Digging into economic inclusion

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Seeking global best practices of inclusive hiring networks
Tuesday August 14, 2012 — Kristian Partington

Nearly 50 per cent of Canadians who have a disability are unemployed — roughly the same number as in the United Kingdom, where a concerted effort is underway to engage the business community in changing this statistic.
The Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) senior manager of social and economic inclusion Kevin Lusignan pointed to the Employers’ Forum on Disability’s (EFD’s) President’s Group recently as a leading example of an engaged network of business leaders coming together to further the goals of economic inclusion.

Founded in 1991 by Prince Charles, the EFD was the world’s first organization dedicated to highlighting the business case for inclusive hiring practices.

The President’s Group came later when then-group chief executive at Barclays PLC John Varley saw a need to bring the most senior business leaders in the U.K. together to prove that disability concerns are important. The message the group imparts upon stakeholders, governments, consumers and competitors is that inclusion in the workplace must be on business leaders’ agendas.

The reach of the group is global, with many members representing international organizations operating in numerous countries.

The recently-announced Canadian Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities is on a quest to discover the best ways to boost opportunities for people who have disabilities to find meaningful employment, with a particular focus on the private sector.

As the panel works towards the completion of its report, due in December, the BACI Blast is looking to highlight examples of business leaders across B.C., Canada and other parts of the world that are making a difference.

Sights are set on the US Business Leadership Network based in Virginia, and the Australian Network on Disability, along with the EFD as sources of information on how best to leverage the strength of the business community to grow the economic inclusion movement.

Watch for more stories to come.

If you have any examples or stories to share of business champions promoting inclusion in the workplace, please get in touch with kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.

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