Making Cent$ of Abilities

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Future-Proofing Young Canadians with Disabilities Event

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The Making Cent$ of Abilities Coalition presented "Future-proofing young Canadians with disabilities for the changing labour market" .

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.

Click here to see the recording of that event.

Click here to see the PowerPoint presentation.

Episodic Disabilities, COVID-19, and the Workplace - Web Event

The Making Cent$ of Abilities Coalition hosted a web event on Thursday, November 5. 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.

Click here or on the image above to see the recorded presentation from guest speaker Dr. Monique Gignac , Scientific Co-Director & Senior Scientist at the Institute for Work & Health.

The slides from Dr. Monique Gignac's presentation are also available by clicking here.

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.

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:

• Educating employers on the economic benefits of hiring and retaining persons with disabilities.
• Addressing and reducing the barriers associated with the hiring and retaining persons with disabilities.
• Identifying employers who are champions of hiring and retaining persons with disabilities.
• Supporting employers in hiring and retaining persons with disabilities.
• Providing information to employers about resources and services in the community.

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.

Resources and further information

Accessible Employers

Mental Health in the Workplace
An Accommodation Guide for Managers and Staff

Canadian Human Rights Commission
A Place for All: A Guide to Creating an Inclusive Workplace

Canadian Human Rights Commission
Workplace & A Guide for Managing the Return to Work

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Ministry of Community & Social Services
Make Your Workplace Accessible

Canadian Public Service Agency
Workshop on Duty to Accommodate Policy

Conference Board of Canada
Tapping the Talents of People with Disabilities

The Employers Toolkit:
Making Ontario Workplaces Accessible to People with Disabilities, 2nd edition

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Enabling Accessibility Fund

Hire for Talent
Employer Toolkit – Find the Right Talent for your Business

Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Employer Toolkit - Working Towards Mental Wellness

Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

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Key Partners



CCRW better


Making Cent$ of Abilities Resource Guide


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