Free Employer Toolkit

The toolkit offers a variety of informative tools. Learn about the skills people with disabilities bring to the workplace and use our ‘how-to’ resources, that provide practical tips and strategies on successful recruitment, hiring, inclusion and retention of people with disabilities.

COVID-19 Tools

COVID-19 has significantly impacted Canadian businesses, forcing many employers to adapt. The value of diversity and inclusion has never been as important as it is today. Employers seeking to recover from the pandemic will be looking to their teams for resilience and adaptability. Once the world shifts back to normal, businesses that foster an inclusive workplace and hire with diversity in mind stand to benefit the most!

Visit our new COVID-19 tools for further information on how hiring people with disabilities will translate into overall business success after the pandemic.

COVID-19 Tools

Four Steps to Creating an Inclusive Workplace

  1. Understand the meaning of diversity, inclusion, inclusive workplaces and measures of accessibility.
  2. Assess and question your existing workplace in terms of accessibility and policy.
  3. Explore the concepts of Human-Centered Design, Growth Mindset and Universal Design.
  4. Leverage existing skills and implement changes to create an accessible and inclusive workplace.

STEP ONE: Understanding Key Definitions
This concept refers to the variety of people and ideas within a company. Diversity is often defined according to unique differences including race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and maternity/marital status.

This concept refers to creating an environment in which people feel involved, respected and valued. Inclusion allows individuals to use their ideas and perspectives in their work with colleagues and customers.

This concept refers to fostering the variety of people and ideas within a company by creating an environment in which people have a sense of belonging and can bring their “authentic” selves to the team and the business.

This concept extends to every phase of the employment continuum, from recruitment to retention. Protocols and systems often entail conditions that may create issues of inaccessibility.

REMEMBER! Human diversity is multidimensional.
  • Visible diversity may involve culture, ethnicity/race, nationality, gender, age and mental/physical status. (The latter is often referred to as disability).
  • Invisible diversity may involve thoughts, perspectives and life experiences, including education, family status, values/beliefs, work-related style preferences and socioeconomic status.
  • Other diversity dimensions that may or may not be visible may include sexual orientation, religion, language and veteran status.

STEP TWO: Assessing and Questioning Your Existing Workplace in Terms of Accessibility and Policy

Few would argue that barriers and inaccessibility factors are deliberately designed to prevent people with disabilities from joining the workforce. Identifying barriers that may have been inadvertently created and perpetuated within a company’s HR policies and protocols (perhaps by "doing things the same way as we always have") will help people without disabilities to see how policies and protocols could be modified.

Assessing and questioning workplace accessibility should take into consideration all aspects of employment, including the workplace and the hiring process (i.e., from posting jobs and screening resumes to scheduling and conducting interviews and orienting new employees).

Remember that people with disabilities may be dealing with sensory, mobility, cognitive, mental health or other medical issues.

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Creating an inclusive workplace is all about changing our perspective!

STEP THREE: Exploring the Concepts of Human-Centered Design, Growth Mindset and Universal Design

HUMAN-CENTERED DESIGN is a creative approach to problem-solving that seeks out and applies knowledge of the people for whom you are designing. Focusing on the end users, this method produces outcomes and outputs aimed at reducing systemic barriers while increasing inclusion and engagement.

GROWTH MINDSET is the belief that talent can be developed, learning is constant and improvement can be continuous, as opposed to regarding talent, intelligence and qualifications as fixed attributes required on the very first day of employment. For example, consider your company's last job posting and the various qualities and credentials that applicants were expected to have prior to being interviewed. Although some aspects of "fixed mindsets" are legitimate and necessary, understanding growth in terms of personal potential will expand the pool of candidates from which you can select the best person for the job.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN is an architectural accessibility term originally intended to describe buildings and public spaces. Today, universal design seeks to make products, environments and systems usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation (i.e., design with human diversity, social inclusion and equality in mind).

PLEASE NOTE! In terms of use and implementation, none of these concepts require professional expertise in order to create an inclusive workplace. Familiarity with the appropriate mindset and a willingness to embrace it are all that are needed.

STEP FOUR: Leveraging Existing Skills and Implementing Changes to Create an Accessible and Inclusive Workplace

Use existing skills and knowledge
Business owners, managers, supervisors, foremen and employees all have existing skills. Combining their skills and knowledge to improve workplace accessibility is the first "power tool" available to organizations seeking to increase their reach into a previously inaccessible talent pool.

An employer’s willingness to improve work conditions for all employees is the most important factor in creating change and moving toward diversity and inclusion.

Implement changes in small and simple ways

Here is an example of the systemic application of universal design in creating an inclusive workplace:

  • Review all internal processes and protocols in order to remove barriers to employment.

Here are some examples of fostering accessibility during the hiring process:

1. RECRUITMENT (read more in Tool #4: Recruiting the Best Available Talent)
On the application form, ask if candidates would prefer to be contacted by phone, email, VRS (Video Relay Service), etc.

2. INTERVIEW (read more in Tool #5: Conducting Successful Interviews)
When contacting candidates for interviews:
  • Provide a description of the interview location.
  • Ensure that the location is fully accessible.
  • Define the interview style.
  • Ask whether candidates will need any accommodations for the interview
  • Let candidates know that they may bring support persons to accompany them to the interview

(read more in Tools #4 and #5)
Determine essential/critical skills and job requirements prior to the interview.
Be prepared to acknowledge that making accommodations brings value added when selecting the right person for the job.

4. HIRING AND RETENTION (read more in Tool #6: Efficient Hiring)
Develop an accommodation policy addressing ongoing employment accessibility and promoting an inclusive workplace.


HIRE for TALENT has made every effort to use the most respectful words possible while writing these materials. We realize, however, that the most appropriate terminology may change over time. We developed these materials with the intent to respect the dignity and inherent rights of all individuals.

Take the Challenge!

True or false

The first step in creating an inclusive workplace is to contact a contractor to assess necessary workplace adjustments.

False. The first step is to reach out to your service provider to help in assessing the existing workplace in terms of accessibility and policy.

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Facts & Stats

Growing your business requires the ability to attract talent in a shrinking market. Workplaces with a diverse, healthy, inclusive culture are becoming employers of choice.
Hire for Talent is focused on workers with disabilities because this talent pool, and the support services attached, have profound impact on workplace inclusion.
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Canada’s projected worker to retiree ratio will be 2:1 within 15 years. Recruitment from diverse talent pools will be essential!
The inclusion of people with disabilities generates measurable improvements in performance, innovation and company image.