Accessibility works Webinar: Interviews with Business Owners Championing Ac...

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Webinar Date: Friday, February 19, at 10 a.m.
Webinar Title: Interviews with Business Owners Championing Accessibility and Employing Persons with Disabilities
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This webinar session is focused on the AODA Employment Standard as it relates to championing accessibility and employing persons with disabilities. Webinar participants will get first hand accounts from a panel of 3 guests who champion accessibility in their business and employ people with disabilities. Topics will include the business benefits of full inclusion, dispelling fears and myths about hiring people with disabilities and the practical “how to’s” of where/how to source talent, disability confidence, and the benefits/experience from the panel’s perspectives.


Louie Di Palma, Director, SME Programs, Ontario Chamber of Commerce

As the Director of SME Programs, Louie is responsible for developing and implementing initiatives of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce that are designed to strengthen the business climate of Ontario and support our members by providing them with access to resources. During his career with the Government of Ontario, Louie held a number of senior management positions in policy, planning and direct operations with several Ministries including the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services, the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation and the Ministry of Health Promotion.

Panel Guests:

Jamie Burton
Vice President, Corporate Development
Dolphin Digital Technologies Inc.

Dolphin Digital Technologies Inc. is a professional ICT consulting firm. As Co-Founder & Vice President of Dolphin, Jamie has recognized an opportunity to develop a unique business infrastructure; and to design, develop and implement a barrier free employment strategy for people with disabilities. Working with innovative technology, Dolphin has created a Virtual Office workspace and remote IT support service that allows for barrier free employment. In order to qualify the skills of any job candidate, Jamie worked to develop VITAS, Virtual Technical Assessment Service; a virtual lab work space. The hiring process at Dolphin can facilitate both verbal and non-verbal interviews, and uses adaptive software or hardware as required; allowing for every individual to have opportunity to present their skills for consideration. Dolphin has won the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters BTA Innovation of the Year Award 2011 and the Microsoft Community Leadership Partner of the Year IMPACT Award 2011.

Jamie has been awarded the BMO Celebrating Women- Innovation & Global Growth Award 2015, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Lt. Gov. Community Volunteer Award, & 2013 Rogers Women of the Year-Entrepreneur.

Jamie has used this recognition to garner focus towards change and to advocate for inclusive hiring strategies. She continues to strive to lead by example and demonstrate to other businesses that this business model is not about being nice, it’s about good business. It is with this focus that she also founded Dolphin Disabilities Mentoring Day in 2011. Oct. 28, 2015 was the fifth annual Dolphin Disabilities Mentoring Day, which has grown by 963%. The event now has an International presence and is helping businesses recognize the potential of undiscovered talent. “Take the opportunity to explore the potential of someone’s abilities”.

Mark Wafer

Mark Wafer is the owner of six Tim Hortons restaurants in Toronto. Over the past 20 years Mark and his wife Valarie have hired 120 people with disabilities to fill meaningful and competitively-paid positions in all areas of the operations, from entry-level to logistics, production, and management. They currently employ 46 people with disabilities in a workforce of 250.
Mark believes there is a clear business case for inclusive employment.
Mark is a member of the federal government’s Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; co-founder of Canadian Business SenseAbility, Canada’s national corporate strategy for hiring people with disabilities; a member of Ontario's Economic Development Partnership Council; and an inaugural member of Ontario's Champions League. He was recently inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame.
Mark is also a motorsports enthusiast, race car driver and amateur sports car champion.

Susan Picarello
Director, Assistive Devices Program
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

During her over 23 years with the Ontario Public Service, Susan has held various key senior level positions in legislative, policy and program development and operations.

She is currently the Director of the Assistive Devices Program a position she assumed in September 2010. From 2012 to 2014 Susan was also concurrently Director of the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office.
Prior to joining ADP, Susan was the Director of Strategic Policy and Planning at the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.
Previously as a senior manager at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, she led the development of various key initiatives including Long-Term Care Homes, Organ donation strategy and the creation of Ontario’s Public Health Agency.
Susan has worked extensively on human rights and disability issues and led consultations for the development of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act (ODA) which was the predecessor to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
Susan received her bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Toronto.

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