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UNIVERSAL DESIGN (U.D.) is the design of products, environments, programs and services to be usable by all people without the need for adaptation. Much more than a barrier-free design, U.D. is based on accommodating for the diversity of human characteristics within the population as a whole.


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FLEXIBILITY IS A MAJOR PRINCIPLE OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN


How work is performed (e.g. allowing cashiers to sit or stand)
When work is performed (e.g. flexible scheduling, compressed work week)
Where work is performed (e.g. remote work locations, whether full-time, part-time or occasional)


DESIGN FOR EVERYONE

Employers should strive to incorporate U.D. principles as much as possible to make work environments accessible, inclusive and productive. U.D. aims to increase workplace well-being and engagement for everyone.


Universal Design Accessibility Concepts

U.D. is an ongoing process that builds adaptive, resilient, and inclusive workplaces.

Physical accessibility: ramps, ergonomics, work stations
Systemic accessibility: workplace accommodation policies, protocols, flexibilities
Leadership/interactional competencies: cultural agility, emotional intelligence
Work culture accessibility: inclusiveness, employee well-being, employee resource groups


Examples of U.D. applications in the workplace
Implementation of the National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is linked to Canadian accessibility legislation. This Standard increases workplace well-being and engagement for all workers.

Physical environment
  • Zero-step entries
  • Automatic door openers
  • Wider doorways and hallways

Workstations

  • Adjustable desks
  • Modular furniture

Tools and technology

  • Captioning
  • Speech-to-text software


Applying U.D. principles makes workplaces more inclusive. Applying these principles on behalf of ALL EMPLOYEES fosters innovation and builds business capacity. Systematically inclusive workplaces yield more benefits than simply including people with disabilities.




Disclaimer:

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.



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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.

DISABILITY CONFIDENT PARTNERS CAN HELP YOU!

There is help to become an inclusive employer! HIRE for TALENT has a network of organizations offering services and programs designed to help your business recruit, hire, train and retain people with disabilities. After consulting the employer toolkit, call a HIRE for TALENT, Disability Confident PARTNER to find-out what services are available near you!

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CUSTOMIZE YOUR TOOLKIT

By completing this short questionnaire, you can identify the best tools to hire and retain employees with disabilities, as well as increase your company’s performance.

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FACTS & STATS

Employers often find that workers who identify as having disabilities have unique abilities; they also tend to work harder to prove themselves.
According to employers, people with disabilities perform as well or better than other workers. These employers concluded that hiring people with disabilities did not negatively impact their businesses.
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In a national survey of consumer attitudes towards various companies, 92% of the respondents gave favourable ratings to businesses that hire people with disabilities.
98% were satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received when dealing with an employee with a disability.