The pandemic has transformed the way organizations operate. In today’s dynamic environment, organizations need diverse perspectives and innovative thinking at the decision making table to successfully adapt. The key to embracing change and building a globally competitive future of work across Canada requires a diverse workforce, inclusive leadership, companies that create cultures of belonging and take every measure to create equal opportunity.
Over the last many years study after study has demonstrated that building diverse teams contributes unique insights, improves problem-solving, and enhances employee engagement. As Canada invests in rebuilding the labor market with job readiness, skill-development, and re-training, and as industries rebuild and shift, the importance of making sure that there is equal opportunity to participate in the “future world of work” is a responsibility we all share.
There is already mounting information proving that we have work to do to reduce employment and training barriers faced by marginalized groups, youth, and front-line workers, among others that have been further exacerbated by COVID-19. Additionally, the challenges of a multilingual workplace need to be addressed as 90% of leaders surveyed said that their teams face language barriers that hinder daily work. Taking a holistic approach to understanding and supporting potential employees’ and employees’ needs on all organization levels, is critical to building a “future of work for all”.
We encourage you to check out the organizations listed above and watch the recording of the session to form your own opinion on what stands out for you.
One of the highlights of the conversation was that a future ready community must be ready to engage in all spheres of a person’s life (i.e., family, school, work, social activities). It is important to assess and take into consideration the needs of everyone, including those of marginalized populations when implementing new programs and initiatives. Inclusion and diversity are key in creating future ready communities.
A panelist invited people to follow their passion and have the courage to move forward regardless of the project/idea. In fact, there are several organizations, such as the BDC, that help people realize their entrepreneurial dreams.
The panelists shared some success stories they have experienced in their respective organizations.
One panelist shared that even when trying to be an inclusive person, it is easy to be biased. It is therefore important to put aside our prejudices and realize that some people can do more than we thought possible.
Another panelist underlined the importance of the feeling of belonging in the labour market. An example was shared on the importance of work in a person’s life that goes beyond the financial aspect.
Part of the discussion centered around flexibility and the role everyone must play in how they approach others, as it is important to adapt our approach accordingly. For example, an employer must fully understand his employees, make use of their strengths and skills, and offer accommodations, if necessary. As an employer, it is also important to recognize and accept that there are different paths other than a more traditional or typical path. This is what characterizes a more inclusive, future ready community.
In addition, it is essential to be part of the entrepreneur’s system; a support that goes beyond financial support. Therefore, the entrepreneur will have everything he needs to face the challenges he may encounter along the way.
About the panelists
Amélie Duranleau, National Program Manager, Operations, Ready, Willing & Able (RWA)
Amélie Duranleau is currently the National Program Manager for the Ready, Willing & Able (RWA) program. Funded by the Government of Canada and active in multiple communities across the country, RWA is a Canada-wide initiative designed to increase the labor force participation for job seekers on the autism spectrum or with an intellectual disability. Prior to her role as the National Program Manager, Amélie has been actively involved in the operations and implementation of RWA in Quebec, from 2014 to 2020.
Over the last 20 years, Amélie has gained extensive experience in the design, coordination and management of projects related to human and administrative resources in both local and national landscapes. Amélie deeply believes in the benefits of building an inclusive labor force and is dedicated to the developing and recognizing the talents that neurodivergent employees bring to the workplace.
Ready, Willing & Able
Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) is a national partnership of Inclusion Canada (formerly the Canadian Association for Community Living), the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) and their member organizations. Funded by the Government of Canada, RWA is designed to increase the labour force participation of people with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum.
In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, the difference between success and failure lies in the talent and diverse skill set of your workforce. There are approximately 500,000 working age adults with intellectual disabilities or ASD. This untapped workforce can help address current labour shortages while making businesses stronger, more diverse and more productive.
Nadia Forgione, Senior Account Manager, Virtual Business Centre, BDC
Nadia Forgione holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, with a major in finance and a minor in accounting from John Molson School of business. She’s been with the BDC since 2009, she’s progressed through various roles dealing with entrepreneurs and has been an Account Manager for the last 4 years, helping Canadian businesses growth and excel.
BDC is the Business Development Bank of Canada. BDC knows business owners- BDC has been working with them for more than 75 years. They know their challenges and understand their needs, and want them to grow and succeed.
BDC supports small and medium-sized businesses in all industries and at every stage of growth with money and advice. They work with 72,000 entrepreneurs across Canada, have committed $41.2B exclusively to business owners, and 93% of their clients are satisfied with their services.