Creating employer demand for inclusive hiring
- Ready, Willing and Able Initiative (RWA) of 2014-2017 Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada, Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) and Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA), Canada
- Canadian Department of Employment and Social Development
- Country of Implementation
- North America
- Start Year
- First published
“Hiring a person with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder is a good business decision.” Mr. Patrick O’Neil, Manager, Kent Home Building Supplies
By adopting an ‘Employment First’ approach and taking a ‘demand’ rather than a ‘supply’ focus, Canada’s ‘Ready, Willing, and Able’ initiative enters into a direct dialogue with employers, informing them about the fact that persons with intellectual disabilities make excellent employees and can fill regularly occurring vacancies. By September 2016, 1,159 employment opportunities were secured.
Canada’s Ready, Willing, and Able (RWA) initiative of 2014–2017 is a nationwide partnership between the government and disabled peoples organizations that promotes awareness among employers as to the value of employees with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder. RWA provides individualized assistance to become a more inclusive employer, including assistance in identification of candidates, enhancing disability awareness among employers, making connections to community agencies that provide employment services and support, providing individual on-the- job support, and much more. To date, the initiative has conducted outreach to 5,983 employers.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Presenting the business case Inclusive hiring is presented not as a charitable response, but rather the RWA team speaks directly to employers, demonstrating the economic benefit associated with the initiative. Providing help to employers RWA addresses the real and ongoing needs of employers by educating them on disability, by assisting in the recruitment for vacancies, and by providing on-the-job support. Transforming how services work RWA aligns with current federal priorities, meets employer needs, and enhances but also transforms the community employment delivery system.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
To date, about €10 million has been invested. The average cost per person is about €6,800, which is only half the cost associated with other federally-funded employment initiatives. RWA is easily scaled-up and can be readily adopted by other countries. The initiative was presented at the Inclusion International Congress in Orlando, Florida (U.S.), in 2016.
THE STORY OF MIKE MCGREGOR, HIRING DEPARTMENT AT BLUEWAVE ENERGY
“Bringing Patrick on board was key to my success on the job”
I work for Bluewave Energy, a division of Parkland Fuel Corporation, the largest independent fuel distributor in Canada. I had heard from others about the value of inclusive hiring; and with the company continuing to grow and expand, I was keen to explore how my team could tap into the talents of an inclusive workforce. Through my experience in hiring inclusively, I can confirm that employees with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder are not only productive but safety-conscious. The entire company was very supportive of my decision right from the start. With the enthusiasm and commitment of my boss and the Human Resources office, and with the support of Canada’s Ready, Willing, and Able initiative, I hired Patrick, a young man with an intellectual disability, in May 2016. Patrick worked with teams in both Sudbury and North Bay in landscaping, cleaning, and maintenance. As safety is a number one priority at Bluewave Energy, my team and I were initially concerned that on-the-job safety may be a challenge in hiring someone with an intellectual disability. To support Patrick, Bluewave Energy brought the lead person from their Health, Safety, and Environment Committee to Sudbury to provide Patrick with one-on-one training. Bringing Patrick on board was key to my success on the job, and throughout Patrick’s contract there were zero issues from a safety standpoint. Furthermore, not only was Patrick productive, keen to work, and on time every day but the entire team gained a lot from working alongside him.