Toronto (ON) – BDO Canada announced today it is partnering with two NGOs, the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS) and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), by investing in initiatives that will positively impact Canadians with disabilities, nationwide.
“BDO Canada is committed to its ongoing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) journey and to doing work that has a positive impact on the Canadian employment landscape, specifically for persons with disabilities and creating more accessible workspaces,” says Max Brault, Vice President of Management Consulting at BDO Canada. “These two partnerships demonstrate the firm's investment in helping to fill critical gaps in the procurement cycle and remove barriers to accessibility in the workplace.”
There is a significant need for programs and initiatives to improve accessibility at work across the country. The Stats Canada 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability reported an under-representation of people with disabilities in the workforce, stemming from obstacles at both the procurement and workplace levels.
Together with IRIS, BDO Canada will co-design a first-of-its-kind audit tool that will set a baseline for accessibility in the workplace. This specialized Accessibility Engagement Audit Tool will help employers identify barriers and solutions to accessibility within their workplace. The project also includes the development of a Disability-Inclusive Employment Practices Audit Process, which will further support employers on their accessibility journey.
“All too often people with disabilities are overlooked when we talk about accessibility in the workplace, and this partnership and project are aimed at addressing this discrepancy in Canada,” says Michael Bach, Managing Director of IRIS. “We're pleased to be working with BDO on designing a tool and a process that will support Canadian employers on their journey to creating a workplace that is accessible to everyone, including Canadians who live with a disability.”
Both the Accessibility Engagement Audit Tool and the Disability-Inclusive Employment Practices Audit Process are in development and expected to be complete in late 2024. These are being supported through a generous financial contribution from a program offered through Employment and Social Development Canada called Workplace Opportunities: Reducing Barriers to Equity.
CNIB and BDO Canada are partnering on a research project to examine the accessibility of procurement processes for the Government of Canada.
"We hope that this pioneering research will highlight the barriers within the federal government's procurement framework and provide helpful recommendations to develop more accessible and inclusive practices for purchasing goods and services," says Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai, CNIB's Chief Accessibility Officer and Vice President of Research and International Affairs. "The Government of Canada is one of Canada's largest employers with the power to prioritize accessibility and influence change in our communities. We're thrilled to partner with BDO Canada to support the federal government's accessible procurement efforts.”
CNIB and BDO anticipate that the new model will be completed in 2024. A joint report from both organizations will precede it and will be released publicly.
About BDO Canada
BDO Canada LLP is a leading provider of professional services to clients across a variety of sectors and segments. For over 100 years, our team has served communities across Canada through a comprehensive range of assurance, tax, and consulting services, complemented by deep industry knowledge. With over 5,000 people across 100 offices in Canada, and more than 1,800 offices in 164 countries, BDO is well-positioned to assist clients with both domestic and global needs.
BDO Canada LLP, a Canadian limited liability partnership, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO member Firms. For more information, visit: www.bdo.ca
The Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS) is a research and development institute supported by the Inclusion Canada (formerly the Canadian Association for Community Living) to help work towards its vision that “people with intellectual disabilities and their families are valued equally and able to participate fully in all aspects of society.”
CNIB is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower Canadians impacted by blindness to live their dreams while tearing down barriers to inclusion. Our work as a blind foundation is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners in communities across Canada. To learn more or get involved, visit cnib.ca.
Tara MacPherson, Consultant, Proof Strategies Inc.