Presenting a Business Case for Accessibility
Accessibility means different things to different people. For most people, accessibility often conjures an image of a person in a wheelchair. While the word accessibility describe a person in a wheelchair experiencing difficulties overcoming a physical barrier, it means much more than that.
Accessibility has universal benefits that also extend to seniors, caregivers, parents with strollers and many others. A strong business case exists to justify investing more effort in accommodating people with disabilities as full participants in our Canadian society… as both employees and consumers!
Supporting the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) legislation is good for business and “the right thing to do”. Plus it ensures that Ontario continues to grow into a vibrant, inclusive and productive society where everyone can participate as consumers, entrepreneurs and employees.
An Emerging Market Mentality
Some businesses are already learning firsthand that the benefits of promoting accessibility is good for their public corporate image as a socially responsible organization, sets their business apart from their competitors, and, it’s profitable as well.
Accessibility rather than disability is the operative word here. Accessibility, in this context, means that the business community should begin thinking about to reduce or eliminate barriers for people with disabilities and seniors – both physical and attitudinal. Independent national surveys have proven (by a margin of 10 to 1) that Canadians believe that our society has traditionally given too low a priority to helping people with disabilities. The majority of Canadians also perceive that corporations are too focused on “protecting the environment”; That not enough effort is being made to promote a more inclusive image by accommodating both employees and customers with disabilities. The overwhelming majority of Canadians have stated that they would definitely favour companies that they knew had a policy of hiring people with disabilities.
The widely empathetic attitudes of Canadians with respect to disabilities are essentially uniform across the country. The evidence is in. Businesses that adopt a more inclusive and accommodating attitude toward people with disabilities, are doing the right thing.