Issue 21 | October 2021
Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM)
Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) is an annual opportunity for Manitoba businesses, industry associations, community organizations, educational institutions, government bodies and other groups to take proactive steps to increase employment success for Manitobans with disabilities.
The Manitoba government is proud to recognize the month of October as Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM).
To view previous MAO DEAM celebrations, including a webinar and resources for employers, please visit: http://www.accessibilitymb.ca/deam.html
Free DEAM Webinar - October 20 from 9am to 1pm
Join the Manitoba Accessibility Office in celebrating DEAM
This year, to celebrate Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM), the Manitoba Tourism Education Council (MTEC) will be hosting a FREE virtual employAbility Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 9am to 1pm.
The event will include:
- Keynote Presentation by Randy Lewis
- Presentation by the Manitoba Accessibility Office
- Virtual Exhibitor Booths – only 20 booths available!
- Live Virtual Business Panel with Interactive Q&A
- Door Prizes – over $500 in giveaways
For registration and more information about the Expo, please visit: employAbilitymb.com
Virtual Exhibitor Booths are still available. For more information about the booths, please contact Vanessa at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-957-7437
Coming Soon - Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM)
Indigenous peoples across Canada experience a disability rate that is significantly higher than that of the general population. Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM) brings awareness of these barriers and the issues that Indigenous peoples living with disabilities and their families face every day. In spite of these barriers, there is much to celebrate. IDAM highlights the achievements of Indigenous peoples living with disabilities and recognizes the significant and valuable contributions they make to our communities, socially, economically and culturally. IDAM was created by the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS) in 2015.
Beginning this year, the Manitoba government will be proclaiming the month of November as Indigenous Disability Awareness Month (IDAM). Manitoba is the third province to officially proclaim IDAM.
Get involved & recognize the valuable contributions that Indigenous peoples living with disabilities bring to our communities.
- Learn more about IDAM.
- Recognize IDAM within your organization.
- Host a virtual community or organizational event.
Stay tuned for more information about IDAM in Manitoba, including local events
MAAW 2021 Resources - Now Available!
Thank you to everyone who participated in MAAW 2021 this year, with a special thanks to Deputy Minister Yazmine Laroche, moderator Rosalie Best, and panelists Samantha Rayburn, Erika Rodeck, Bill Tucker and Josh Watt for sharing their knowledge and experiences.
All resources are available under the Past MAAW Events section, including:
Tip: Celebrate DEAM by featuring all or parts of the webinar, followed by a discussion on how to create a culture of disability in your organization. For instance, feature the 30-minute panel discussion of employees with disabilities and discuss what, if any barriers the panelists would face in your work place.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) 2020 Webinar Resources - Available Online
These newly posted resources are a perfect way to keep accessibility top of mind in your organization.
Plan a lunch and learn event with an enlightening presentation about Manitoba’s contributions to national and international human rights, by human rights lawyer Yvonne Peters.
Learn what makes the inaugural Manitoba Accessibility Award winners leaders in providing accessibility. Congratulations to the 2020 winners:
All resources are available under the Past IDPD Events section, including:
New Report - Income Support Program
The Manitoba government has released a new report on the findings of a second round of engagement with Manitobans on a proposed income support program for people with severe and prolonged disabilities, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced on September 16th.
The minister noted the province is now focused on developing the major components of the new program including service navigation. The design of the program will be guided by the feedback Manitobans have provided during both public engagements.
Eye on the Community - Accessibility Champions
Manitoba Accessibility Award Winner Profile
Woodlands Pioneer Museum – Rural non-profit
Accessibility at the Woodlands Pioneer Museum is a priority for its volunteer Board of Directors, the majority of whom are seniors. Museum vice-president Judith Olson is proud of the progress and feels accessibility should always be top of mind.
“Accessibility should be a household word.”
To guide its work in creating accessibility, the small organization developed an accessibility policy, as well as an accessibility plan with short and long-term priorities. Early improvements included leveling walkways on uneven grass surfaces, the construction of ramps, and adding railings to stairs. Because an elevator to the second floor of a replica pioneer log cabin was not feasible, the volunteers came up with a reasonable alternative: Museum goers who cannot climb the stairs are invited to visit the upper story via a virtual tour. Given its success, the museum plans to expand the virtual offerings in future.
Olson offers this advice to other small organizations like her own: “Do not view making your organization accessible as an insurmountable task, but start by candidly identifying barriers. You will have taken the most important step. Removing one barrier at a time is absolutely achievable.”
For more information about the Woodlands Pioneer Museum and their accessibility initiatives, visit their website: https://www.woodlandspioneermuseum.com/
Manitoba Accessibility Stories
That Fateful Day - by Amethya Weaver
“When we start to ask ourselves, does it matter? we realize how many aspects there are to every situation. We begin to appreciate how interconnected we are to the rest of the world…” - Pema Chodron
I wrote this article just over a year after the Manitoba government announced that the pandemic was declared an emergency in Manitoba. As someone who wears hearing aids and reads lips 100% of the time, I recall one situation that stands out for me that I would like to share.
On that fateful day in 2020, when individuals were first required to wear masks in indoor public settings, little did I know how much this would affect me. Dreading what laid before me, sitting in my car with my partner in front of a store, I put on my mask and entered the building. Seeing only the eyes of masked people and hearing nonsense words flying through the air, a tidal wave of shock hit me. This was my new reality…no longer could I rely on lip (and face) - reading skills to communicate with others. Despite having been a customer for over 20 years, this store now felt foreign and isolating to me.
My fluent communication and strong lip-reading skills have enabled me to communicate with other people with relative ease, especially in businesses that I frequently attend. People generally assume that because of my communication skills and hearing aids that I do not need to lip read as much as I do.
However, this was no longer the case. I now had to explain that I read lips and that I could not understand what an individual was saying. I felt frustrated, powerless and angry, even though I knew the worker was not responsible for this new requirement.
I reflect on the situation, asking myself, does it matter? Does it matter that the worker kept talking despite my repeated attempts to explain that I could not understand her? Does it matter that I felt frustrated and powerless? I realize that she was likely struggling with the new requirement and how to provide customer service.
While the mask requirement ensures that we are protecting others and ourselves, it can inadvertently create a new communication barrier, especially for people with vision and auditory disabilities.
When people wear masks and I cannot see their lips, I am excluded from the conversation. I can choose to feel frustrated when I meet with others who are wearing masks in a public setting, or I can choose to kindly explain to them that I read lips and request that they write on paper, or use their phones to text what they are trying to say to me. Being flexible in the way that businesses and organizations provide customer service is essential.
I believe that it is important for everyone to learn how to address communication barriers during the pandemic (especially businesses and organizations), but also beyond COVID-19, so all Manitobans can experience an excellent quality of life and not be excluded from day-to-day activities.
Online and locally at McNally Robinson Booksellers, Manitobans can purchase clear face masks by Living Royal. The masks feature a clear screen, which enables individuals to see the mouths and lips of the person wearing the mask.
Events & Accessibility Resources for Businesses & Organizations
Free Webinar: Business Resources for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities or Health Conditions
Interested in starting your own business? Join Community Futures Manitoba and World Trade Centre Winnipeg in this Q&A with a panel of experts that will guide you through the business services and resources available to assist you in starting your own business in Manitoba.
Tuesday October 5, 2021
10:00am – 11:30am
To register and for more information, visit: https://worldtradecentrewinnipeg.microsoftcrmportals.com/event/sessions?id=Business_Resources_for_People_with_Disabilities_or_Health_Conditions706039488
Disability & Work in Canada 2021 Virtual Conference – Registration Open!
The Disability and Work in Canada (DWC) 2021 Virtual Conference will be held over four days in December, December 1 and 2 and December 6 and 7, from 12:15 to 3:30 EDT.
The theme for this year’s conference is “achieving equality of opportunity and choice in careers, jobs and work”, with subthemes for each day:
- Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 – Fully including Persons with Disabilities in the COVID19 Recovery
- Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021 – making inclusive workplaces a reality
- Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 – ensuring secure and comprehensive supports for persons with disabilities
- Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021 – moving forward together towards full inclusion in employment
As we all know, 2021 continues to be a challenging year, with ongoing challenges for the employment of persons with disabilities. The DWC conference is focused on how to meet those challenges and continue to make progress on the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Strategy for Disability and Work.
We will be sending the preliminary agenda, as well as information on conference accessibility soon.
To register, visit: https://reg.unityeventsolutions.com/se/DWCVC2021/ATT/.
The deadline for the early bird rate is Oct. 29.
Accessibility Resources for Businesses & Organizations
We have included resources in this newsletter for businesses and organizations, compiled from the Government of Canada.
You can learn how to make your workplace more inclusive. There are many tools and resources for employers available online. Before hiring, prepare to train and support new employees.
Federal Financial Support
Ready to make your workplace more accessible? You may be eligible for programs or financial incentives.
This newsletter is available in alternate formats on request.
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Manitoba Accessibility Office
630 - 240 Graham Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0J7
Toll-free: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7613
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