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Canadian Business SenseAbility to help companies access the benefits of hiring people with disabilities

TORONTO, Sept. 17, 2014 /CNW/ – Canadian Business SenseAbility, a national, not-for-profit organization run by private sector business leaders, launched today in Toronto. The organization was created to help more Canadian companies access the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.

“There is a strong business case for hiring people with disabilities,” said Kathy Martin, Chair of Canadian Business SenseAbility. “It’s good for business in terms of higher employee retention, lower absenteeism, improved safety, innovation and revenue growth.”

“Companies should not limit their search for employees in any way,” commented The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and the Honorary Patron of SenseAbility. “There are almost 800,000 skilled people with disabilities ready and able to work today – half with post-secondary education and training. My message to business is that when you open your door wider, you don’t lower the bar. You reap the benefits in better business performance.”

SenseAbility was established as an outcome of the Government of Canada’s 2012 Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. The panel’s report, Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector, documents that employing people with disabilities results in higher retention, revenue growth, customer goodwill and the development of great leaders.

“Our Government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity,’ said Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development. “We are very pleased to work with Canadian Business SenseAbility to help businesses hire Canadians with disabilities, thus allowing them to fully participate in the labour market.” SenseAbility has received financial support through the Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability.

“Cost, accommodation and training are not barriers,” said Kenneth Fredeen General Counsel, Deloitte LLP, Chair of the 2012 Panel and SenseAbility board member, “and the business case is rock solid. In fact, many companies are doing great things, and want to do more. But they need help dispelling myths, influencing attitudes and changing behaviours. The keys to success are leadership, flexibility and access to work-ready people.”

Canadian Business SenseAbility helps businesses recognize and act on the strategic advantage of this large, untapped talent pool by providing education and practical tools for sustained and measureable business success. The focus is on the proven bottom line benefits: higher employee retention, lower absenteeism, a safer workplace and lower overall costs.

SenseAbility received start-up funding from the Government of Canada and will be sustained through corporate support. Founding companies include Deloitte LLP, Tim Hortons, Royal Bank of Canada, Loblaw Companies Limited, Sodexo Canada and Assumption Life. All leaders in the hiring, retention and advancement of employees with disabilities, these organizations have generously provided both resources and financial support.

Canadian Business SenseAbility’s Board of Directors includes Kathy Martin, Chair; Kenneth Fredeen General Counsel, Deloitte LLP and Chair of the Government of Canada’s 2012 Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; Mark Wafer, a Tim Hortons franchisee whose workforce is 17 per cent people with disabilities; Vanessa White, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Sodexo Canada; Per Scott, Vice President, Human Resources at Royal Bank of Canada; Alison Burgess, Vice President, Process Design & Build, Loblaw Companies Limited, Charles Gervais, General Counsel of Assumption Life and Joan Turner, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Business SenseAbility.

Companies wishing to learn more about the resources offered by Canadian Business SenseAbility are invited to contact SenseAbility’s CEO, Joan Turner, at More information and an application form for joining the SenseAbility Network is available at

SOURCE Canadian Business SenseAbility

Image with caption: “Canadian Business SenseAbility (CNW Group/Canadian Business SenseAbility)”. Image available at:

For further information: Carol Panasiuk, The Communications Department on behalf of Canadian Business SenseAbility, 647-969-6778; Joan Turner, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Business SenseAbility,, 647-727-4465

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