Wednesday, October 23 - Opening Plenary
Hitting the Targets, BUT Missing the Point? Getting Ready for the New Order - Sarah Delicate, BBMD Consulting
Many Employment Ontario budgets saw cuts of up to 20% for 2019/2020 — even some that were hitting targets! Clearly, just achieving target is no longer enough. As we move towards sophisticated “Data Validation” evaluation and the transformational SSM” model, ensuring that your organization is compliant to both the targets AND the intended program spirit becomes essential.
Moving beyond target compliance requires management to have a different mindset. What is required to become a highly competitive organization? How might you best start preparing for the “transformation”? Sarah Delicate will explore the tea leaves, consider what a future state might hold, and explore what is required to move from a compliant to a competitive organization – quickly.
Thursday, October 24 - Opening Plenary
Delivering Value to Your Customer – In A System That is Broken - Rich Donovan, CEO, The Return on Disability
How does a talent professional focus on delivering value to employers in disability markets when government systems are fundamentally broken? In this talk, Rich Donovan makes the case that despite decades-stale government process that does not produce results, talent professionals must re-invent their delivery constantly. He illustrates what has failed; why it failed; and how our talent professionals can evolve to improve their outcomes for employers while improving the lives of billions of people globally.
1A – How to use LinkedIn as a Job Development Tool
Kate Ovington, LinkedIn
Bob Vansickle, ODEN
Learn from a top expert at LinkedIn Canada, and an ODEN D&I Specialist, in this session full of practical tips you can start using while you’re at the conference! You’ll learn pointers on creating a stellar LinkedIn profile for expanding your network, get solid advice on building your own professional brand that gets results, and you will find out how using LinkedIn can turn potential connections into warm relationships that can result in hires. Kate Ovington from LinkedIn will be cofacilitating this session with ODEN D&I Specialist, Bob Vansickle.
1B – From Theory to Purposeful Practice – Driving a Culture of Service Quality
Sarah Delicate, BBMD Consulting
Achieving meaningful employment outcomes for clients requires more than just having performance metrics and meeting targets. You make decisions every day that affect the lives of the job seekers you deal with. A mindful organization focuses on good standards and are guided by good ethics and values. The client’s goals are the most important aspect of the work they do. Together, this creates a work environment with heart, purpose and honesty. This dynamic workshop will show you how the ODEN Quality Service model can help you assess your organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. By completing and acting on your Service Quality assessment, you’ll be better positioned to accomplish your mission; improve/demonstrate your results; meet your customers’ needs; become more competitive; and create sustainable progress within your organization.
1C – How to Create Sustainable Disability Employment Initiatives
Deb Russell, Deb Russell Inc.
Walgreens was the first large-scale, corporate driven disability inclusive employment effort. Starting in 2006 and continuing today, the program has iterated through discovering new needs and being proactive about expected evolution. However, no changes have altered the intention of “same job, same pay, same standards, same benefits, side-by-side.” This session outlines many of the lessons learned (and are still being learned) as the company created and continues to maintain the efforts toward inclusion goals. Not every idea was a good one, but many were tried!
2A – Accessibility in Technology – A joint session with OpenConcept and Microsoft
Shalini Nagrani, OpenConcept
Mike Gifford, OpenConcept
Ricardo Wagner, Microsoft Canada
In this session, you’ll learn about the OpenConcept story, and discover how it can be applied to your world. Making individual accommodations based on the person’s need is one of the challenges businesses can face when they hire qualified people who have a disability. The internet and technology hold many opportunities for bridging this information gap. OpenConcept is currently working with open-source technologies to create a more accessible digital experience by looking at the entire web. Collaboration can make all digital spaces truly accessible for everyone.
You will also learn from Microsoft how they, and other companies, are approaching inclusive design and accessibility to empower people in the workplace. Designing for inclusivity not only opens up products and services to more people; it also reflects how everyone grows and adapts to the world around them. Designing for people who have a disability results in designs that benefit everyone. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now capable of hearing, seeing and reasoning with increasing accuracy. Real-time, speech-to-text transcription; computer vision capabilities; and predictive text functionality are just a few examples of how AI is useful to people with disabilities today.
2B – Rotary at Work – Why a Partnership with Rotary is Good for Business
Mark Wafer, Magleen Inc.
Mark Chipman, Rotary 7070
Social service agencies typically don’t join Rotary Club in their areas. The reasons? Cost, and a misperception of who the membership is. This informative session will address those misperceptions. You’ll learn why taking out a corporate membership is mutually beneficial and a learning experience for both agencies and business leaders, and find out about the access to business that your agency can have with a Rotary membership while giving business leaders an insightful glimpse of the service sector.
2C – Create great Agency Partnerships
Deb Russell, Deb Russell Inc.
The key to every large-scale disability employment effort (and many small ones) is partnerships across multiple organizations. Different dynamics create challenges to the ideation, creation, development and management of these partnerships. Thoughtful design and commitment to transparency, communication and regular evaluation ensure all parties are still receiving the expected benefits from the exerted efforts. ODEN has published a helpful Partnership Guidebook that offers a great step-by-step toolbox. This session explores the additional facets of using partnerships to ensure business’s needs are being met. Discussion of real concerns with audience members is a key part of this session.
Thursday Lunch - MentorAbility Information Session
Lisa Livingston, March of Dimes Canada
Amy Widdows - ODEN
The MentorAbility Canada Project is a national, federally funded initiative that promotes the employment of people who have a disability in all communities. The MentorAbility program is part of the MentorAbility Canada Project. In this working-lunch session, you’ll learn all about MentorAbility — how the program works; how it benefits organizations, job-seekers (protégés) and businesses that participate; the roles and responsibilities of businesses that participate; success stories from the program; and who you can contact to learn more about or get involved in the MentorAbility program.
3A – Innovation Showcase “Pitch”
Each year ODEN celebrates those organizations that present ideas or processes that have a positive impact on assisting people who have a disability gain employment. The top Innovations will present their innovation to a judging panel and to you, the audience in hopes of being “Innovator of the Year.” Come see and hear what innovations are being used across the province.
3B – Business Panel: Perspective on Inclusive Hiring & Employment from the Private Sector
The 2019 business panel at the Rethinking Disability Conference is bound to motivate and inspire you, and provide insight into the business world’s approach to diversity and inclusion. This 75-minute panel features a cross-section of four leaders from the federal government, retail, manufacturing and non-profit sectors. They will share their overall experiences with inclusive hiring. In this moderated discussion, leaders will talk about not only their successes and how diversity and inclusion has positively changed their organizations, but also about the challenges they worked through to achieve those successes. This session is part of ODEN’s NDEAM campaign and will be livestreamed across the country.
3C – Youth Strategies that Work: Three Program Models that Deliver Results
Jodi Delage – NTEC
Ron Felsen, TDSB
CJ Curran, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
JobPath/SET - Youth unemployment and underemployment can be reduced with innovative, sustainable programming. In this session, you’ll hear about strategies for empowering youth with skills and opportunities that will set them up for success. Program models that deliver results are designed to complement work already being done through initiatives implemented in educational programs. They identify barriers and challenges faced by youth entering the workforce in our communities. You’ll find out how youth can benefit from experiences, connections and mentorships that make employers part of the solution. You’ll learn why and how employment programs and agency services have a significant impact for youth striving to reach their employment goals.
Project SEARCH – In this session you will learn about this transition-to-work, 10-month employment preparation program for high school students who have an intellectual disability. Licensed by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to over 600 places world wide, Project SEARCH is powered by successful partnerships between schools, service agencies and business. About 75% of graduates get good jobs within a year of completing the program. Project SEARCH Toronto launched in September 2019. This session will highlight best practices and share insights about funding and partnership development. Project SEARCH spreads to new communities when one interested organization approaches potential local partners.
CSBT Information Session
Platinum sponsor CSBT will provide an information session to anyone interested in learning more about the company and the services they offer to non-profit organizations.
GALA DINNER – Sponsored by Sobeys Sensory Shopping Evenings:,
Innovation of the Year Award
Business Champion Inductees
Evening Entertainment: ODEN’s Got Talent
4A – Assistive Technologies Utilized in Employment
Amanda Mastronardi, eVantage Group
Derek Roy, CL Essex County
Jan Van Der Hoop, Jobtimize
Elisabeth Meyer, Career Services Brockville
eVantage - There’s a key long-term benefit of introducing comprehensive information technology (IT) solutions in your organization. IT empowers people who have an intellectual disability to use everyday technology, ensuring they remain competitive in the job market. E-communication, e-transfer, electronics, e-commerce are the norm today. Businesses do business with technology. People who have an intellectual disability must learn how to optimize technology for enhancing job performance and increasing employment outcomes. Technology use promotes inclusive work environments and can help people work, and business operate, more efficiently. This interactive eVantage session explores mainstream apps and software that help achieve success in the workplace and inspire possibilities.
Jobtimize – Most organizations are just starting to come to terms with this fact: The tools and processes long relied upon for screening and selecting candidates, are broken. They reinforce and perpetuate barriers faced by work-ready-but-not-mainstream segments of the population. In this session, you’ll learn to measure what matters most. You’ll leave with an understanding of how behavioural job-matching science and predictive analytics help match the right person with the right training or employment opportunity; lead to better outcomes; and level the playing field for people who typically face barriers to job-market entry.
4B – Person-Directed Employment Planning
Julie Malette, Helen Sanderson & Associates
Currently, few people who have a learning disability use their personal or individual budget to buy employment support. There may be many reasons for this. One is, employment is rarely considered part of support planning. The emphasis is often on residential support and social lives. Another, the misconception that personal budgets can’t be used for employment support. This session focuses on the connection between person-directed planning and employment planning as well as providing participants with helpful employment discovery and planning tools.
4C – New & Critical Skills Competencies for Employment Practitioners
Evelyn Akselrod, Career Foundation
Nicole Tieze, Career Foundation
The future of work demands innovative approaches to workforce development. Automation, the talent crisis, emerging industries and the gig economy have changed career trajectories for this and future generations. How we serve jobseekers must also keep pace with these labour market changes. This session will look at innovative strategies to create career opportunities for clients and build strong and long-term industry partnerships.
5A – Learning Session: Mental Health Disorders
John Fernandes, CAMH
Connie Ellis, CAMH
Eddie Aguiar, CAMH
Providing appropriate and meaningful support to individuals who have mental health and/or addictions issues in the workplace is vital for healthy organizational outcomes. Join staff from the People and Experience Team at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to learn how their organization supports employees experiencing mental health and/or addiction challenges. This interactive session includes discussions and practical suggestions around mental wellness and psychological safety in efforts to build organizational resilience.
5B – Learning Session: Sensory Disabilities
Connie Russell, Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf
Daryn Kilfoyle, Bob Rumball Canadian Centre of Excellence for the Deaf
In this session, you will learn about the unique services and supports to hire Deaf people and the development of a Deaf inclusive workplace. Using the partnership between ODEN, Rockwool and Bob Rumball Canadian Center of Excellence for the Deaf you will see the importance and impact of wholistic supports – the need for communication, a sense of connectivity, participation and empowerment. Additionally, unique components and challenges of developing social and cultural inclusion are outlined and explored in context.
5C – Learning Session: Physical Disabilities
Jenny Gilker, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
Marianne Kozinets, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
In this session, participants will receive an overview of common physical and mobility disabilities that are seen as barriers to employment. The presenters will also outline key tools and services provided to job seekers during the employment process — from job-search activities, to job-coaching tips and job retention.
Friday Lunch – LinkedIn's Data on the Present (and short-term Future) of Work
Jake Hirsch-Allen, LinkedIn Learning
In this-lunch session, Jake Hirsch-Allen reviews LinkedIn's latest Economic Graph data, or labour market information, on the state of Toronto’s and Ontario’s economies. You’ll also learn about how LinkedIn’s commercial and pro-bono solutions are supporting workforce-development efforts across North America.
Friday, October 25 - Closing Plenary
From Theory to Practice: A Multi-Agency Approach to Hiring
Jean-Marc Valmont, Canadian National Exhibition
Olivia Barreyre, Canadian National Exhibition
Jean-marc Valmont, Human Resource Manager for Canada’s largest community event and one of the top agricultural fairs in North America, and Olivia Barreyre, CNE Human Resources Generalist, will share their perspective on cultivating an inclusive workplace. With experiences that range both professionally and personally, together they understand the importance of creating change in our communities and welcoming people of all abilities as contributors. In this plenary session you will find out what the CNE team has learned on this journey; how it has successfully worked with a large number of employment service providers; and how that collaboration has impacted the success of the hiring initiatives at the CNE. In addition to this, they will speak about how their success in these ventures has led to the CNE’s culture being transformed by embracing and celebrating inclusion of people who have a disability.