Topic: Erasing Barriers: Making the Future of Work Accessible

GATE co-hosted a panel discussion with Access to Success, a non-profit organization aiming to support the development of future leaders with disabilities and accessibility tech. We heard from four experts and champions for accessible workplaces—Liza Arnason, Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors, ASE Community Foundation for Black Canadians with Disabilities; Simone Lima, former GATE MBA Fellow and Senior Product Manager, Proposify; Tim Rose, Senior Consultant, Accessibility, Client Experience team, CIBC; and Gaurav Upadhya, Global Chief Actuary and Chief Risk Officer at Foresters Financial—and moderator Darrell Bowden, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Rotman School.  

Nearly one-quarter of Canadians live with some form of disability, it’s essential for employers to ensure policies and environments welcome people with disabilities to attract and retain diverse talent. The panel shared their thoughts on the future of work and provided examples of how businesses can take the lessons learnt from the pandemic era about flexible working arrangements to make workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities and everyone else.   

Here are their recommendations for employers:  

  • When making policies and processes for people with disabilities, ensure they are “at the table” participating in that decision-making.  
  • Create tools and processes that will facilitate people with disabilities to disclose without stigma.  
  • Ask employees with disabilities what they need to be successful—don’t assume what they need.  
  • Perceive disability as a strength rather than a weakness: disability gives people a valuable lens on the world.  
  • Pay attention to intersectionality and how factors such as race and gender can amplify barriers faced by people with disabilities.  
  • Educate leaders and managers on ableism and how to stop it.   

“Let’s turn the corporate ladder into a corporate ramp.” – Tim Rose

Watch highlights from the discussion in which panelists explored the importance of representation in leadership positions and their advice on how to build the talent pipeline.  

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