It is with great excitement that we launch Making Cent$ of Abilities – a unique local initiative highlighting the economic benefits of employing persons with disabilities, how employers can recruit workers with disabilities and the available supports for employers in doing so.
The objectives of this initiative are:
We hope to generate significant interest and momentum through this initiative’s activities to emphasize the need for the integration of these untapped workers into the workplaces of the Region of Waterloo, Wellington County and Dufferin County.
The Making Cent$ of Abilities Coalition presented “Future-Proofing Young Canadians with Disabilities for the Changing Labour Market”, in the winter of 2021.
This event explored the increased exposure to precarious work, as well as growing employment in the gig and sharing economies, poses new challenges for young people seeking sustainable employment. These challenges are exacerbated among young people living with disabilities who are persistently excluded from the labour market.
Guest speaker Dr. Arif Jetha, shared findings from the Institute for Health and Work. These findings include future-proofing strategies that can be implemented to minimize the shocks and stresses of the changing labour market on young people with disabilities.
The Making Cent$ of Abilities Coalition hosted a web event on Thursday, November 5, 2020. This event educated employers on how they can accommodate workers living with physical and mental health conditions that cause episodic disability. Employers are increasingly asked to accommodate workers living with physical and mental health conditions that cause episodic disability, where periods of wellness are punctuated by intermittent and often unpredictable activity limitations. Examples of chronic health conditions causing episodic disability are mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, rheumatic diseases like arthritis and lupus, Crohn’s and colitis, multiple sclerosis, migraines, epilepsy and some types of cancer. Episodic disabilities are challenging for workplaces which must comply with legislation protecting the privacy of health information while believing they would benefit from personal health details to meet a worker’s accommodation needs.
Early studies are showing that Covid 19 is having an undeniable impact on our mental well being. As an employer, it is important to be aware of what this might look like within your workplace. On June 11, 2020 the Making Cent$ of Abilities Coalition discussed the mental health ramifications of Covid 19, including how to recognize signs and symptoms of mental distress, and how that might present in the workplace environment. This presentation included strategies for being supportive, as well as professional resources for additional help.
Angela Heeley, Mental Health Promotion and Education Coordinator Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington was the guest speaker at this online event.
Angela is the Mental Health Promotion and Education Coordinator for the Canadian Mental Health Association of Waterloo Wellington. She has been employed with CMHA for 10 years in variety of roles, most of these working directly with adults who have mental health and/or addiction issues. These roles include, providing support on crisis and distress hotlines, running a wide range of support groups, and doing community outreach work. Prior to her current role, Angela was part of the “Skills for Safer Living” team, facilitating a psychoeducational program for adults who have attempted suicide one or more times. As such, she is experienced working with individuals in crisis who are at risk. In her current role, she is a certified SafeTALK, Mental Health First Aid and Mental Health Works instructor. She also does customized presentations, sits on various committees in the community, and plans and attends events related to mental health. She also runs an educational program for family members of adults with mental health concerns.
This presentation was held in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and was offered for free.