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Celebrating the launch of WE BELONG in Ottawa and Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM)

LiveWorkPlay is excited to launch the inclusion of Ottawa businesses in the WE BELONG app! We belong is a brilliant (but easy) way to connect consumers of goods and services to local businesses that engage in inclusive hiring practices. Any business accessible in the WE BELONG directory meets all of these criteria:

  • have a direct employment contract with the employee
  • pay the employee minimum wage or better
  • provide a work space where the employee with a disability works alongside other employees
  • provide a work environment where the employee has the opportunity to be engaged in workplace culture

An initiative of Gateway Association, WE BELONG started in Alberta in 2015, and is spreading quickly! “Our goal is to partner with organizations in every province to promote the app across Canada and eventually to other parts of the world,” says Gateway’s Michael Blanchard. “Now that we have added LiveWorkPlay to our network, we have more than 70 employers in the Ottawa area directory, and we know they will help us make connections with other organizations and communities to continue connecting shoppers to businesses that they know are forward-thinking and are leaders in their hiring practices.”

“With all the attention from [National] Disability Employment Awareness Month, October was the perfect time for us to start promoting our employer partners through the WE BELONG app,” says Jen Soucy, LiveWorkPlay’s Manager of Employer Partnerships. “It was easy to work with the Gateway Association team, and all of our employers were appreciative of the concept and got back to us quickly to confirm their participation. The app is free, takes just seconds to download, and instantly you will see the inclusive employers nearest to you. You can find a restaurant or a carpet cleaning service or an auto dealership and direct your buying power to a business that believes in the value of employees with disabilities.”

Jen is currently attending the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) “Rethinking Disabilities” conference where one of LiveWorkPlay’s employment champions, Andrew Bearss of Dow Honda (yes, you can find Dow Honda in the app!) will be accepting induction into the Business Champions League. In our usual sharing tradition, Jen is also presenting at the conference to explain how the LiveWorkPlay approach to developing employer champions has paved the way for hundreds of successful employment relationships. Check out the video series to hear from Andrew as well as other LiveWorkPlay employment partners, and employees and employers from across the country! LiveWorkPlay co-leader Keenan Wellar also makes several appearances to provide context to modern approaches to employment supports.

In what has been a very busy month of NDEAM and DEAM events, LiveWorkPlay played host last week to the Ottawa site of the Hire for Talent launch, a toolkit that includes a series of videos to help encourage and support employers to benefit from the hiring of people with disabilities. Among the many special guests contributing to the event across the country, Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities joined in the excitement from the LiveWorkPlay location.

“National Disability Employment Awareness Month encourages us to think about and celebrate the positive contributions that people with disabilities make to our workplaces and to Canada. I’m looking forward to introducing new accessibility legislation which will improve accessibility and increase quality opportunities for Canadians with disabilities” said Minister Hehr.