Creating Accessible and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces

Every Canadian is affected by a lack of access. Consider that 50% of Canadian adults have or have experienced a permanent or temporary disability or know someone who has.

Though great strides have been made to make community spaces and workplaces more accessible and inclusive, Canadians with disabilities still face social and physical barriers preventing them from living fully.

“As a national health solutions partner, Medavie is committed to removing those barriers and ensuring equal opportunities for everyone we employ and serve. Our goal is to meet the needs of those that have disabilities and support them in ways that respect their dignity, privacy, comfort, and autonomy.”
Jennifer Taylor, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Medavie

From May 28 to June 3, Medavie is marking National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) to highlight the work that is being done to build a better, more accessible, and more disability-confident Canada.

“Disability is the only minority group that anyone can become part of at any point in their life. Elevators, soundproof headphones, the ability to enlarge fonts, and wearing a mask are all examples of things that can help make workplaces more accessible to disabled employees, but they are not exclusive to only disabled employees. An accessible workplace gives everyone the equal opportunity to thrive.”
Ashley Gaudet, Audit Investigator, Medavie Blue Cross and member Medavie’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council

Our organization strives to prevent and remove barriers so that employees have equal access to their work environment and can carry out their duties without obstacles.

Inclusive initiatives

  • This includes being responsive to our employees’ individual needs through flexible work arrangements and accommodations, such as modifications to their workstations.
  • We follow government legislation to ensure our digital and print materials are accessible and offer closed captioning on our webinars.
  • We also have legislation-compliant workplace policies and programs, an ethics hotline and a code of conduct that supports inclusivity.

We recognize that all steps, big and small, move us forward on the path to greater diversity and inclusion.

Individuals can use their voice to advocate for improvements needed to support persons with disabilities – improvements like ramps, accessible tables and furniture, accessible bathrooms, etc. Individuals can elevate the importance of these initiatives by demonstrating their support.”
Maureen Premdas, Vice President, Growth and Distribution Management, Blue Cross Life

Inclusive partnerships

Through the Medavie Foundation, Medavie partners with community-based organizations to increase opportunities for people of all abilities to access community wellbeing initiatives.

  • For example, we partner with Easter Seals Nova Scotia to offer more opportunities for youth of all abilities to participate in adaptive sport in their communities.
  • We also have a partnership with Hutton House Association for Adults with Disabilities to support persons with disabilities through learning and life enhancing programs focussed on building an inclusive community food system in London, Ontario.
  • Our work with Ability New Brunswick supports access to physical activity recreation free of charge, through a provincial equipment loaning initiative.
“When it comes to DEI, we link it to excellence. We see it as a tool for recruitment and retention of talent. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.”
Bernard Lord, Medavie CEO, Benefits Together conference

To lead off our NAAW celebration at Medavie, we hosted a special all-employee webinar on “Allyship and how to make our Workplace More Inclusive and Accessible” with special guest speaker Tova Sherman, CEO and co-founder of ReachAbility.

ReachAbility is a national, not-for-profit agency providing support, self-development, and education for and about people with disabilities.

“When people feel like they belong, they are more productive, motivated and engaged, as well as three-and-a-half times more likely to contribute to their full, innovative potential.”
Tova Sherman, CEO ReachAbility

To help employees learn more about the work that is being done to promote a more inclusive, accessible society and how they can support these efforts both at work and home, we compiled the following resources to share on our DEI Resources Centre.

We are also developing a leadership toolkit so that leaders and their teams can be allies to their colleagues who have disabilities as champions of disability inclusion at Medavie and in their communities.

Inclusive resources

Medavie Foundation

Rick Hansen Foundation

SPARKS OF INSPIRATION - A Community Living Board – Fundy Region (NB) film

INCLUDING Me – Ben’s Story- A Community Living Board – Fundy Region (NB) film

Our Mission is to Improve the Wellbeing of Canadians.

Medavie is a health company that oversees Medavie Blue Cross and Medavie Health Services. Together, we’re bringing Canadians better health and access to care.