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Seeing the workforce in a myth-free light

SASKATOON – How to change the workforce so that it is seen in a myth-free light.

That’s the aim of a recent federally appointed panel report call Rethinking DisAbility in the private sector.

While the report shed light on the employment situation facing persons with disabilities, some say there are still a few pieces missing.

Community Futures took notice that it didn’t delve into entrepreneurship as a viable option for persons with disabilities.

The organization recently ran an online video competition in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to highlight people with disabilities who have opened businesses and to light a fire in the public consciousness.

“If they own their businesses, they can determine their hours, they can determine their work environment, which makes it easier,” said Ezna Groenewald from Community Futures.

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A panel member says there isn’t a one-size fits all approach for any individual.

“It’s got to be an individual solution that matches their interest, skill sets, their passions in life,” said Dr. Gary Birch with the Neil Squire Society.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission also pointed out the report failed to deal with barriers beyond an employer’s control that affect access to jobs.

“If you want to have people educated, they have to be able to get to the institution, if you want them employed, they have to be able to get to the job,” said Chief Commissioner David Arnot.

“There’s a real problem with that in Saskatchewan.”

Even with the missing pieces, Arnot says the report is sending a positive message.

“It isn’t ‘we don’t want to do that,’ it’s really, ‘how do we do that’ and how can we make this place a better Saskatchewan, and a better place for people with disabilities to live.”

“There’s a positive spirit, which is articulable, and I’ve seen it and that’s why I’m hopeful.”

An extended interview with Sask. Human Rights Chief Commissoner David Arnot about persons with disabilites in the workforce:

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