    20         0.2        0.00031           3.4        0.00072                5.2

                    30         0.3        0.00040           3.9        0.00094                6.0

                    40         0.4        0.00046           4.2        0.00107                6.4

                    50         0.5        0.00048           4.3        0.00112                6.6

                    60         0.6        0.00046           4.2        0.00107                6.4

                    70         0.7        0.00040           3.9        0.00094                6.0

                    80         0.8        0.00031           3.4        0.00072                5.2

                    90         0.9        0.00017           2.6        0.00040                3.9



Survey Results


Using the above table or the formula, one can readily estimate the confidence range for
responses in each of the nine survey questions. The table 2 summarizes the estimates. The
range of the 95% confidence intervals for most responses is 2 to 4%. For instance, response to
question on whether the employer had an employee with disabilities had an affirmative response
from 31% of respondents. We can be 95% certain that had we conducted a census of all the
115,000 employers in the database that the result would have been within 31±3.9% or between
27% and 35%.




                                               182
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



Table 2          Illustrative Results For Selected Survey Questions

                                                                      Yes Responses
                                                                     95% Confidence Range
                                                                      Low
  Survey Question                                                   End          High End

  1.     Have employees with disabilities on payroll (Percent
  affirmative responses)                                                    27         35

  2. What disabilities would prove to be barriers to work in the
  company? (Response for Hearing Impairment)                                19         25

  3. Policies and programs in place to reduce barriers
  (Response for Flexible work breaks)                                       24         32

  4. Training and job carving opportunities ( Response for Job
  carving                                                                   21        278


  5. Training and job carving opportunities (Response for willing
  to adapt training for learning disabilities                               36         44

  6. Work place supports available (Response for return to work
  program)                                                                  15         19

7. Work place supports available (Response for
easier building access)
                                                                            18         24

8. Assistance in hiring or retaining persons with disabilities
(Response for funding for training)                                         23         31


  9. Responsibility for Assistance (Response for Govt programs)             34         42



  10. Topics for Inclusion in the Employer’s Handbook
  (Response for human resource policies)                                    28         36




                                                 183
      RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



APPENDIX 8 - Validation Focus Group Guide




      RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH
                     DISABILITIES


              FOCUS GROUP FACILITATOR’S GUIDE




                          Prepared by:    Lynda Cronin
                                          Lynda Cronin Consulting Ltd.
                                          April 2004




                                         184
      RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



                                TABLE OF CONTENTS



INTRODUCTION

PART I – FOCUS GROUP FUNDAMENTALS

1.   Planning
     (a)    Room set-up
     (b)    Audio or video-taping

2.   Basics of Facilitation
     (a)     Creating a comfortable atmosphere
     (b)     Maintaining neutrality
     (c)     Seeking balance
     (d)     Conveying purposefulness
     (e)     Establishing round rules

3.   Handling Individual Behaviour
     (a)    Stimulating discussion
     (b)    Controlling dominant talkers
     (c)    Encouraging the shy

4.   Taking Notes

PART II – FOCUS GROUP ON RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF PERSONS
WITH DISABILITIES

5.   The Script
     (a)    As participants arrive
     (b)    Introduction of facilitator and note-taker
     (c)    Confidentiality
     (d)    Consent forms and participant questionnaire
     (e)    Compensation
     (f)    Purpose of the focus group
     (g)    Participant introductions
     (h)    Questions
     (i)    Follow-up
     (j)    Closing remarks

6.   The Report

CONCLUSION




                                           185
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



INTRODUCTION

As part of a comprehensive project on the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities,
the consortium consisting of WCG International Consultants Ltd., Human Capital Strategies,
Spark Group Management Consulting Inc., and Sorensen & Associates will be conducting a
series of focus group sessions with employers, service providers and organizations for persons
with disabilities in five regional centres across British Columbia.

The purpose of these sessions is:
   -       to validate the results obtained from earlier research and surveys;
   -       to identify research gaps;
   -       to present and receive feed-back on collected case examples; and
   -       to gather additional information with respect to training, employment and workplace
           issues for persons with disabilities.

The objective of the project as a whole is to provide the Ministre’s Council on Persons With
Disabilities with:
    -        a better understanding of the extent of the problems faced by persons with
             disabilities;
    -        valuable research data that may also be used in other Ministre’s Council initiatives;
    -        the identification of priority issues for employers;
    -        a better understanding of other issues which may or may not be understood
             currently; and
    -        the identification of leaders in the area of employment of persons with disabilities.

The project, and particularly the focus group component, may have the added side-benefit of
generating increased awareness among employers regarding the options available to them in
addressing issues related to hiring and retaining persons with disabilities.

As the focus groups will likely be conducted by different facilitators, this booklet is intended to
provide guidance to promote a consistent standard in focus group planning, implementation and
assessment.




                                                186
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



PART I – FOCUS GROUP FUNDAMENTALS


1.      Planning

The success of any focus group relies largely on the skill of the facilitator. There is no question,
however, that careful attention to logistical and physical details can help to increase the likelihood
of success. Nothing beats planning and preparation. The more comfortable participants are, the
more likely they are to provide spontaneous, honest responses and make a positive contribution
to the process as a whole.

(a)     Room set-up

A comfortable, independent discussion space will help to make participants feel relaxed and more
confident to express themselves.

        •                          Ideally, the focus group should take place in an independent
                 location, rather than in a related organization’s meeting room. It is important that
                 participants consider the process to be truly neutral. If discussion takes place in
                 the meeting room of an organization that is known to have a stake in the
                 outcome, you run the risk of some participants feeling that the perspective of that
                 organization is somehow influencing the process.
        •                          Have good signage in the building, leading participants easily to
                 the correct room.
        •                          Check temperature and light levels in the room to ensure it is
                 comfortable.
        •                          The focus group should be interruption-free. There should be no
                 phone calls taken and no possibility of a knock on the door with an emergency.
                 This process is considerably aided if the discussion takes place outside a
                 participant’s place of work.
        •                          Refreshments such as coffee, tea and juice should be available.
                 It is a welcoming thing to do, and little enough to offer in return for the
                 participants making themselves available. Additionally, some people feel more
                 comfortable with something in their hands. A cup of coffee may help them relax
                 and participate more easily.
        •                          If possible, a round table is preferable to a square or rectangular
                 one. There is no “head of the table”; people cannot “take sides”; and everyone
                 can see and relate to everyone else.
        •                          At least two flip charts should be available. This will allow the
                 facilitator to move from one to the other with ease and not have to stop the flow
                 of conversation while fiddling with a paper change.
        •                          Ensure a supply of tacks and/or tape to post flip chart sheets for
                 continuous display.

(b)     Audio or video-taping

Not everyone is comfortable with speaking while being recorded or filmed. The more unobtrusive
you can make the technical equipment, the more likely participants are to be relaxed.

If the group is going to be video-taped, it is highly advisable to use a room specifically designed
for this purpose, with the camera(s) out of sight of participants. If this option is not available, a
small, stationary camera is preferable to someone moving about the room filming.

Similarly, recording equipment should be as small as possible and placed discretely where it can
pick up the conversation without being a distraction.



                                                 187
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.      Basics of Facilitation

A good facilitator is part conjuror, part juggler, part referee. You have to be both pushy enough to
make people follow your agenda and nice enough to make them want to. You need to care, and
show that you care, about the participants and the process, while putting aside any personal
biases you may have about the topic under discussion.

(a)     Creating a comfortable atmosphere

Even more important than creating a comfortable physical space is creating a comfortable
atmosphere. Some of the people participating in the focus group may be apprehensive about
doing so. They may be unsure what is expected of them and feel self-conscious about making a
bad impression. Some may consider the session as a kind of performance or test, where their
comments or behaviour will be analyzed and evaluated.

It is the facilitator’s role to ensure that each participant feels welcome, comfortable, appreciated
and, ultimately, pleased to have taken part in the group.

        •                              Ask people to arrive at least ten minutes before you plan to
                 begin the substantive part of the focus group.
        •                              Greet everyone as they arrive at the door – welcome them,
                 introduce yourself and thank them for taking the time to participate.
        •                              Check them in efficiently and move them toward the
                 refreshments.
        •                              Chat briefly with each person about an every-day topic – not
                 the topic of the focus group.
        •                              Be genuinely friendly.

If you are relaxed and friendly, your participants will be as well.

(b)     Maintaining neutrality

As an individual, you may have views; as facilitator, however, your behaviour must give no clue to
those views. There is no right or wrong answer in a focus group. Your behaviour should
demonstrate that every response is interesting. No answer is better or worse, more positive or
more negative, than any other.

        •                                Examine your own biases and prejudices in advance. Be
                 clear about what they are and consciously put them aside for the duration of the
                 focus group.
        •                                Let people know their opinions have been heard. Putting a
                 few key words on the flip chart as people speak helps to reinforce that you’ve
                 heard what they’ve said. It also provides them with the opportunity to make
                 corrections if you have not quite caught the gist of their comments.
        •                                Use positive head nods and comments such as “uh-huh”,
                 “okay”, “alright” or “I understand” to indicate that you have understood what a
                 participant has said.
        •                                Say “thank you” in response to comments.
        •                                Resist leaping to any preliminary conclusions.
        •                                Avoid comments such as “that’s a good idea”. It may be
                 misinterpreted by someone else in the group as “that’s a better idea than mine”.
        •                                Never disagree with a participant’s opinions. The purpose of
                 the session is to elicit opinions, not to challenge them. You can and should,


                                                  188
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



                 however, feel free to ask a participant to elaborate on the reasons behind a
                 comment.
        •                             The one exception to the “never disagree” rule is if someone
                 makes a statement that is racist, sexist or clearly offensive - in which case you
                 must make clear immediately that such remarks are not appropriate.
        •                             Watch your body language. Avoid crossed arms. Keeping a
                 marker in your hand can help.
        •                             Be aware of your facial expression. Cultivate a pleasant,
                 encouraging expression and try not to frown. Be relaxed and don’t be afraid to
                 smile and laugh.

(c)     Seeking balance

Ideally, all participants will contribute equally to the focus group discussion. In most cases,
however, some people tend to try to dominate the conversation. It is the facilitator’s role to
ensure that does not happen.

        •                                  Be sensitive to the composition of your group.
                                                   Try to be aware of any natural divisions in the
                 room – divisions related to social status, relative positions in an organization,
                 academic background, etc.
                                                   Ask if people already know each other and try to
                 determine if there are any natural alliances or antagonisms among participants.
        •                                  Use your own behaviour as a model. Give equal
                 attention to each participant and treat everyone with equal respect.
        •                                  Use subtle cues to encourage quieter people to speak
                 out and to discourage the overly talkative. (see section 3 for some hints).

(d)     Conveying purposefulness

A good facilitator should demonstrate a “curious intensity” coupled with a lack of involvement in
the subject matter. This is an intricate balancing act but one that can pay big dividends. You are
involved in the sense that you want to know, that you care about, what the participants in your
focus group think. Your ego and personal views, however, must be left at the door. For the
process to be successful, the facilitator must be a cooperative, interested, active listener, whose
role is to move the conversation forward. The group must trust you to know what needs to
happen and when it is time to move on to new topics.

        •                            Stick to your game plan and make sure the appropriate
                 topics are discussed.
        •                            Follow the interview questions faithfully. Some questions
                 may need to be asked verbatim more than once.
        •                            Listen carefully to the answers and use both explicit and
                 implicit messages to construct follow-up questions that will lead toward a broader
                 understanding.
        •                            Guide the pace of the meeting. Establish time limits for each
                 question and gently move the group along.
        •                            Remain in full control, albeit as unobtrusively as possible.

If you demonstrate to the group by your behaviour that you know what you are doing, that you
have the best interests of the process at heart and that you genuinely want to hear and
understand their views, they will follow your lead.

(e)     Establishing ground rules



                                                 189
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



It will help everyone concerned if the facilitator establishes a clear understanding of the process
at the beginning of the session. Outlining how you intend to proceed and clarifying your
expectations of participants provides everyone with a sense of certainty and confidence.

Ground rules will vary depending on the nature of the focus group but may include such things
as:

        •                             Everyone has the opportunity to speak uninterrupted.
        •                             Speak your truth. There are no right or wrong answers. The
                purpose of the group is to elicit a variety of opinions and perspectives.
        •                             Feel free to ask clarifying questions of other participants but
                be respectful of different views
        •                             Avoid personal comments.
        •                             Be aware of time and the need to ensure that everyone can
                participate.
        •                             Follow the facilitator’s guidance about time and whose turn it
                is to talk.
        •                             Confidentiality – everything that is said in the room stays in
                the room.


3.          Handling Individual Behaviour

The facilitator has no control over who will be in the focus group. You do, however, have the
ability to influence how the participants will act.

(a)     Stimulating discussion

The facilitator will be provided with the key questions that the focus group is being asked to
consider. It is a good idea to think in advance of different ways of framing those questions, both
to provide people with time to think about the issue and to stimulate them to consider it from
different perspectives.

For example, a main question may be:

        “What would be the implications of private sector organizations being required by
        legislation to implement programs to recruit persons with disabilities?”

        •                                 Pause for at least five seconds after asking the question.
        •                                 Look around the group encouragingly.
        •                                 Don’t try to rush things.
        •                                 Pick up on body language. Acknowledge someone who
                looks like they would like to respond.

You may, however, be faced with a silence longer than anticipated. In that case, be ready to re-
frame the question differently:

        “What do you think would be the result if the government were to require private
        companies to hire persons with disabilities?”

If necessary, make a direct link with someone:

        “Jennifer, you work for a major corporation. What do you think would happen if it were
        obliged by law to make a special effort to find and hire persons with disabilities?”



                                                 190
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




After people have started to talk, feel free to prompt them:

      -       “Tell me more about that.”
      -       “I don’t understand.”
      -       “Could you provide me with an example so that I am sure I understand what you
              mean.”

Look for ways to expand the discussion:

      -        “Do you think there would be any impact on the quality of the work – positive or
              negative?”
      -       “What do you think would be the reaction of other staff?”
      -       “How do you think your customers would respond?”

Invite participants to express a different point of view:

      -       “Does anyone see it differently?”

Embrace emotion. Enthusiasm and passion on the part of participants is a positive sign that they
are truly engaged in the discussion. Just don’t let it get out of hand. If the emotional temperature
seems to be rising, try a smile and moving the conversation to a different topic.

(b)       Controlling dominant talkers

Some people just naturally take centre stage. It is a rare focus group that does not include at
least one person who wants to take up more than his or her share of the time. As facilitator, it is
your responsibility to move them along.

                              •      Use subtle clues, e.g.:
                                          o withdraw eye contact;
                                          o stop taking notes and move away from the flip chart;
                                          o turn slightly away from the person and toward others in
                                              the group.
                              •      If that doesn’t work, be direct:
                                          o “Thanks, John. Now I’d like to hear what the rest of you
                                              think about…”
                              •      Sometimes you have to interrupt:
                                          o “Excuse me, Margaret. I’m sorry to have to interrupt
                                              you, but we’re running a bit short on time and I want to
                                              make sure everyone has a chance to address this
                                              issue.”
                                          o Then, look at someone else, address them by name and
                                              repeat the question.

(c)       Encouraging the shy

Others find it more difficult to speak out in groups. These people need to be encouraged rather
than discouraged.

          •                              Make eye contact.
          •                              Smile.
          •                              Do a round-table, where every person is called upon to
                  respond in turn.



                                                   191
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



        •                             If it seems appropriate – and this is always a judgement call
                 – call on the person by name for a response, e.g. “What do you think about this
                 issue, Evelyn? Would it be likely to work in your firm?”


4.      Taking Notes

The flip chart can be a facilitator’s best friend. Not only is it a visible sign that you have
accurately heard what was said, the notes provide a valuable prompt to help you remember the
nature and tone of the discussion.

Sometimes, however, you may want to take note of something that occurs without reflecting it
publicly. For example, someone’s body language may be striking or an interaction between or
among participants may be relevant.

Have a notepad handy and feel free to write yourself notes as things occur. Be careful, however,
not to let your note-taking become so extensive that it interferes with the free flow of discussion.

Some focus groups include not only a facilitator but a note-taker. In these circumstances, the
note-taker should be introduced at the beginning and the function described. The note-taker
should sit apart from the group, out of participant sight lines, and should not participate in the
discussion in any way. Facilitator and note-taker should confer in advance to ensure that the
note-taker is aware of any issues of particular importance to the facilitator and can take notes
accordingly.


PART II – FOCUS GROUP ON RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
5.      The Script


(a)     As participants arrive

Greet participants at the door. Sign them in, provide them with a folder of information, encourage
them to help themselves to refreshments. Make polite small talk – comment on the weather, their
trip to town, any difficulty finding the room, anything that might serve to break the ice and start
people talking. Encourage them to introduce themselves to others present. Ask them to take a
seat and make themselves comfortable and to fill out the consent form and profile questionnaire
while waiting for the focus group to begin.

(b)     Introduction of facilitator and note-taker

Welcome and thank you for coming today. My name is __________ and this is ___________.
We are both from ___________ .
I have been asked to facilitate today’s focus group. My role, for the most part, is to help us get
through our agenda in the time that we have available to us and to ensure that you all have the
opportunity to participate fully. I will be using the flip charts to reflect key points as we go along,
but ________ will be taking more detailed notes. Additionally, we are taping the session in order
to ensure that we record the discussion accurately.


(c)     Confidentiality



                                                  192
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



We want you to speak freely, however, so let me assure you that all of our discussion today is
confidential. We will not be identifying any participants in reports or other materials relating to this
study, and no one will be quoted by name or organization.

I’d also like you to extend that confidentiality among yourselves. I think we’ll all speak more freely
if we agree in advance that what we say in this room stays in this room. Agreed?

(d)     Consent forms and participant questionnaire (don’t know if you’re planning on using
these but just in case…)

Before we begin our discussions, I would like to read the consent form given to you when you
came in. If you haven’t already done so, please sign it and return it to me. This will be our record
that you agree to participate in the focus group and to the taping. (Read the form out loud.)

Before you leave, we would also like to collect the questionnaire in your packets. This
questionnaire gives us some information about your background. It will be used for descriptive
purposes only. As I said earlier, we will never use any identifying information such as your name
or the name of your organization.

(e)     Compensation (if you are offering an honorarium for participation, this is where we
should explain how it will be forthcoming)


(f)     Purpose of the focus group

As you were informed when you were initially contacted to participate in this group, WCG
International Consultants Ltd. is conducting a major study for the Minister’s Council on Persons
With Disabilities on the issue of the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities.

Over the past few months, we have been conducting research to establish the current
state of employment for persons with disabilities in British Columbia. We have been reviewing
existing data on the employment experiences of persons with disabilities as well as the
experience of employers. We are trying to determine what challenges are being encountered and
what approaches and best practices are being used to hire and keep persons with disabilities in
the workforce.

What we want to do with you today - and with four other focus groups around the province – is to
present you with the results of that research and have you tell us if it accurately and fully reflects
what you know about the employment situation facing persons with disabilities. Do the research
findings reflect your experience and that of your colleagues or organization? Where are the
gaps? Are the case studies we are using to try to help people understand the issues realistic and
appropriate?

In essence, you are our truth-telling group. It is one thing to collect information. It is another to
live the experience. We are hoping that you will share with us your perspectives, based on your
experiences, and, in so doing, help us to make this research practical and useful.


(g)     Participant introductions

Now, I’d like to go around the table and have each of you introduce yourselves and your
organizations and perhaps provide a little information about your background and involvement, if
any, in this area.

Do any of you already know each other?


                                                  193
           RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




(h)        Instructions

Let me being by reviewing how the session will unfold. We have ______ hours together, during
which time I will be putting to you ______ questions or situations that reflect what we have
learned to date in our research about the employment of persons with disabilities. I want to know
what each of you has to say about each of those discussion topics.

There are a couple of common-sense guidelines that I want to establish up-front:

      1.      We are interested in hearing a range of opinions and points of view. There are no
              right or wrong answers to these questions, and we are not here to resolve the issues.
              We would just like to have a sense of your views.
      2.      Remember that we have limited time together. I would ask you to keep your points
              succinct and make sure that you leave time for everyone to participate.
      3.      Remember to be respectful of each other and your different views. Please don’t
              interrupt or hold “side conversations” while someone is speaking. Let’s really listen to
              what each of us has to say. I’ll ensure that everybody has a chance to get their views
              on the table.
      4.      Occasionally, I may have to interrupt the discussion in order to bring us back to a
              particular topic to make sure that we cover everything on our agenda. For the most
              part, however, I hope you will feel free to truly explore these issues.

Does anyone have any questions?

Cell phones off?

Great. Let’s get started.

(i)        Questions
Main (followed by re-phrasings)

(j)        Follow-up

For your information, the results of this discussion, together with the information
gathered from the other four focus groups, will be incorporated into an overall
presentation to the Minister’s Council on Persons With Disabilites this Fall. The
presentation will include key results from the research, a review of the
preliminary contents of the Employers’ Handbook, and recommendations for
moving forward.

That should not be the end, however. It is our goal that the research results and
the employer handbook continue to provide long-lasting benefits to persons with
disabilities and employers in British Columbia and assist the Minister’s Council in
developing its programs over the years to come.
(k)        Closing remarks

I want to thank you very much for taking the time to participate in this focus group. You have
provided us with some very helpful and stimulating information and insights. It has been a
pleasure to meet you and to have had this opportunity to hear what you have to say.


                                                 194
          RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




Before we leave, does anyone have any other questions?

Don’t forget to complete your questionnaire and leave it with us (there may or may not be a
questionnaire, and to pick up your honorarium (likely not)?) at the door.

Again, thank you for your help with this project.




6.        The Report

The facilitator (together with the note-taker, if there is one) should prepare a report on the focus
group as soon as possible after completion of the session. The comments received on each of
the questions should be transcribed from the flip charts and reported verbatim. The facilitator
should also, however, provide a subjective analysis of the session, i.e. Did any main themes
emerge? Was there consensus or, conversely, serious disagreement on any of the issues?
Were participants relaxed? Was there a dominant or submissive participant? Did discussion flow
freely or did it have to be prompted? Were the questions clear?

The intent of the report should be to reflect accurately both the content and the tone of the focus
group.

The report format should follow the following lines:

     1.      Introduction
             o when
             o where
             o number of participants
             o from what types of organizations
             o how recorded
             o any preliminary questions asked by participants
     2.      Summary of responses
             o Identify any key ideas or recurring themes which became evident from the
                  session overall
             o Identify any areas of consensus or serious disagreement
     3.      Responses to specific questions
             o Question 1: (text)
                          was the question clear?
                          a narrative summary of the range of views expressed
                          if any main theme emerged, identify it up front
                          transcription of flip chart notes
             o Question 2: (text)
             o And so on
     4.      Assessment
             o The facilitator’s views on what worked and what did not.
             o Did the group well together?
             o Were any problems encountered?
             o What would the facilitator do differently next time?
             o Suggestions for improvement


CONCLUSION



                                                    195
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



This Guide and the script it contains are intended simply as guidance to facilitators. Each
facilitator brings his or her own style to a focus group session. That personal dynamic is
invaluable in generating spontaneity and a sense of connection among participants.

At the same time, if the results of five separate focus groups, with five different facilitators, are to
be useful for research purposes, individual style must be balanced with general agreement on an
overall method of approach.

It is our hope that this Guide will help the facilitators find the balance that best works for them, for
their group and for the project as a whole.




                                                  196
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



APPENDIX 9 - List of Programs and Services

This appendix contains a summary of types of programs related to the recruitment and retention
of person with disabilities identified during this literature review. This will be converted into a more
complete, targeted inventory of relevant programs and services for BC employers and persons
with disabilities in the ultimate handbook product of this project.


10 Essentials to Get That Job! An Employment Guide for Persons with
Disabilities
The ADP Program (Assistive Devices Program).
             The ADP operates in co-operation with the Ontario Ministry of Health. If
             you qualify they will supply you with reading and writing aids as well as
             personal information and management systems.
The ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program).
             This program provides people with disabilities the supports they need to
             get and keep a job. Talk to a counsellor at your local Ministry of
             Community and Social Services office to see if you are eligible for
             "employment supports". There is a range of services, including
             interpretative assistance, technical aids, and transportation assistance.
The ATRC (Adaptive and Technology Resource Centre).
             This centre does research and development for innovative solutions to the
             accessibility challenge. They specialize in work enhancement through
             technology. For example, they supply mini keyboards for people with
             limited hand movement and screen readers to persons who are blind.
ABILITIES @ WORK
    •   The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has information available on
        all employment programs offered by the Ontario Government, with a faxback
        service so that you can get the information you need immediately. Call: 1-800-
        387-5656 or Metro Toronto: 416-326-5656; Fax: 416-326-5868.
    •   Community ACCESS-Ability Program: The Community ACCESS-Ability
        Program provides grants to not-for-profit, non-government, community-based
        organizations that enter into partnerships with local organizations and
        businesses that result in practical, workable projects that help remove barriers
        faced by persons with disabilities. In its first year, the program funded 46
        projects across Ontario involving 154 community partners and impacting over
        3,300 persons with disabilities.
Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
Canadian Forces
        Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP)
        The Service Income Security Insurance Plan provides disability, life and
        dependant life insurance for CF personnel. As well it provides rehabilitation
        and vocational retraining for CF personnel released due to injuries.
        http://www.dnd.ca/hr/cfpsa/engraph/sisip_e.asp
        Transition Assistance Program
        The Transition Assistance Program assists injured CF personnel in finding


                                                  197
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



       employment within the Department of National Defence.
       http://hrapp.dnd.ca/tap/engraph/home_e.asp
Canadian Heritage
       Support for Athletes with Disabilities Funding is available for high performance
       athletes with disabilities, if they are involved in either a Paralympic sport or a
       non-Paralympic sport approved by the Department. The funding may be
       allocated to transportation needs, or equipment for their particular sport.
       Additional funding is available to aid training needs for their particular sport.
       Coaches that are disabled or coach teams of Paralympic sports or other high-
       performance sports played by persons with disabilities may receive funding to
       subsidise training costs and equipment.
       http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/sc/prog/index_e.cfm
Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (cont’d)
Canadian Human Rights Commission
       The Canadian Human Rights Commission’s mandate is to help make the
       Canadian Human Rights Act work. To this end, it provides effective and timely
       means for resolving individual complaints; promotes knowledge of human
       rights in Canada encouraging people to follow principles of equality; and works
       to help reduce barriers to equality in employment and access to services.
       http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/


Canadian International Development Agency
       Adaptive Computer Technology (ACT) Centre
       The Canadian International Development Agency’s ACT Centre provides a
       place where technical staff and employees with disabilities can work together
       to identify adaptive computer technology solutions that will make it easier for
       people with disabilities to use computer systems to perform their work by
       reducing or even eliminating technological barriers associated with standard
       computer equipment. The accessibility of new initiatives is also verified and
       evaluated prior to installation.


Public Awareness
       Agency Accessibility Advisory Committee and Working Group
       Participants
       The Agency's Accessibility Advisory Committee and Working Group
       participants help the Agency develop
       regulations, codes of practice and industry guidelines on accessibility. In
       addition to meeting annually with the Committee, the Agency consults it
       regularly for all of its regulatory projects. http://www.cta-
       otc.gc.ca/publications/annrpt/2000/28_e.html
Environment Canada
       Adaptive Computer Technology (ACT) Program
       The Adaptive Computer Technology (ACT) Program's mandate is to assist in
       the integration into the workplace of Environment Canada employees with
       disabilities who require computer access. It consists of three separate Adaptive
       Computer Technology Centres focusing on three separate areas, i.e. client



                                               198
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



       services, training and accessibility testing. http://www.ec.gc.ca/act-tia/
Health Canada
       Active Living Alliance For Canadians With Disabilities
       The Active Living Alliance is a community of individuals, agencies and national
       associations that facilitates and coordinates partnerships among the members
       of its network. Their vision is full and equitable access to active living
       opportunities for Canadians with disabilities. The Alliance promotes inclusion
       and active living lifestyles of Canadians with disabilities by facilitating
       communication and collaboration among organizations, agencies, and
       individuals. http://www.ala.ca
Human Resources Development Canada
       Adaptive Computer Technology (ACT) Centre
       The HRDC ACT Centre was established in June 1998 to help employees and
       managers find adaptive computer technology solutions for a more accessible
       workplace. assisting managers and employees to identify their adaptive
       computer technology requirements integrating adaptive technology with
       employees' computers providing on-going support
Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (cont’d)
       Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit - Disability Vocational
       Rehabilitation
       CPP Vocational Rehabilitation is designed to help clients in receipt of a
       Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability benefit return to work. The initiative
       centres on developing an individualized return-to-work rehabilitation plan for
       each participant. Some of the services provided include vocational
       assessment, planning, skills development and job search assistance.



       CPP Vocational Rehabilitation is administered by the Income Security Branch
       of Human Resources Development Canada. The goal of CPP Vocational
       Rehabilitation is to help interested CPP Disability beneficiaries with potential to
       successfully reintegrate into the labour market, either with their former
       employer or in a new field to which they can adapt their skills and abilities.
       http://www.hrdcdrhc.gc.ca/isp/cpp/vocational_e.shtml
       Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities (EAPD)
       EAPD is a federal-provincial initiative whereby the Government of Canada
       cofunds provincial programs and services to help people with disabilities
       prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment. Examples of provincial
       programs and services funded under EAPD include post-secondary education,
       employment counselling and assessment, skills development, assistive
       devices and wage subsidies. HRDC only transfers funds to the province and
       territories, not directly to individuals. The first National Annual Report on EAPD
       will cover fiscal years 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. http://www.hrdc-
       drhc.gc.ca/hrib/sdddds/odi/content/eapd.shtml
       Federal Workers Compensation Services
       The government provides benefits to employees under the Government
       Employees Compensation Act administered by Human Resources
       Development Canada. Instead of establishing its own system for compensation
       and treatment, the government uses the services already available through


                                                199
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



       provincial workers' compensation boards (in Québec, Commission de la santé
       et de la sécurité au travail, CSST). There is no cost to the employee for these
       services; the government of Canada reimburses the provincial boards for the
       cost of compensation to employees. The Act covers all employees of the
       Government of Canada and most Crown agencies, regardless of rank or
       earnings. The Act, however, excludes members of the regular forces of the
       Canadian Forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It also excludes
       persons engaged to perform a service on a fee or contract basis.
       http://info.load-otea.hrdcdrhc.gc.ca/fwcs/accident.shtml
       Opportunities Fund for persons with disabilities (OF)
       The fund aims to help persons with disabilities who do not qualify for EI Part II
       Employment Benefits to improve their employability and prepare for work. It
       supports innovative projects by organizations aimed at helping persons with
       disabilities get work or start their own business. The Fund also provides
       assistance through its Targeted Wage Subsidies, Skills Development, Self-
       Employment and Job Creation Partnership components. The Fund pays
       benefits both directly to beneficiaries, and to third parties.
       http://www.drhc.gc.ca/epb-dgpe/ofpdfiph/menu/ofinternetcoord.shtml




Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (cont’d)
Industry Canada
       Assistive Devices Industry Office
       Information and tools for both businesses and consumers concerning the
       research, development, production, and marketing of assistive devices and
       technology for people with disabilities. Includes Accessible News bulletins,
       accessible procurement toolkits and a list of Canadian research and
       development groups and referral centres. http://Strategis.ic.gc.ca/adio
       http://www.apt.gc.ca
Public Service Commission
       Provides advice, guidance and training to assist in the implementation of the
       policy on the Duty to Accommodate Employees with Disabilities in the Federal
       Public Service, and the Personnel Psychology Centre (PPC) Guidelines on the
       Assessment of Persons with Disabilities, focusing on barrier-free recruitment
       and selection processes, including assessments of candidates for employment.
       http://www.psccfp.gc.ca/ppc/disability/disability_preface_e.htm
Public Works and Government
       Services Canada (PWGSC) Accessible Federal Office Facilities and
       Workplaces
       Since 1991, PWGSC has been providing accessibility to its facilities and
       workplaces in accordance with the requirements of the Treasury Board
       Secretariat Real Property Accessibility Policy (RPA) and the CAN CSA B651
       Barrier-Free Design Standard. The Appendix: Barrier-Free Design:
       Implementation Requirements of RPA identifies what specific building
       elements have to be accessible. It can be accessed at:
       http://www.tbssct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/dcgpubs/RealProperty/acp_e.html



                                               200
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



       The CAN CSA B651 Barrier-Free Design Standard, which is the mandatory
       technical standard for accessibility under RPA, specifies the technical
       requirements for accessible building elements. The standard is available from
       the Canadian Standards Association at:
       http://www.csaintl.org/onlinestore/ISO_Search_Results.asp?query=B651&sub
       mit1
       Sign Language Interpretation
       The Translation Bureau provides conference interpreting for the federal public
       service to hearing, hearingimpaired or deaf federal public servants who, in the
       performance of their duties, must communicate with each other. When a
       hearing-impaired or deaf person from the private sector (non public servant)
       requests the services of an interpreter or intervener, it is the responsibility of
       the Government department or agency to ensure that the client’s needs are
       met. In this case, the Conference Interpretation Service can provide a list of
       local agencies. Services provided by the Translation Bureau include American
       Sign Language, Langue des signes québecoise, English and French oral
       interpreting and deaf-blind intervener.
       Government employees can make a request for service by telephone at
       (613) 996-3332 or by TTY at
       (613) 992-3056.
       Universal Design in Federal Office Facilities
       PWGSC is implementing various pilot projects to examine the application of
       universal design solutions to federal office facilities. The pilot projects will be
       used to assist the department and other authorities having jurisdiction in
       decision making on the broader application of universal design in federal office
       facilities, with the objective of better supporting its clients and the public at
       large.
Advancing the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (cont’d)
Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada
       Web-based tool for Employment Equity Positive Practices
       Because the Program has now ended one of the final objectives of the EEPMP
       Group was to create an e-tool to keep providing continued assistance to
       departments and agencies with positive practices, lessons learned and other
       valuable information supporting the implementation of employment equity in
       the FPS. For each of the 167 funded projects the tool provides a summary that
       will allow readers to learn about the various tools and products developed
       through the Program. This web-based tool is EEPMP’s long-term contribution
       to the ongoing and continuous efforts towards the integration of employment
       equity in the Federal Public Service. http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/ee
Western Economic Diversification
       Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program
       The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) ensures access to
       business services and other support mechanisms needed to consider self
       employment a viable option for persons with disabilities. The EDP confirms the
       government's commitment to reducing barriers and increasing opportunities for
       people with disabilities by specifically helping rural Western Canadian
       entrepreneurs with disabilities build their business future. This program is
       designed to provide value-added services to entrepreneurs with disabilities and



                                                201
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



        Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) throughout rural
        western Canada. http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/finance/programs/EDP.html
        Urban Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program
        The Urban Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Initiative (UEDI) assists people living
        in urban centres in western Canada who have disabilities and are interested in
        pursuing their selfemployment goals. The UEDI supports the Government's
        ongoing commitment to help reduce barriers and increase selfemployment
        opportunities for western Canadians with disabilities. The UEDI is designed to
        provide value-added services to entrepreneurs with disabilities as well as
        access to a loan fund.
        Vancouver/Victoria:
        www.cbsc.org/english/search/display.cfm?code=2960&Coll=FE_FEDSBIS_E
        Edmonton:
        www.cbsc.org/english/search/display.cfm?code=2791&Coll=FE_FEDSBIS_E
        Calgary:
        www.cbsc.org/english/search/display.cfm?code=2818&Coll=FE_FEDSBIS_E
        Saskatoon/Regina:
        www.cbsc.org/sask/sbis/search/display.cfm?code=2815&Coll=FE_FEDSBIS_E
        Winnipeg:
        www.cbsc.org/english/search/display.cfm?code=2792&Coll=FE_FEDSBIS_E
Other (not taken from reports/research)
Employment Program for Persons with Disabilities (EPPD)
EPPD is a specialized employment programs for persons with disabilities who wish to
participate more fully in their community. The program provides support in
employment-related activities including part-time, full-time, self-employment or
voluntary employment. EPPD offers a full range of services, tools and supports such as
job training and placement, technical equipment, physical accommodation and follow-
up workplace support. http://www.mhr.gov.bc.ca/pwd/eppd.htm
Employment Strategy for Persons with Disabilities
The Government of British Columbia recognizes that persons with disabilities want to
achieve greater independence for themselves and their families. They want to
contribute to their communities by volunteering or working, as they are able. The
Ministry of Human Resources introduced the Employment Strategy for Persons with
Disabilities that focuses on developing a broad range of new skills training services and
employment-related programs to assist persons with disabilities into the labour market
and to improve their employment outcomes. http://www.mhr.gov.bc.ca/pwd/employ.htm
WORKink British Columbia
a virtual employment resource centre, providing services to work seekers with
disabilities, employers and career practitioners. Canadian Council on Rehabilitation
and Work http://bc.workink.com/
BC WorkinfoNet
Our mission is to make useful on-line labour market and career information accessible
to British Columbians. http://workinfonet.bc.ca/
WCB Information



                                               202
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



http://www.labour.gov.bc.ca/wab/factsheets/rehab/randr.htm


Disability Supports for Employment Fund (Vancouver Foundation)
The Ministry of Human Resources has established a $20 million Disability Supports for
Employment Fund to be administered by the Vancouver Foundation. This fund was
created to provide specialized accommodation, tools and services to support people
with disabilities in the workplace. http://www.vancouverfoundation.bc.ca/
NETWERCC
NETWERCC (Networking, Education and Training for Workers in Employment,
Rehabilitation and Career Counselling) is a non-profit education association and is the
only association in Canada to provide free monthly seminars and newsletters to
promote the quality of Employment, Rehabilitation and Career Counseling.
http://www.netwercc.com/




                                               203
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




APPENDIX 10 – Key Informant Interviews

RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES PROJECT – INTERVIEW
                        SUMMARIES BY QUESTION


This is a summary of the responses to 15 key informant interview questions. The key informants
represented the following stakeholder categories.

   •   SERVICE PROVIDER (VICTORIA/VANCOUVER)

   •   SERVICE PROVIDER (VANCOUVER)

   •   SERVICE PROVIDER (VANCOUVER)

   •   POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION (DUNCAN)

   •   STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY (BC/ONTARIO)

   •   UNEMPLOYED PERSON WITH A DISABILITY (VANCOUVER)

   •   PERSON WITH A DISABILITY/ADVOCATE (KAMLOOPS)

   •   SMALL TECHNOLOGY EMPLOYER (KELOWNA)

   •   LARGE HOSPITALITY EMPLOYER (VICTORIA)

   •   LARGE FINANCIAL EMPLOYER (NATIONAL)

   •   LARGE RESOURCE EMPLOYER (TRAIL)

   •   EMPLOYER (INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION) (VANC/PROV)

   •   FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FIELD STAFF (VICTORIA)

   •   PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT FIELD STAFF (VANCOUVER)

   •   NATIONAL DISABILITY/RETURN TO WORK RESEARCH AGENCY (VICTORIA)




                                              204
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




1.1
Describe the role of your organization and yourself with regard to persons with disabilities
generally and regarding the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities in
particular.

   •   15 individuals were interviewed.

   •   Three persons with disabilities
       - A student/employee with severe hearing loss (Vancouver/Toronto)
       - A quadriplegic who is unemployed and starting self employment (Vancouver)
       - A person with visual impairment and who is an advocate (Interior)

   •   Five employer representatives
       - An industry (provincial) association executive (manufacturing)
       - A general manager in a small high tech company (Okanagan)
       - An HR manager in a large resource company (Kootenays)
       - An HR Director in major hotel (Vancouver Island)
       - A Diversity coordinator in a large national financial institution (HQ in Toronto)

   •   One representative of a national disability/return to work/research agency focusing on
       employer and employee programs

   •   Three service provider representatives
       - One that provides support to severely disabled (cognitive and multiple physical
       disabilities aged 5-19)
       - A Vancouver-based mental health employment service provider
       - A Lower Mainland based national disability (blind and visually impaired clients) agency
       and service provider

   •   A public post-secondary education special education/disability programs and service
       provider (Vancouver Island)

   •   Two government representatives who administer government funding programs and
       services for provincial and federal governments (Victoria and Vancouver)




                                                205
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




1.2
Describe your level of familiarity and experience with persons with disabilities, particularly
with regard to recruiting, employing and otherwise working with persons with disabilities?

   •   Obviously, the persons with disabilities, service providers, educator and government
       representatives were very familiar with persons with disabilities issues. Some were a little
       less familiar with recruitment and employment issues specifically. Their experiences
       related to different types of disabilities ranging from deaf/hearing impaired, blind/visually
       impaired to physically disabled and severely physically disabled to mentally ill and
       cognitive disabilities.

   •   Employers ranged from an industry association and small employer with very minimal
       experience with and knowledge of persons with disabilities employment issues to three
       larger corporate representatives (hotel, resource and financial sectors) with lots of
       experience including with return to work issues.

   •   A return to work interviewee provided extensive insight on employer and employee
       perspectives on disability management and return to work.




                                               206
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




1.3
How do you think trends in the recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities have
changed over the last 10 years? If not already addressed, what are the reasons for these
shifts?

Most interviewees agreed that there is a greater societal awareness of persons with disabilities in
the workforce. Most also believed that there was a greater awareness and acceptance of hiring
persons with disabilities among employers but that this did not always translate into action or
behavioral change.

However, one interviewee indicated that in Canada and internationally the employment situation
for persons with disabilities is “getting worse.” He pointed to evidence of this in recent World Bank
and OECD reports.

Employer interviewees themselves observed that some of businesses’ increased involvement
with persons with disabilities was due to corporate requirements regarding federal legislation and
employers’ duty to accommodate (e.g. “We want to ensure we are playing by the rules, not being
discriminatory”).

Interviewees from larger companies described a high degree of activity in the area of hiring
persons with disabilities and return to work programs. Some of the employer interviewees also
spoke of an increased interest WCB and LTD costs to companies, causing them to be more
proactive with disability management and return to work.

An interviewee from a large national financial institution described an extensive disability
employment policy and fund, and internal advisory committee related to different types of
disability.

A few employer interviewees pointed to technological advances and other innovations which have
helped their companies employ persons with disabilities.

Interviewees representing persons with disabilities, service providers and government agencies
agreed with employer interviewees about increased employer awareness and acceptance of the
need to recruit and employ persons with disabilities.

One person with a disability who was interviewed suggested that the “single biggest barrier was
the attitude/perception of prospective employers.” Some pointed to the lower labour force and
employment participation rates for persons with disabilities and how many qualified individuals
are overlooked or underemployed.




                                                207
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




Other comments included the following:

   •   Disabled persons access has changed a lot – 10 years ago if you mentioned
       “ergonomics” employers would say “what?” Now they are making more effort to
       accommodate.

   •           Many employers still hold a mindset/attitude about hiring persons with disabilities
       – “They tend to look at a person with a disability as persons with disabilities rather than a
       person with different abilities.”

   •   A number of interviewees suggested more has to be done to make employers aware of
       the enhanced capability that adaptive technology provides for persons with disabilities.

   •   One service provider interviewee talked about the added stigma of mental illness; even
       though it has become publicly accepted (e.g. depression), there are misunderstandings
       by employers and workers about schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders.

   •           Employers are still “naïve” with regard to abilities of persons with disabilities; they
       are not educated enough on specific disabilities and about return to work programs.

   •             One interviewee questioned whether unions are buying into hiring persons with
       disabilities.




                                                208
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




1.4
To what extent have you recruited and/or employed persons with disabilities? What has
your experience been in this regard in terms of challenges and benefits? If you have not
done so, please indicate why.

As this question was directed at employers, only a few of the interviewees responded with
relevant points.

One employer interviewee has found that persons with disabilities who applied for employment at
her company were not very clear about what to expect in terms of their roles, job demands, etc.,
and that this is an important part of being “job-ready.” This interviewee suggested that employers
work with agencies to help clarify this so that people they send to be considered for employment
are more aware.

One employer interviewee indicated it was important to work with the company management
team, including offering workshops for managers and providing them with support and tools to
help them hire and supervise persons with disabilities.

A person with a disability interviewee suggested there is “still lots of work to be done,” and found
that employers are not familiar with devices and equipment.




                                                209
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.1
What do you think are the most important barrier(s) or challenges which make it more
difficult for employers to recruit and retain persons with disabilities?

For employer interviewees, the most important barriers or challenges related to the following
factors:

    •   Cost of worksite accommodations, particularly physical accommodations

    •   Lack of awareness or capacity to know where to start and how to recruit and support
        persons with disabilities

    •   Fear of the unknown and fear of hiring a person with a disability and contravening human
        rights or some other regulatory requirements if you have to lay them off

    •   The challenge of hiring persons with disabilities when a company is under productivity
        and competitive pressures and need new hires to “hit the ground running”

    •   Sourcing/finding persons with disabilities if you want to actively recruit them, including
        easy access to some type of database of individuals and agencies

Other interviewees corroborated some of what the employer interviewees emphasized, but
offered a few key themes in particular.

    •   The “fear” they believed employers have towards employing persons with disabilities. For
        example: “They hear ‘schizophrenic’ and immediately assume its worst extreme. There’s
        a spectrum – there are degrees – can function quite well.”

    •   Employers have assumptions and misunderstandings about persons with disabilities in
        the workplace; thus some interviewees suggested employer and employee education
        about hiring persons with disabilities is needed to address this. For example:
        “Preconceived notions – e.g. even if only physical disability, they assume there’s a
        cognitive disability.”

    •   The isolation persons with disabilities experience in the workplace that limits their
        retention. For example: “Often persons with disabilities don’t stay with an employer long
        because they feel isolated, not included; much of the work day is social interaction – they
        are on their own much during coffee, lunch, etc.”

    •   Some interviewees indicated that employers are “grossly uneducated about technology
        and supports available.”


2.2
Describe your experiences and/or the experiences of your organization or other specific
examples that illustrate the barriers or challenges you identified?

A few employer interviewees referred to their organizations’ physical accommodations for
persons with disabilities. One spoke of how one person with disability (hearing impaired) could
not work at their call centre, however the person could work in their online customer service area.
Another employer interviewee talked about how his organization has continued to employ a
mentally challenged person for several years even though the company has undergone major
downsizing in recent years.




                                                210
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



Persons with disabilities interviewed talked about the need for employer accommodations and
use of adaptive devices and about the importance of “champions” within organizations. One of
these interviewees spoke of the distinction of “gainful employment” and how not long ago persons
with disabilities were not expected to work – he has seen a trend of more gainful employment
opportunities. Another interviewee referred to low wage jobs that can cause persons with
disabilities to give up (“What’s the point”) – they might as well volunteer.

Other interviewees pointed to the social isolation for persons with disabilities in the workplace and
how this affects retention. Part of this is related to individuals not knowing whether to mention
their disability to employers. Another key factor in employment of persons with disabilities
identified by interviewees was peer employees. Some may not feel comfortable or know how to
interact with persons with disabilities.




                                                211
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.3
What pitfalls or practices do you think employers should avoid in recruiting, employing
and training persons with disabilities?

Employer interviewed emphasized that companies should not hire persons with disabilities just for
the sake of doing so. They discredited organization that did this and who “take advantage of”
persons with disabilities. These interviewees called for a strong business case for hiring persons
with disabilities, and to hire people for their abilities.

One employer interviewee from a large organization talked about the importance of planning and
preparing worksite accommodations before the person with a disability starts.

Other (non-employer) interviewees agreed with employers about not hiring for quotas or in a
token manner; one said: “They don’t want to be hired because they have a disability – rather
because they can do the job.”

They also strongly urged planning and preparation before a person with disability starts work; for
example:

    •   They need to work with employment agencies and schools to help prepare potential
        employees

    •   Persons with disabilities often need much more practice time on skills. This needs to
        start early

    •   Have the proper accommodations in place

    •   Safety hazards, safety drills – how would you handle for your PWD (physical)

    •   Think about it in advance

    •   Allow extra time for person with a disability to complete work, at least initially

    •   How are they going to train – multi-tasking is a challenge for some; some cannot use
        standard training material; it may take a little longer for instructions

    •   Set up realistic plans

Other advice from the interviewees:

    •   Avoid looking at the disability – look at the individual; don’t generalize – employer needs
        to look at the disability type, what does it come with , what can they do




                                                 212
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




    •   Employers should be specific in their job requirements – what tasks and qualifications –
        the PWD knows what their needs are – important for the employer to find out

    •   Avoid practices of assuming that his employees and the new PWD are going to
        immediately bond or feel comfortable

    •   Find out what the person with disability would be comfortable with, what is appropriate
        language to use

One interviewee suggested employers might fear what to do if a person with a disability “breaks
down” in the work place?




                                               213
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.4
What do you think are the most important barriers preventing or limiting persons with
disabilities from participating in work-based education and training that leads directly to
and/or maintains employment?

Employer interviewees providing minimal responses to this question. They referred to the
challenge of physical accessibility and worksite accommodations regarding in the context of
training for persons with disabilities. One emphasized the importance of making
managers/supervisors and training providers aware of this need. A few other interviewees
indicated downsizing in the resource sector as a barrier to hiring persons with disabilities.

Service provider and person with disability interviewees identified funding as an issue in terms of
persons with disabilities (and sometimes employers) needing support to pay for training and/or
training supports (e.g. assistants for severely disabled, interpreter, adaptive devices, etc.). One
interviewee asked “who is going to pay – it can cost anywhere up to $3 to $5K for a computer
with software, scanner, or closed circuit TV for visually impaired is $2k – also is there adequate
office space.”

Other barriers to training identified by interviewees included the following areas:

    •   Flexibility in the scheduling of training (hour of day, time of week, etc.)

    •   Lack of knowledge of parents of persons with severe disabilities – some have no idea as
        to what is available to them (e.g. the types of day support)

    •   More help for students with disabilities to access student loans – they need to know how
        to access (e.g. forgivable loans for persons with disabilities)

    •   Accessible transportation to training

    •   The need for on the job support after training

    •   Classroom environment – accommodations like writing exams in another room, having
        more time; having a note-taker

    •   Take into account affects of drugs & illness on cognition, learning (e.g. attention span)

    •   Trainers need to understand how people learn and process information (e.g. break info
        down into smaller increments, use basic adult learning principles)




                                                 214
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




A person with disability said it well: “If it wasn’t for the Neil Squire Foundation, I wouldn’t know all
the options – so I understand how employers would not be aware”

Another interviewee offered some good common sense advice: “Adapt the training to meet the
individual’s needs; ask the person with a disability – they will tell you what they need




                                                  215
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.5
What awareness and/or experience do you have with workplace accommodations to make
jobsites and work more accessible to persons with disabilities? What is your
understanding of the costs and challenges of such accommodations?

Most employers interviewed had direct experience with workplace accommodations and costs.
The larger ones recognized many accommodations are not costly but they also pointed to
examples where costs for worksite modifications were significant, but cost-effective.

One employer spoke of mounting costs for return to work programs and a requirement to
accommodate persons with disabilities who return. He pointed to their Korean competitor who
operates within a different employment framework: “after 7 months if you don’t return, you are
terminated.”

A representative of manufacturing companies made an interesting point that for their industry and
other goods producers, it is not only about modifying the company office entrance and interior,
but many manufacturers have one or more plants and warehouses that have to be modified.

Other interviewees stressed that many accommodations were relatively inexpensive and that
many employers do not know what is possible/available. An informed person expressed it this
way:

        “No question they can be expensive depending on the severity and type of
        disability and the individual, however employers who experience
        accommodations will say its priceless (e.g. adaptive equipment). I don’t think
        employers understand the technology available – when they become aware they
        are blown away – e.g. ICBC two quadriplegics – employer was amazed at the
        technology available”

In addition to modifying entrances, washrooms, work areas, etc., interviewees identified examples
of accommodations that related to different types of disabilities. For example:

    •   For hearing impaired: “They looked up to me and recognized that I did my work right and
        was well organized and always on time. To make the jobsite more accessible, I would
        need a TTY in order to communicate over the telephone. A TTY is easier for deaf people
        to communicate”

    •   For visually impaired: “My impairment was accommodated by a DCTV (closed circuit), a
        14” monitor to magnify, and print has to be 20-24 font”

    •   For mental health disabilities: “Some clients don’t want to discuss their illness. You
        wouldn’t know there was anything going on there. For those that do disclose – start
        gradually, start part time, start voluntary. Allow job counseling on site”
        For returning injured workers: “Reassigning certain job duties to others that the returning
        worker cannot do”

In terms of funding, the federal Opportunity Fund and SETBC Adaptive Technology were
identified as useful resources for worksite accommodation.




                                                216
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.6
What are your awareness and/or experience with disability management and return-to-
work programs? How can they be used to improve the re-employment and retention of
injured workers?

The employer interviewees with larger companies had significant experience with return to work
issues. They suggested such things as:

    •   Educating people in charge of programs and ensuring they have ability to make decisions
    •   Ensuring you have union buy in, but not basing “who is more deserving” by seniority
    •   Being well-informed and consistent
    •   Re-employing individuals as soon as possible
    •   Keeping employers costs down

These interviewees also pointed to good examples of injured workers that have been retrained
and re-employed. They also referred to the potential for a confrontational mindset between
employees/union and employer over this – “it’s an adversarial system.”

They also see a trend of companies becoming more interested in return to work and in
expenditures on WCB, and are therefore looking at safety/health and preventative approach,
including putting more effort into sophisticated hiring practices – all kinds of tests and steps being
put into the front end (screening and selection)

Other interviewees were not as experienced with disability management and return to work. A
couple of interesting observations were offered:

    •   “I know through friends of people who do not seem to have any interest in returning to
        work and seem to be distorting their disability to appear worse than it is to avoid work. I
        believe that there needs to be more objective analysis (and perhaps multiple opinions
        from doctors) to substantiate injuries. I also feel that it should be mandatory that people
        accept a suitable alternate type of work if it is feasible; otherwise, they should not be
        allowed to collect disability or other funds for being off work. This is a real problem in our
        current society’

    •   “Disability management is on-going – the individual deals with it every day (e.g. eat
        properly, medication, bed sores, enough sleep, time of day). Disability management has
        to be part of the return to work plan. You can’t look at RTW in isolation from DM”

A disability management interviewee suggested employers need to ask, “how can we
accommodate you” and to upgrade their organizational and technological skills and tools. He
cited the example of Weyerhaeuser who reduced LTD claim duration by 40% in 2003.




2.7
Describe a few examples of practices you have used or experienced which have been
effective in recruiting and/or retaining persons with disabilities. Explain the reason(s) you
think they have been successful in this regard.



                                                 217
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




Employer interviewees offered more critical success factors than examples, including the
following:

    •   Treat everyone with respect

    •   Acknowledge the disability

    •   Ensure supervisors are brought into the fold

    •   Attending job forums/fairs

    •   Use affinity groups to help support each other and raise awareness

    •   Building trust relationships with agencies, the community and nationally

    •   Showcase access technology

Agencies like People in Motion, Ability Edge and CCRA and companies such as the Royal Bank
and Vancouver Credit Union were offered as examples.

A return to work interviewee cited two examples of injured forest industry workers being
accommodated through modest technical aids and job reassignment.

One employer interviewee is from one of the first companies in BC to have a modified work
centre where workers are brought back early and gradually got them back into regular
employment.

Persons with disabilities cited specific examples of effective practices:

    •   Two examples: Long and McQuade Music – are you good on the phone? – I chased
        down outstanding accounts; instead of “this person can’t do this” turn it around “what can
        you do that we need. McDonalds – when looking for my 1st job – initially didn’t want to
        hire PWD staff, but worked with me to find what approach – how is this person
        employable, what he could do. Both played an active role in keeping me employed

    •   Call centre – Convergs in Kamloops

    •   TYES – job coach services – when a client starts for first while (depends on client) – first
        few days or week and gradually leave them more on their own

    •   Adjustment to Vision group program

Persons with disabilities and service providers offered several critical success factors:

    •   “Success” workshops – profile actual employees and employers – successful examples
        and what has worked and hasn’t

    •   Individual counseling

    •   Coping skills

    •   Finding that champion employer or manager that is willing to take a chance

    •   One good experience reinforces more


                                                 218
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




•   Ease into RTW – visit site a few times, check out physical aspects of the site, etc.

•   Allow alternative learning (e.g. scheduling, location, classroom environment, online, etc.)

•   Use some kind of mentoring

•   Look at the individual learning styles

•   Some kind of support at least initially or on-going – someone they feel comfortable with

•   Also facilitating a P.A.T.H. - and creating a transition plan is important

•   Work at each case individually




                                             219
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.8
Identify what you think are some key critical success factors which enable employers to
effectively recruit and retain persons with disabilities?

As many interviewees combined/confused 2.7 (examples) and 2.8 (critical success factors) in
their response to 2.7, there were limited responses to this question. However, the employer
interviews provided some good suggestions:

    •   Focus on the best candidate not the disability

    •   Strong leadership support (i.e. CEO) - message that it makes good business sense

    •   Developing strong relationships with persons with disabilities agencies

    •   Having resources/tool kits for managers

A return to work interviewee suggested the following key factors for successful disability
management:

    •   Support and commitment of co-workers is critical

    •   Unequivocal and clear leadership by both management and labour has to be a priority

   • Leadership from the top
Persons with disabilities and service providers suggested several other critical success factors

    •   Create mentorship programs with schools

    •   Foster volunteer activities so that people can gain confidence in the activity prior to
        considering actual employment

    •   Work with government to receive assisted funding for the employee who is not quite
        working up to speed yet (so that the employer doesn't lose out)

    •   Having someone in the company that believes in you and assists you when required and
        give employees with disabilities room for advancement

    •   Good labour market intelligence for persons with disabilities agencies and service
        providers

    •   Better assessment of persons with disabilities’ abilities and finding out why they have not
        been employed for years




                                                220
    RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



•   Specialized employment services and on the job support

•   Someone who liaises between client and employer – an organization, handles the
    marketing

•          Support, educate and train the employer and making other employees
    comfortable so PWD feels accepted and part of the team




                                         221
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.9
How can employers, industry groups, representatives of persons with disabilities, and
service providers improve mechanisms and programs to more readily match persons with
disabilities with appropriate employment opportunities? What kinds of information,
services, and support would facilitate such matching?

Employer interviewees had no “magic bullets” in response to this question, but offered the
following suggestions:

    •   One employer interviewee was surprised about the low level of knowledge of relevant
        government programs among businesses in his sector; and called for better marketing of
        these programs. He also suggested that agencies should attend job forums to get a good
        idea what employers are looking for

    •   A employer interviewee from a large corporation pointed to a disconnect between
        persons with disabilities agencies on what the real work culture is like – thus, there needs
        to be education on the agency side in addition to education on the employer side. She
        suggested having people from agencies come and do job shadowing to understand the
        organizational culture

    •   One employer interviewee indicated this was not an issue since they have not been
        hiring.

    •   Another employer interviewee suggested that when persons with disabilities groups
        approach businesses, they need to present a strong cost-benefit rationale, a good
        business case – his experience is this often receives superficial attention

    •   A return to work interviewee suggested a centrally developed database of individuals and
        agencies

Other interviewees did not offer a lot of suggestions specifically pertaining to the “matching” part
of this question but offered other recommendations.

Some interviewees suggested a disability-specific approach (e.g. how to find interpreters) to
connecting with employers; and educating employers about all the different disabilities and
expose employers to all the different persons with disabilities (e.g. open houses, marketing to
employers)

One interviewee suggested that industry education is the number one need. He gave an example
of the lower mainland HOV lane construction on Hwy 1 a few years ago, where in his mind,
contractors and unions did not understand what’s involved with hiring persons with disabilities

This same interviewee also made an important about the importance of the manager/supervisor
role in employing persons with disabilities:

        “It’s at the management/supervisory level – not the CEO or senior management –
        it’s the people that have to implement good intentions and work directly with
        persons with disabilities that we have to influence; we need to equip them with
        skills to do things like job analysis and to determine what skills are needed”

One interviewee suggested some ways to promote the hiring of persons with disabilities:

    •   Longevity of special students employed in low entry jobs may save the company time and
        money in retraining.



                                                 222
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




    •   Loyalty of special students/employees who actually enjoy and need routine.

    •   The disabled may be less likely to show up drunk or on drugs.

The same interviewee also suggested a community approach to job development: Invite
representation from the community (e.g., clergy, fire department, businesses, government
workers, etc.) To help problem solve: "how can you help us solve the problem of placement of
the disabled into our community?" Tackle issues such as "accessibility" or job retraining and set
up sub-committees. Ask the community if they would prefer that these student/people contribute
to or drain society?




                                               223
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.10
What kinds of supports and resources do you think are most important for persons with
disabilities and for helping employers to recruit and retain persons with disabilities?

Some responses to this question were covered by employer interviewees in response to the next
question (2.11). In response to this question, they offered a few suggestions:

    •   Knowing what field they want to get into

    •   Sector specific tools for employers

    •   Sharing best practices

    •   Websites employers can tap into

    •   For smaller organizations – advice on working closely with agencies, tapping into training
        support; and manuals they can tap into

Service provider and persons with a disability interviewees offered some disability-specific
suggestions:

    •   For older adults (age 40 - 50) who has only recently experienced a disability (e.g., neck
        injury, leg injury, etc.) I think presents an entirely different set of problems. I feel that it is
        often this other group that is reluctant to return to the work force on any level. Perhaps if
        this last group received less financial support and resources, they would be more
        interested in returning to the work force.

    •   “Staff training on how to work with hearing impaired and other disabled people. It’s
        important to have teamwork. They (the staff) can communication and show us how to
        use processes and make sure that we understand how things work. This would make
        me feel more relaxed in the work place”

Other suggestions of supports and resources included the following:

    •   Accessibility to in-house medical benefits

    •   Access to new wheelchair

    •   Adaptive equipment

    •   Flexible scheduling of work hours

    •   Job coaching is essential

    •   Physical accommodation

    •   Disability-specific advice on accommodations

    •   Facilitate employee with a disability and supervisor dialogue

    •   Allow for part-time study

One interview suggested the Ministry or Minister’s Council champion the idea of larger
corporations having a vocational rehabilitation specialist or “disability support person”


                                                   224
RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




                                  225
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




2.11
What kinds of government assistance programs/services/incentives would help you to
recruit and retain persons with disabilities? Who should provide this assistance?

The employer interviewees offered the following suggestions for government support:

    •   Tax credits for hiring persons with disabilities
    •   Tax credits or other incentives for making a workplace more accessible, including
        physical modifications
    •   Having good job fairs for persons with disabilities (sponsored by government)
    •   Increasing awareness among employers about existing government programs in this
        area (recruitment and retention of persons with disabilities)

A few other interviewees also suggested incentives to employers and reducing red tape in
existing government program to make it easier for employers to hire persons with disabilities.
Another interviewee did not support wage subsidies because he felt employers need to buy into
the value of hiring persons with disabilities, not just for government funding.

A number of service providers and persons with disabilities interviewed called for funding to
support adaptive equipment (“like 4 other provinces”) and other work-related supports:

    •   Support to pay for interpreters to allow employers to hire individuals with hearing
        impairment
    •   Medical benefits for those who leave income assistance for employment
    •   Funding transportation costs to get to work
    •   Funding assistance to help transition into employment

One service provider interviewee suggested the single most important thing government could do
is to provide funds for major public and employer education campaigns re persons with
disabilities in the workforce.

Also one interviewee suggested some type of co-operative education program for persons with
disabilities should be considered.

A return to work interviewee suggested the provincial government influence employer disability
management through changes to the labour code and WCB legislation or through insurance
providers under provincial legislation.

Finally, a service provider interviewee called for better coordination and joint funding among the
Ministry of Health, Ministry of Advanced Education, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Children
& Families.


2.12
As part of this project, the Minister’s Council is sponsoring the development an
Employers’ Handbook. This will be a practical, user-friendly toolkit and resource guide to
assist employer planning and prepare for and execute strategies to recruit and retain
persons with disabilities. What kinds of information, tools, and resources do you think
would be most useful for employers in this handbook?




                                                226
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




All interviewees were very supportive of the idea of an employers’ handbook. Employer
interviewee comments included the following suggestions:

   •   Show examples of how easy it can be to work out and not cost a lot; show there is no
       impediment to hiring many persons with disabilities

   •   The handbook should be available on-line and on a website that is highly visible and
       employers who are “looking for motivated individuals” be directed to it.

   •   Provide a 1-800 helpline for employers needing assistance.

   •   Information on costs and examples that show the business case for hiring persons with
       disabilities

   •   Examples of simple worksite accommodations (e.g. a person’s work schedule) and where
       to get more information

The return to work interviewee pointed to NIDMAR’s recently completed handbook on disability
implementation as a good resource and example of a handbook. Content from it could be used in
this project’s Employer Handbook.

Other interviewees made several suggestions about the content, format and use of such a
resource:

   •   Include examples of kinds of activities or work (task analysis) for various types of jobs

   •   Some employers would probably be open to having severely disabled people participate
       at their place of employment but they have no idea as to what they could actually do.
       (e.g., use voice output device to welcome people as they come into Wal-Mart)

   •   It is important to give a book to a disabled person as well to let them know what’s up and
       what employer needs are or where to go with problems.

   •   If there was a handbook and a website, employers and disabled people could get
       answers on:


       - Where to go if they have questions about people with disabilities
       - Understanding deaf culture
       - Setting up a training program at work
       - Where to get interpreters
       - Where to go to find people with disabilities who are looking for work.

   •   Resource information on: special adaptive devices, job coaches, transportation, etc.

   •   Basic guidelines, standards and regulations re accessibility

   •   Tips on how to get started in recruiting and employing persons with disabilities

   •   Success stories

   •   Disability-specific information and needs and information on agencies who serve and
       source persons with disabilities



                                               227
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



   •   Training information including orientation training and sensitivity training

   •   Information on government programs, funding and contacts

   •   Information on strategies for adult learning and learning styles; how people process
       information and learn and how disabilities affect this

   •   Provide information to help individual persons with disabilities market themselves

   •   Provide information on companies that specialize in assessments and return to work
       support

A few interviewees also suggested that developers of the handbook keep in mind that content
could become out of date fairly quickly.




                                                228
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




3.1
What key publications and data about recruitment and retention of persons with
disabilities published in the past five years are you aware of that we should include in the
research?

   •   Rick Freeze may be of assistance (see next question)

   •   BC Human Resources Management Association website for resources

   •   Canadian Council on Social Development

   •   Persons with Household Incomes 2001

   •   Canada’s Community Health Survey 2000-01 (Fig 3A and 3B)

   •   TYES – Berl Swann (381-7582)

   •   National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) – website and new book

   •   Disability resource network and Bob Longevin – Douglas College

   •   Conference Board of Canada

   •   Roehrer Institute

   •   CCRA

   •   Bank of Montreal Task Force Report

   •   CNIB national publications, they’ve worked with HRDC

   •   Mark Corviere – UBC research project




                                              229
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




3.2
What organizations and individuals do you know or think have valuable information for
this project?

   •   Excellent speaker/resource person on this topic - Rick Freeze, professor at the University
       of Manitoba, is available to speak to districts about path and transition planning strategies
       for districts. He can be reached at the department of educational psychology, faculty of
       education, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2; voice mail # 1-204-474-6904; secretary 1-
       204-474-9018; fax # 1-204-275-5962.

   •   Don Magill - outstanding! Helping teacher from Dawson Creek - guru of transition to
       adulthood issues!!! I've had him come and speak to my district partners at our annual
       meeting (dmagill@mail.sd59.bc.ca).

   •   John Martin – low incidence coordinator - Saanich school district - has been doing some
       innovative work in this area (john_martin@sd63.bc.ca).

   •   The special needs / assistance programs at the colleges are responsible for locating
       interpreters but I have to inform them about the time, where, subject, etc. Perhaps they
       could contact the Vancouver Oral Center and talk with the principal and the board of
       directors?

   •   Neil Squire, BC Paraplegic Association, and Cerebral Palsy association

   •   People in Motion – Kamloops
          o Heather Archer – 250-376-7878
          o Advocate for PWD

   •   Orion Health Care – do a lot of RTW programs, job analysis, assessments

   •   Also Back in Motion rehabilitation




                                               230
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




3.3
What important gaps or deficiencies exist in information or data on barriers and
accessibility to employment?

Interviewees provided a few responses to this question:

    •   One interviewee called for joint ownership of transition employment and offered the
        following suggestions:

        - Some school districts in other provinces (e.g., Manitoba) are exploring co-funding with
        ministries of education, social services and adult education to establish school career
        facilitators in the community via local employment agencies. In this way, school
        counselors are able to continue to assist with job placements after students leave school.
        School districts and other ministries and agencies need to plan for change in the service
        delivery model, both policy and funding changes.

        - Some school districts have found that it is more successful to approach groups of
        employers (e.g., all restaurants owners in the area) with a list of groups of students with
        varying needs/abilities, as opposed to approaching one employer with one student. In
        this way, the community may be able to help problem solve for the bigger issues at
        hand. Ask employers for feedback on how the school can improve the preparation of
        students for employment. School people need to ask employers, "What can we do for
        you to assist in this process"?

        - Schools also need to approach local businesses and explore why it is in their best
        interest to have students involved in work experience, as opposed to being on welfare or
        other government support.

Other gaps identified:

    •   A lack of research on and understanding of the deaf.

    •   Expectations of employment among agencies and persons with disabilities

    •   Gaps between educators and employers




                                                231
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




4.1
What employers or organizations do you think might make for interesting case studies or
site visits on the recruitment and/or retention of persons with disabilities for us to
investigate and document?

Interviewees made a few suggestions in response to this questions:

   •   Don Magill (Dawson Creek) has many wonderful stories and experiences to share, and
       John Martin (Saanich) – both are employed by the school districts.

   •   Where you buy TTY’s because businesses buy them for their deaf employees. In
       Vancouver, you get them at WIDHH (Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing).

   •   There are companies that are willing to consider persons with disabilities for gainful
       employment – Vancouver City Credit Union, Royal Bank, McDonalds.

   •   Teck Cominco and Highland Copper on return to work programs; the latter set up a
       modified work centre but put limits on the time, which is more realistic




                                               232
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




4.2
Can you identify employer champions who may be interested in supporting the work of the
Minister’s Council on Employment for Persons with Disabilities?

There was only one response to this question:

   •   Overwaitea Food Group

   •   Urban Fare

   •   Yamaha




                                                233
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




4.3
Are there particular questions or issues that you think we should be asking employers,
persons with disabilities and stakeholders when we conduct interviews and focus group
sessions?

Only two interviewees responded to this question:

    •   One indicated that, questions depend on the disability group that you are addressing (e.g.
        those with severe multiple disabilities versus those with moderate disabilities, those who
        are in the older 40-50 age bracket and incurred an injury only recently in life).

    •   She offered that some questions for those with severe multiple disabilities might be:

        1. Employers - What kinds of tasks need to occur in your business? Are you open to
        having someone with a severe disability work for you at a reduced cost if they are able to
        provide a worthwhile service?

        2. Persons with disabilities - or their families ... What are you motivated by? What kinds of
        things bring this person pleasure? What kinds of skills does this person need to continue
        to work on to assist with quality of life? What hours of support do you have to assist with
        this placement?

        3. Stakeholders - e.g., schools, ministries, social workers, etc. - What kind of planning
        has occurred? How soon in the school career? Where can ministries join funding to
        assist with transition workers? Where can funding be found to motivate employers to
        experiment with a new disabled employee? How can business and education work more
        closely together in local communities to better serve their individual mandates when
        looking at employment for the disabled?

    •   Or for a student/employee with severe hearing loss:

        The biggest problem for me is English and communicating with people at work. They
        seem afraid at first and you have to be brave and try to interact with them. So, a question
        to be asked would be, "How can we make it easy for you and your staff to work with
        people with disabilities". It took 2 to 4 months for me to get comfortable with other
        workers at Urban Fare. If they were trained to work with me and I had an interpreter at
        the beginning, this would have helped big time and I would have gotten to know the other
        workers sooner.




                                                234
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




Please indicate if you would like to obtain a copy of the summary report of this project
when it is available.

All interviewees were interested in obtaining a copy of a final summary project report.

Most interviewees were also interested in the Minister’s Council forum in November 2004, but the
employer interviews did not feel they had time to participate.




                                                235
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT




APPENDIX 11 – Focus Group Participants

NAME                 AFFILIATION     TITLE/ORG NAME              ADDRESS        TELEPHONE

PRINCE GEORGE
Dr. Michelle Worth   Service         Registered Psychologist,    154 Quebec     563-7331
                     Provider (SP)   Worth Consulting and        Street V2L
                                     Assessment Services         1W2
Carol Johnson        SP              Psychometrician, Worth      154 Quebec     563-7331
                                     Consulting and              Street V2L
                                     Assessment Services         1W2
Pat Westerlund       SP              Employment/Vocational       575 Victoria   561-5312
                                     Counsellor, AIMHI Prince    Street
                                     George Association for
                                     Community Living
David Hallman        SP              Registered Psychologist,    575 Quebec     561-2272
                                     Queenswood                  Street
                                     Professional Resource
                                     Centre
Mike Glazier         SP              Program Coordinator,        490 Quebec     563-1702
                                     CNIB                        Street
Floyd Belsham        SP              President, Western          PO Box 957     562-8001
                                     Institute for the Hard of
                                     Hearing
Amanda Anderson      SP              Community Development       1117 6th       561-8033
                                     Officer, BC Schizophrenia   Ave. PO Box
                                     Society                     504 V2L
                                                                 4S6
Dionne Olsen         SP              Executive Director,         PO Box         564-8011
                                     Learning Difficulties       1068 V2L
                                     Centre of BC                4U2
Boyanne Young        SP              Northern Reginonal          103-490        561-9284
                                     Coordinator, Canadian       Quebec
                                     Diabetes Association        Street V2L
                                                                 5N5
Angela Boutilier     SP              Peer Support Assistant,     555 George     564-8644
                                     Canadian Mental Health      Street


KELOWNA
Don Smythe           SP              Canadian Mental Health      504            861-3644
                                     Association                 Sutherland
                                                                 Ave V1Y
                                                                 5X1
Sandra Robertson     SP              Kelowna Mental Health
                                     Centre
Ellen Boelcke        SP              People in Motion            591 Bernard    861-3302
                                                                 V1Y 6N9
Moni Schiller        SP              Rucastle and Schiller
                                     Work Skills Ltd
Mary Faraway         SP              WCB                         110-2045       717-4381
                                                                 Enterprise
                                                                 Way V1Y
                                                                 9T5


                                            236
         RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



NAME                 AFFILIATION    TITLE/ORG NAME               ADDRESS        TELEPHONE
Doug Rankmore        SP             Central Okanagan Brain       100-532        762-3233
                                    Injury Society               Leon Ave
Lois Thompson        SP             Achieve Planning and         200-595        860-5582
                                    Employment Services          KLO Road
Kay Roberts          Employer       Kelowna Community            1265 Ellis     763-7161
                                    Food Bank                    St. V1Y 1Z7
Shirley Clemente     Employer       City of Kelowna              1435 Water     763-6011
                                                                 St. V1V 1J4


SURREY
Judi Friebe          SP             Chilliwack Society for       9353 Mary      792-7726
                                    Community Living             Street V2P
                                                                 4G9
Linda Delparte       SP             Polaris                      205-5066       430-1557
                                                                 Kingsway
                                                                 Burnaby
                                                                 V5H 2E7
Cynthia Mcewan       SP             Multiple Sclerosis Society   1501-4330      602-3217
                                    of Canada – BC Division      Kingsway
                                                                 Burnaby
                                                                 V5H 4G7
Annette Walsh        SP             South Fraser Community       PO Box 500     589-8678
                                    Services Society             Surrey Main
                                                                 V3T 5B7
Michelle Rintoul     PWD

VANCOUVER
Susan Masters        SP             Western Institute for the    2125 West      736-7391
                                    Deaf and Hard of Hearing     7th Ave.
                                                                 Vancouver
                                                                 V6K 1X9
Leanne Dospital      SP             BC Paraplegic                780 S.W.       326-1230
                                    Association                  Marine Drive
                                                                 V6P 5Y7
Winston Leckie       SP             Co-Chair, ORW
Eileen Cook          SP             Orion Health                 401-3999       436-3313
                                                                 Henning
                                                                 Drive
                                                                 Burnaby
                                                                 V5C 6P9
Joy Grove            SP             ALDA                         603-409        683-5554
                                                                 Granville
                                                                 Street
                                                                 Vancouver
                                                                 V6C 1T2
Cheryl McKillip      SP             Mainstream Association       240-4664       299-4001
                                    for Proactive Community      Lougheed
                                    Living MAPCL                 Hwy
                                                                 Burnaby
                                                                 V5C 5T5
Wendy Padwick        SP             JobsWest DDA
Tammy Grenon         SP             BC Blind Sports


                                              237
        RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RESEARCH REPORT



NAME                AFFILIATION    TITLE/ORG NAME            ADDRESS        TELEPHONE
Joyce Chochocacek   Government     Employment Programs       11th floor,    666-6567
                                   Branch, HRDC              300 W.
                                                             Georgia
                                                             Street,
                                                             Vancouver
                                                             V6B 6G3
Sandra Bowell       Government     MHR, EPPD                 201-828        660-1424
                                                             West 8th
                                                             Ave,
                                                             Vancouver,
                                                             V6C 2T6
Don Sugimoto        Government     MHR, EPPD                 201-828        660-1575
                                                             West 8th
                                                             Ave,
                                                             Vancouver,
                                                             V6C 2T6


VICTORIA
Nancie Sorensen     SP             Island Deaf and Hard of   1627 Fort.     592-8144
                                   Hearing                   Street, 300,
                                                             V8R 1H8
Donna Miller        SP             WestCoast Continuing
                                   Learning and Training
                                   Centre
Joanne Watson       SP             Spectrum Job Search       1405
                                   Centre                    Douglas
                                                             Street, V8W
                                                             2G2
Bonnie Pashak       SP             MS Society                1004 North     388-6496
                                                             Park Street,
                                                             V8T 1C6
Kathryn Jones       SP             Peninsula Community       9860 Third     656-0134
                                   Services                  Street
                                                             Sidney, V8L
                                                             4R2
Ilka Brake          Employer       Island Savings            300-499        748-2748
                                                             Canada
                                                             Ave. Duncan
                                                             V9I 1T7
Cynthia Pemberton   Employer       Director of Human                        544-2749
Fuller                             Resources, West
                                   Corporation
Wendy Carey         PWD                                                     382-4118


Michael Booker      PWD
Ernie Murray        Government     MHR Office 107




                                          238

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:2
posted:8/28/2011
language:English
pages:258