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OBAA Finalists: Ontario Leader in Accessible Employment Award

About the Ontario Leader in Accessible Employment Award

The Ontario Leader in Accessible Employment Award recognizes a business that has created an accessible work environment. This organization values the contributions of persons with disabilities and promotes the development of an inclusive workplace culture for all.

Finalist: Abilities Centre Durham

Industry: Community Services

About: The Abilities Centre is an internationally renowned, innovative community hub where people of all ages and abilities enrich their lives by engaging in social, health, and cultural programs. The Centre delivers sports, health and fitness, arts and culture, leading-edge research, education, and life skills programming in a welcoming, positive, and energetic environment. The Abilities Centre is focused on bringing together families, friends, and neighbours in a spirit of inclusion and opportunity.

What makes Abilities Centre Durham a leader in accessible employment practices? The Abilities Centre strives to make every step of their recruitment process as accessible as possible. By enlisting the use of technology for recruitment, the organization utilizes outreach programs that cater to those with accessibility needs. This ensures that even those who do not have access to computers or the ability to use them are aware of opportunities. The Abilities Centre accepts walk-in resumes as a valid application method and strives to continually ensure that applicants are being accommodated at every step of the way. Throughout our Centre, it is easy to see an integrated, inclusive workplace culture as our staff regularly interacts with members with accessibility needs as well as other staff members.

Finalist: YWCA Hamilton

Industry: Community Services

About: YWCA Hamilton strengthens women’s and girls’ voices, broadens their choices, builds dynamic leadership, and provides essential and meaningful services that promote safe, inclusive, and equitable communities. This mandate is achieved through a variety of programs, services and activities that support women, children, youth, seniors, and adults with developmental disabilities as well as their families.

What makes YWCA Hamilton a leader in accessible employment practices? In 2011, YWCA Hamilton embarked on a challenge to increase the cultural competency of staff and foster a more inclusive space for girls, women, and their families. This included developing Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression policies and mandatory training for all staff. The curriculum was developed and staff received training to deliver the curriculum to their peers. Operating from a human rights based model, YWCA Hamilton endeavoured to further enhance its training to include specialized training on trans-inclusion and improve its accessibility policies and plans. These investments in staff training and policy development have increased the overall workplace satisfaction of employees. A continued focus on accessibility and diversity is key to the organization’s future success.

“The success of the Abilities Centre is due to the efforts of a dedicated and passionate staff operating with a clarity of purpose – improving the quality of life for members of our community. Feedback from our members indicates clearly and consistently that we are meeting this goal.”

Leo Plue, Executive Director, Abilities Centre Durham 


“YWCA Hamilton has demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of girls, women and their families in our community. A continued focus on accessibility and diversity is key to our future success.”

Denise Christopherson, CEO, YWCA Hamilton 


For more information on Abilities Centre Durham go to:


For more information on YMCA Hamilton go to:


The 2017 OBAAs are taking place on Wednesday, November 29th at the Carlu.

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