Archive for the ‘Differently abled’ Category

How workers with Autism boost Innovation

This is an interesting article on how individuals with differing abilities, particularly those with Autism, have developed skills at using information in alternative ways. Phil McKinney, founder of Hacking Autism, a group helping match people with autism with employment say, “high functioning Autistic people are ‘hard wired’ to look at things in an unconventional way. Employees working in the tech world can help their companies generate new ideas for products and services, which is greatly in demand in the highly competitive field.

To read more

New website helps new English speakers Enunciate Better

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Brock University linguistics professor Ron Thomson created a free site to help new Canadians with pronouncing English. “The focus of these tools is to help non-English speakers better hear differences between different English sounds”, he says. Job candidates who are able to be understood very clearly in English with a softer accent, can find the job search easier than others. Thomson’s English Accent Coach is a free website, or mobilphiles can pay $1.99 for the app.

From The Toronto Star, March 12, 2012  GT3

Has the definition of disability changed with the AODA?

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

The AODA  (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities) uses the Ontario Human Rights Code definition of “disability” which is currently:

  •  any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device
  •  a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability
  •  a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language
  •  a mental disorder, or
  •  an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“handicap”).


The history of this new act goes back to the 1970’s. Disability was added to the Ontario Human Rights Code when it came into effect in 1982. The new act replaced Ontario’s original human rights law, which took effect in 1962. The new act was the first time that Ontario’s human rights law had been changed. In the late 1970s, the Ontario Human Rights Commission studied human rights in Ontario. Their report showed that there were new human rights issues in Ontario. The new law was based on this study. The Ontario Human Rights Code then gave more power to the Human Rights Commission. It also gave people more rights to freedom from discrimination.
The 1982 Ontario Human Rights Code protected against discrimination “because of handicap”. The law said that “handicap” meant “real or perceived physical , mental retardation or impairment, mental disability or a disorder”.
Since 1982, the Human Rights Code has changed. The word “handicap” has been taken out.
Now the AODA of 2005 says that people cannot be discriminated against because of “disability”. The code and the law thus have a wider definition of disability, and the rights of persons with disabilities are protected in more areas.
How is your organization’s planning for AODA ?
Guide to Accessibility
A summary of Ontario legislation on disability

Thinking about your Customers is key to AODA Compliance

Reflecting on how your business policies affect customers is the key to making changes to meet the AODA. Debbie Kirwin, Chair of the town of Huntsville’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, gives these examples:

  • A store may make exceptions for customers with disabilities in its policy because their fitting rooms are not

wheelchair accessible.

  • A college may establish procedures to address the needs of students, including

students with disabilities, in registration for courses. Students can register in person,
online, by mail or through an electronic telephone service. Students may also contact
the Registrar’s office for assistance.

  • A grocery store with very narrow aisle space may establish a practice of keeping display

racks and products out of the middle of its aisles to make the store accessible for
customers using wheelchairs and walkers.


Many of  these changes make sense and will enhance your service to all customers, regardless of their capabilities.

Click for article

Guidelines on Customer Service Standards in AODA


Your Company’s AODA Implementation – Welcoming people with disabilities and service animals into your business

Worrying about implementing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities act?

Over the next year I will offer information useful for employers, HR professionals, office managers, and all employees.


Welcoming people with disabilities and service animals into your business

King’s Speech

“After decades of characters who stutter being portrayed negatively in movies, it is thrilling for people who stutter to revisit the story of King George VI” states a site about the movie. It is inspirational for all of us, including people with disabilities, to be reminded that persistence and practice can improve many challenges.  In the oscar winning movie, Winston Churchill explains too that he once had a speech impediment but ” turned it into an asset”.  If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to. If you’re not into movies, the many stories about King George VI provide hope and strength.

For information about King George IV and the Stuttering Foundation

For information about Winston Churchill\’s speech impediment

Studies on Workers with Disabilities

January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

An interesting article in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, summarizes results from related studies on workers with disabilities. Some insights are:

  • The potential effects of employing PWD (people with disabilities) on safety, cost, efficiency, service quality and management were investigated. Potentials and limitations of people with different types and degrees of disabilities with regard to jobs in the hospitality industry were also questioned. A notable guiding principle emanating from this study is that hiring of employees should be based on merit, suitability and capability of the candidate, regardless of the presence or degree of disability. (25 May 2010-3 stage Delphi study)
  • A global challenge faced by PWD is to find and maintain satisfactory
    jobs. PWD are largely excluded from the labor market, which also leads to exclusion from social life (Barnes & Mercer, 2008).
  • Effective diversity management involves the consideration of all such dimensions. Disability, as one of these dimensions, merits detailed investigation for better recognition and efficient human resource management. (Baum, 2007)

Workers with disabilities in Tourism