Committing to AccessAbility in the workplace

This year, the fourth annual National AccessAbility Week takes place from May 30 to June 5, 2021. It is an opportunity to celebrate the valuable contributions of Canadians with disabilities, and to recognize those workplaces that are removing barriers to accessibility.

Accessibility in Canada is about building a country where all people, regardless of disability, can fully participate and be included in society. There is much more to do, but as we move forward, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is committed to actively creating an accessible workplace for all current and future employees.

Highlighted below are a couple of the ways PSPC is ensuring the needs of persons with disabilities are taken into consideration, while working towards a more inclusive workplace.

AccessAbility in procurement

Accessibility in federal procurement is an obligation under the Treasury Board Contracting Policy. As the Government of Canada's central purchaser, PSPC is responsible for ensuring the goods and services the government buys are accessible to all Canadians.

To support the Contracting Policy, PSPC established the Accessible Procurement Resource Centre (APRC) in 2018. The Centre serves as a resource hub for purchasing accessible goods and services across federal government departments, and aims to prevent and remove potential barriers in federal procurement for businesses owned or operated by persons with disabilities.

In 2020, the APRC wanted to better understand the experiences that persons with disabilities had with federal procurement. Through an online consultation with 1,004 participants across Canada, as well as through 21 workshops, the APRC heard about the experiences of persons with disabilities in using and accessing the goods and services procured by the federal government. The information gathered through these consultations will help develop procurement tools and guidelines that ensure the federal government buys goods and services that meet the needs of everyone.

The APRC is committed to being inclusive by design and accessible by default. When a product or service is accessible, usable and convenient for everyone, it’s inclusive for all.

For more information on accessibility in procurement, contact the APRC at tpsgc.pacraaccessible-apaccessibleprc.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca or check out these videos:

GCworkplace AccessAbility

The Centre for GCworkplace Innovation recognized that every public servant was a key player in the workplace transformation. That’s why from the beginning, GCworkplace was designed to be accessible and inclusive for all employees.

GCworkplace supports the new way of working for a modern, confident and high-performing public service. Employees have the ability to choose where and how they work. Those who choose to work in the office can pick the workpoint that best suits their needs when it comes to things like lighting, privacy and comfort.

GCworkplace offers features such as sit-stand desks, ergonomic chairs and quiet workpoints available for everyone, bypassing the need for an accommodation request. There are also accessible meeting rooms and open collaborative areas.

In September 2020, to help understand the barriers persons with disabilities face in the workplace, the Centre for GCworkplace Innovation started the Consultation Series on Accessibility. In partnership with the Office of Accessibility in the Built Environment, they hosted consultations with more than 250 participants with various types of visible and invisible disabilities.

After reviewing the feedback, 7 reports were published on the GCworkplace GCcollab page. One more report will be released in early June and a global report will be concluding the series after that.

Each report contains a section that outlines participants’ experiences in the workplace. The results show the barriers they faced go beyond the design of the workplace, so to make sure the feedback is actioned, a table that shows the barriers, their status and the responsible group, is included in each report. This information will help the workplaces become as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Work has already started on communicating the results, including those that can be incorporated into GCworkplace design and tools. The information will also be provided to other responsible groups and the Centre for GCworkplace Innovation will report on actions taken.

For more information on accessibility at PSPC, please contact the Accessibility Office at tpsgc.bureaudelaccessibilite-accessibilityoffice.pwgsc@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.

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