Baker St. in Cranbrook. Trevor Crawley photo.

Cranbrook hosting business workshop on accessibility and inclusivity

Cranbrook is one of 10 communities across the province hosting workshops to raise awareness about accessibility in the workplace and inviting B.C. employers to become more inclusive and equitable.

The New Inclusive Economy Business-to-Business Roadshow is being led by Inclusion Powell River, which is receiving more than $803,000 from the province to engage with businesses to expand accessibility in the workplace while also compiling material for a research report.

“Most inclusive employment projects focus on people with disabilities gaining new skills and being ready for employment, which we fully support, but often we do not consider employers and what role they play in creating and maintaining disability-inclusive work,” said Corinna Curtis, CEO, Inclusion Powell River. “This project is about exploring with employers what they may be able to alter in their current practices to engage a more diverse workforce and discovering what supports are needed to make that happen.”

The Cranbrook workshop will be held on June 5, starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort, which will be led in partnership with the City of Cranbrook, Cranbrook WorkBC Centre and the Nexus Community Support Society.

Co-facilitators will include representatives from St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino, Blade Runner Shredding Services/Nexus Community Support Society and the Cranbrook Public Library.

“The business community in B.C. will be able to hear directly from employers who are implementing disability inclusion in the workplace,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “They will have the opportunity to hear how disability inclusion enriches the workplace and creates excellent employees.”

Cranbrook is the only Kootenay community on the tour; other locations include Kelowna, Surrey, Vancouver, Prince George, Fort St. John, and Victoria, among others.

Earlier this year, the City of Cranbrook announced the launch of a program to improve diversity, equity and inclusion within the corporation and the community at large.

The program has two goals; developing an internal diversity, equity and inclusion program aligning with city department procedures, while also developing a community focused accessibility plan.

A significant amount of work has already been done networking and sharing information with other communities, as well as reaching out to interested parties within the community. Future steps include reviewing bylaws, polices and procedures, data collection, internal reviews and more external community engagement, before an interim report is submitted to city council in September.

Self-employed people, employers in B.C. and people who identify as having a disability are all welcome to participate in the Cranbrook Business to Business workshop. The New Inclusive Economy project provides support to anyone who needs it to attend project events.

People are encouraged to pre-register so that facilitators can provide accessibility accommodation.

“People with disabilities deserve good job opportunities,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Helping employers remove barriers to the workplace means more people with disabilities can work and participate in their communities.”

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