The Job Accommodation Service® has been in operation since 2000. Since its launch, the JAS® scope has been expanded from strictly providing workplace accommodation assessments to delivering an array of services designed to alleviate accessibility barriers that are embedded in corporate Canada. Our involvement has been instrumental in changing the way businesses implement inclusive policies and practices throughout their organization.
JAS®: Answering the Call for Service
Until 1999, CCRW held a partnership with the U.S.-based Job Accommodation Network (JAN) out of the University of West Virginia. JAN extended phone services offered to American callers with the Canadian branch – JANCANA – which addressed Canadian questions related to accommodations.
In February of 1999, surveys revealed dissatisfaction with JANCANA services among Canadian public and private sector companies. Survey results revealed that callers were expecting more from an accommodation service, and that the resources provided often raised more questions than they answered. Often, managers were unable to obtain answers that could be applied concretely and immediately. Instead they were left with ‘homework’ that required significant amounts of research. The data provided by JANCANA consultants was based on their American knowledge and experience, and often not applicable in the Canadian setting. Surveyed companies all agreed that a one-time phone call to JANCANA was not sufficient for workplace accommodation assessment. The service needed to become customer-focused, integrated with other services, and closely case-managed.
It had become very clear that there was a need for a one-stop, Canadian-based, national accommodation service to provide a full array of relevant research, advice, training, disability management and workplace accommodation assessments to employers.
The Launch of JAS®
In August 2000, CCRW acted upon employer recommendations to launch the Job Accommodation Service (JAS)®. CCRW developed the structure and processes using the professional assistance of academics with extensive knowledge of accommodations for persons with disabilities, and CCRW’s own bank of resources and expertise pertaining to disabilities and employment. CCRW worked closely with the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto for development of the program. CCRW collaborated with our network of partners across Canada to develop a database of reputable subject matter experts to act as JAS® Assessors. In 2000, the first JAS® service delivery agreement was signed with Scotiabank.
The JAS® Evolution
Since it’s launch in 2000, JAS® has continually evolved in order to maintain cutting-edge, proactive practices that reflect the current economic climate and demand for services. For example,