B.C. business leaders take the lead to create accessible, inclusive workplaces

Businesses strategize best practices for innovative workplaces,
inclusive of people with disabilities

The Presidents Group invited B.C. CEOs and small business owners to a roundtable discussion on how to make workplaces accessible on Friday. The roundtable facilitated talks on innovative and inclusive organizations, the business impacts of upcoming federal accessibility legislation and how to encourage businesses to hire people with disabilities.

“The Presidents Group is showing true leadership in helping to create diverse, inclusive workplaces that employ people with disabilities and recognize their value in the workplace” Minister Shane Simpson.

The first question people often ask in a social situation is, “what is your name?” The second is, “what do you do?” The Presidents Group aims to change the answer to the second question for many British Columbians with a disability.

B.C. is currently facing a labour shortage with an expected 900,000 job openings by 2028. Despite this, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities (11.6%) remains much higher than the rate for people without disabilities (7.1%). The roundtable was a moment for businesses – small and large – to address this gap and business opportunity. Highlights from the day include:

  • Sarah White, COO and Co-Founder of Fairware suggested how to create culture that welcomes disclosure
  • Tewanee Joseph, CEO at Tewanee Consulting Group shared how his consulting company leads the way by creating a customer experience inclusive of accessibility
  • Nicolas Jimenez, President and CEO of ICBC spoke about broadening recruitment strategies by creating partnerships and amending hiring processes such as interviews, to be more inclusive

“Having a diverse and inclusive workforces is absolutely the right thing to do – but it is also good for business,” Craig Richmond, President and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority and Presidents Group Co-Chair. “YVR is committed to being a leader when it comes to accessible and inclusive workplace.”

The Presidents Group focuses on the business case for hiring people with disabilities. Research shows that diverse and inclusive workplaces are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets; six times more likely to be innovative; and six times more likely to anticipate change.

“People with disabilities have had different experiences, so they think about things differently,” said Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO of Vancity, and Presidents Group Co-Chair. “They bring a fresh perspective to our work that, frankly, we couldn’t get anywhere else.”

The Presidents Group is a network of change-driven B.C. business leaders who are champions for more accessible, inclusive workplaces. The Presidents Group represents businesses of all different sizes and sectors, engaging with employers and business owners around the province to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities in B.C. and create a more accessible consumer marketplace.

The Presidents Group invites all B.C. based businesses who want to be more accessible and inclusive to join the Community of Accessible Employers by visiting

Surrey604 Staff
Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.