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Creating Disability-Inclusive Workplaces and Communities

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To mark National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) from May 26 to June 1, 2024, we are spotlighting the efforts of Medavie employees who are helping to remove barriers and create more accessible and disability-inclusive workplaces and communities. A 2022 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD) showed that 8 million Canadians aged 15 years and over, or 27% of Canada’s population, have one or more disabilities that limit them in their daily activities.

“As a member of Medavie’s Employee Resource Group, Diverse Abilities, Caregivers and Allies, my hope is to share my own experiences and lend my voice to help others with diverse abilities, or caregivers to loved ones. With either, it’s easy to feel alone, isolated, misunderstood, overwhelmed or simply lost.” 

- Richard Howie, Account Associate, Medavie Blue Cross, St. John’s, NL

Richard Howie is neurodiverse, having been diagnosed with two types of neurodivergence as an adult. An Account Associate with Medavie Blue Cross, he’s also been a caregiver to multiple family members, giving him a unique perspective that he hopes will make a difference in the lives of others.

Richard lives in St John’s, NL and is a member of Medavie’s Diverse Abilities, Caregivers and Allies Employee Resource Groups (ERG), along with ERG lead Kristy Cole, a Business Analyst with Medavie Blue Cross, and resident of Riverview, NB.


“As a person with bipolar disorder, I have faced adversity in my career. There is a lack of understanding about the condition, with people not seeing it as a disability to be accommodated, but rather that the person is ‘crazy and unstable’ and therefore not capable of achieving objectives or being reliable. Unfortunately, when you are treated this way, it sets back not only the growth of your career but your own progress in dealing with the condition. Medavie has been the first employer to support my needs, but we can always do better.”

- Kristy Cole, Business Analyst, Medavie Blue Cross, Riverview, NB.

ERGs are employee-led, self-directed voluntary groups that draw from Medavie’s diverse teams of professionals.


Our ERG aims to raise awareness of workplace issues that affect people with disabilities of all types and their caregivers and increase awareness of workplace benefits, accessibility and accommodation solutions. We want to create a safe and empathetic space for discussion. We want leaders to be equipped to support their direct reports and employees to feel comfortable disclosing their disabilities and caregiving responsibilities in order to receive the accommodations they need and are entitled to.

- Kristy Cole -

To date, a total of three ERGs* have been formed in harmony with Medavie’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) commitment to value everyone the organization employs and serves for who they are and what they contribute.

“People of all abilities are important and valued no matter where they are in their journey with Medavie and in life.”

- Richard Howie

Richard describes the support he received in his journey as “not only life-changing, but life-saving.”

Medavie is guided by the four principles of accessibility POUR (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, Robust) in undertaking initiatives that prevent and remove barriers. The goal is to ensure employees have equal access to their work environment and can carry out their duties without obstacles.

This includes:

  • Being responsive to employees’ individual needs through various accommodations, such as workstation modifications and flexible work arrangements
  • Following government legislation to ensure digital and print materials are accessible and offering closed captioning on employee webinars
  • Having legislation-adherent workplace policies and programs and an employee committee dedicated to compliance, as well as an ethics hotline and a code of conduct that supports disability inclusion
  • Developing a leadership toolkit so that leaders and their teams can be allies to their colleagues who have disabilities

*Medavie also has Women in the Workplace and Rainbow Network and Allies ERGs.

Learn more about our DEI commitment and our work towards making Medavie workplaces disability inclusive.

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