A man stacking pizza boxes behind a counter. Colourful text on a white bubble reads: Community leaders for inclusive employment. Employer engagement breakfast and forum.


On February 15th, Inclusion BC’s Employer Outreach Project, and Community Living Victoria organized a gathering aimed at promoting inclusive employment practices across British Columbia. Employers from a variety of sectors came together to participate in a forum characterized by shared insights, learning from experience, and networking opportunities. As the smells of breakfast by Open Water Catering wafted through the venue, a sense of anticipation filled the air. With employers, service providers, and job seekers all present, everyone was committed to learning and talking about inclusive employment.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Community Living Victoria’s Employment Program Coordinator Caileigh Swann, Executive Director Mike Jensen, and retired Employment Program Director Linette Baker followed by stories from people with disabilities who had been supported by Community Living Victoria in securing and sustaining employment. Their stories really connected with and inspired attendees; getting them excited to explore the possibilities of inclusive hiring.

Historically, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have been not only held back from employment by systemic barriers, but also by what people think they can do. This only serves to increase their exclusion and marginalization. Yet, beneath the assumptions and misconceptions lies a wealth of untapped potential waiting to be harnessed. British Columbia, like many regions, is struggling with recruitment and retention challenges, due to the labor shortages. However, with the right guidance and support, people with disabilities can emerge as invaluable contributors to businesses, enriching workplaces with their diverse perspectives and talents.

A graphic recording of the conversations at the employer forum in Victoria. There are illustrations of people linked by key ideas discussed.


At the event, employers openly shared what successes and barriers they encountered when embracing inclusive hiring practices. From this we saw three recurring themes: the fear of reducing standards, concerns about the financial cost of accommodations, and the perceived time-intensive nature of training.

Addressing these concerns requires a multi-faceted approach that combines education, advocacy, and practical support. By fostering dialogue, challenging misconceptions, and providing tangible resources, stakeholders can collaboratively navigate the perceived challenges associated with inclusive hiring. Moreover, celebrating success stories and showcasing the tangible benefits of inclusivity can inspire other businesses to follow suit, fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion across industries and sectors.

The conversations started at this gathering were marked by their richness, honesty, and occasional discomfort—a testament to their profound value in explaining the evolving needs and perspectives of businesses. As we forge ahead, committed to fostering dialogue and action across diverse regions of British Columbia, we invite stakeholders to join us in our mission to cultivate inclusive workplaces that honor the inherent dignity and worth of every person.


For updates on upcoming events and resources on inclusive hiring initiatives, visit our Inclusive Hiring webpage here Together, let us champion the cause of inclusive employment, opening the way for a future where diversity is not just celebrated but embraced as a basic standard for employment practices.

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