Dr. Amin Yazdani, executive director, Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance (CISWP), a research institute within Conestoga’s School of Business, recently presented at the International Forum on Disability Management (IFDM) in Brussels. Held September 28 through 30, the conference included researchers from around the world representing nearly 20 countries.
Conestoga researcher Dr. Amin Yazdani recently presented at the International Forum on Disability Management in Brussels.
The conference, focused on the theme “Disability Management for Healthy and Inclusive Workplace and Labor Market,” included topics presented by international researchers on disability management regulations, legislation and policy; human resources perceptions of older workers; workplace accessibility accommodations and technologies; and barriers to the professional integration of people with disabilities in the workplace.
Dr. Yazdani shared CISWP research around work of disability management systems, specifically focusing on physical and mental disabilities in paramedic workers and the Canadian experience with prevention and management of disability related to post-traumatic stress injuries in paramedic service organizations.
According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD), a national survey of Canadians aged 15 and over whose everyday activities are limited because of a long-term condition or health-related problem, there are 6.2 million Canadians 15 and older who have a disability.
“CISWP’s research around inclusive workplaces — for example, accessibility of persons with disabilities, return-to-work and work disability management — focuses on the social and economic well-being of workers and the sustained performance of all sizes and types of businesses,” said Dr. Yazdani.
Dr. Yazdani pointed to the skilled trades where workers are in high demand to fill well-paying jobs and build rewarding careers; however, the skilled trades industry expects a significant shortage of skilled workers — Ontario alone will need more than 100,000 in the next decade to meet and keep pace with demands. Meanwhile, persons with disabilities related to seeing, hearing, mobility, flexibility, dexterity, developmental and neurodiversity continue to face unemployment and underemployment, and represent a significantly overlooked untapped source of talent.
“Recent technological changes have transformed not only the tools available to tradespeople, but the skills needed to operate them,” explained Yazdani. “This creates an unprecedented opportunity to diversify the skilled trades workforce and expand it to workers that may not have had access to these careers due to diverse skills and abilities, consequently addressing the labour shortage in the industry.”
Increasing the participation of persons with disabilities, including youth with disabilities, in the skilled trades requires a holistic, evidence-informed approach that includes promotion, new training methods, new tools, assistive technologies, and resources to educate employers on creating welcoming and accessible environments.
Aligned with government mandates, Dr. Yazdani said CISWP’s research in this area provides the evidence needed to inform the development of resources for employers including training practices, hiring practices and accommodation practices as well as and products like tools, assistive technologies and software that can assist in removing and preventing barriers to accessible employment across the country and the world, and to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace.
The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance adopts a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach to build capacity for productive and sustainable work. Its mission is to improve the safety, wellness and performance of the Canadian workforce by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice, and strengthening workforce development - all in collaboration with stakeholders.