If there were an untapped multi-billion-dollar market, would you want to know about it? Would you want to know if you were inadvertently blocking those consumers from doing business with you? And would you try to get ahead of your competitors by courting them?
That market is Canadians living with disabilities. It’s no niche market: one in five Canadians has a disability. And they represent purchasing power worth a whopping $55 billion annually.
Now, factor in the following:
In addition to the power of people with disabilities themselves, there’s yet another benefit to adopting better accessibility and inclusivity: other consumers.
While these other consumers may not have a disability themselves, many have friends and family members who do. Combined with the purchasing power of people with a disability, this group represents a massive $366 billion market.
And it extends further as well—78 per cent of Canadians are more likely to buy from a business with a policy of hiring people with a disability over a company that doesn’t. All of these statistics illustrate the business case for inclusivity.
Recently, local firm Lett Architects had the opportunity to talk with Accessibility Ontario about their experience hiring Amanda Motyer who has a hearing disability.
Bill Lett explains that when they make a hire, they want a professional who can look after all aspects of the job, from start to finish. “We don’t tend to pigeon hole employees into roles. They need to have that ability to not only work on their own, but also engage with the client, engage with stakeholders, and engage with contractors.” Motyer is no exception to this.
So what can your business do to become more inclusive and accessible? A good starting point is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
The AODA aims to identify, remove and prevent barriers for Ontarians with disabilities, with a goal of making Ontario fully accessible by 2025. The Standards under the Act contain the rules businesses and organizations must follow to identify, prevent and remove barriers for people with disabilities. The legislation also spells out reporting requirements that all companies with 20 or more staff must file a compliance report by December 31, 2017. The report can be accessed at: www.ontario.ca/accessibility.
Also checkout the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Enabling Change webinars at www.occ.ca/programs/accessibility-works/enabling-change-workshops