Introducing the Accessible Customer Service standard: a part of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act
Written by: CPHR Manitoba
When you read the term “barrier”, what comes to mind?
[Take a moment to close your eyes and think about what a barrier means to you]
How about “types of barriers” – including negative, presumable or judgmental attitudes; lack of communication; physical challenges; technological issues; or systematic failures?
[Take another moment to think while observing your surroundings]
Barriers are all around us and affect all of us. Some individuals may be stronger communicators but may not understand certain advances in technology; others may be physically able to walk into a room but are held back by a negative attitude, filled with presumptions and judgements, that prevents them from meeting others.
Now take a moment to think, “what if I had a disability” – could you overcome those barriers the same way you would normally approach them? It depends – are you visually-impaired, suffer from a mental health condition, or physically disabled? There are many factors at play here, in this thought-process alone, and unfortunately over 200,000 Manitobans are living with some form of a disability and facing different types of barriers every single day.
The fact is: we need to remove the barriers and create accessibility for all Manitobans.
The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) provides a clear and proactive process for the identification, prevention and removal of barriers with respect to five key pillars, customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation and the built environment.
The first standard to be implemented under AMA is the Accessible Customer Service standard. This standard is built on the requirements of the Human Rights Code and addresses business practices and training needed to provide better customer service for people with disabilities.
Fred Dugdale, Board Treasurer at the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities and Manitoba Brain Injury Association who suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury, says that the hardest barrier to overcome is attitude.
“When learning about the Accessibility for Manitobans Act and reviewing your current workplace environment, you have to be realistic and find a way where this works for everyone. People that can work, will work – you just need to find a middle ground where your measures, practices and requirements to identify, prevent and remove barriers are a win-win for everyone,” says Dugdale. “The investment you make to remove barriers will bring long-term benefits and cater to all colleagues and clients in your workplace.”
The deadlines for compliance is structured under a three-year period – Manitoba Government (November 2016), large public sector organizations (November 2017), and companies/organizations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors (November 2018).
To assist you in the review and development of your workplace policies and practices that will welcome and serve everyone, CPHR Manitoba and the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities have partnered to present the Accessibility for Manitobans Act – First of Five Standards: The Customer Service Standard workshop.
The workshop will cover an overview of the AMA legislation with a focus on the Customer Service Standard, review and compare the AMA with the Manitoba Human Rights Code, identify your organizational responsibilities and learn the key principles to offering accessible customer service in your workplace.
The Accessibility for Manitobans Act – First of Five Standards: The Customer Service Standard workshop takes place on Tuesday, November 13, from 8:30 a.m. – noon at the Viscount Gort Hotel in Winnipeg. Registration fees are $150/CPHR Manitoba members and $200/non-members. To register, visit cphrmb.ca. Registration deadline is November 8.
Have you been in business for a few years and are looking to expand your business? Do you want practical advice to reach the next level in your journey? Are you looking for an opportunity to strengthen your knowledge, acquire new tools, and expand your network? Then we have a great event for you!
The WCC has collaborated with BDC to bring their WE Talk Business Boot Camp to Winnipeg on November 6, 2018 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
These free events, led by BDC, run across Canada with a simple purpose: to bring together women entrepreneurs (WE) who want to talk about business and grow their business.
This one-day intensive program, created by women entrepreneurs, for women entrepreneurs, offers practical advice on leadership, money, sales, marketing, and human resources - all with a focus on growth.
The Boot Camps are also hosted by two extraordinary professionals who are passionate about helping women entrepreneurs advance - Janice McDonald (@janicemcd), an award-winning entrepreneur also President of the Beacon Agency and Clare Beckton (@ownit_clare), Executive in residence at the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work at Carleton University.
BDC is bringing together key players such as the Chartered Professional Accountants and Export Development Canada to help facilitate the day’s content. And, BDC is working closely with regional organizations like WCC, to plan the day so that women entrepreneurs can focus on issues and opportunities that are relevant to them.
As Canada’s only bank dedicated to entrepreneurs, BDC has made it their mission to support the growth and success of female entrepreneurs. Statistics tell us that only 16% of small and medium-sized businesses are majority women-owned. BDC wants to change that and has already started through some of the following initiatives:
Do not wait! The event is free, and seats are limited. Please share this event with any women in your network that you think would benefit or register today if you are ready to take your business to the next stage.
BDC’s WE Talk Business Boot Camp
Date: November 6, 2018
Time: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Location: Winnipeg Art Gallery
300 Memorial Boulevard
Attendees must register HERE by October 26th.
On October 17, Canada will become the first G7 country to fully legalize recreational cannabis. Is your business ready?
Here are 5 impacts that the legalization of cannabis will have on the workplace:
1. Safety concerns
Despite cannabis legalization, adult cannabis use is not new. However, employers are concerned that with legalization a subsequent increased use will impact the workplace. Safety concerns include employees operating motor vehicles and employees using heavy machinery while under the influence of cannabis.
2. Alcohol, drug policies and testing
Cannabis is already the most commonly encountered substance in workplace drug testing, but with legalization, its use is expected to grow. Employers have the right to regulate cannabis use at work, and employees have the right to a safe workplace. It’s important to communicate any changes made to alcohol and drug policies, and focus on treatment and recovery during disciplinary actions.
3. Drug use or dependence
Due to legalization, experts expect a rise in recreational cannabis use. Effects of cannabis on individuals vary widely depending on numerous factors, so it’s important to educate employees on its effects and any new workplace policies.
4. Medicinal cannabis use
Because many people use cannabis for medical reasons, it’s important to clearly outline your workplace policies on cannabis while being cognisant of those who require cannabis to treat or relieve the symptoms of a disability. As an employer, you need to accommodate your employees’ needs and that may include the use of medicinal cannabis.
5. Problematic drug use or dependence
Just because cannabis is being legalized, it does not mean it’s a license for poor behaviour. Cannabis use can become problematic for many reasons, such as when workplace performance and attendance decreases. Employers should prepare for a potential rise in problematic cannabis use and dependence in the workplace.
Manitoba Race to Reduce has announced their 2018 award categories. The awards, held in April each year, have been expanded this year to recognize even more participant accomplishments. New for 2018, there will an application process for two of the categories.
Action and Innovation Award
The Action and Innovation Award recognizes participants who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to saving energy through their actions and/or innovations. Innovation examples include new ideas, methods, behaviors, plans, projects and collaborations.
Building Commitment Award
The Building Commitment Award recognizes landlords, tenants and employees who have pledged to reduce energy use in their offices and throughout their participating building. This fun and interactive application is designed for tenants and landlords to submit together.
Building Performance Awards
Building Performance Awards recognize energy efficiency accomplishments and are based on the energy consumption data taken from participants’ ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account. There is no application required to be eligible for the following 2018 Building Performance Awards.
Manitoba Race to Reduce is a unique energy reduction challenge that encourages collaboration between commercial office building landlords tenants and employees to improve energy efficiency in their buildings reducing greenhouse gas emissions and costs.
1. What’s your favourite social media channel and why?
Kyle (Vantage Studios Inc.): It changes in every scenario. In my personal life, until something else emerges and displaces it, I like the curated visual feed of Instagram. It’s filled with friends, family, colleagues and my art/design interests in both still image and video. I like that it gives me the sense of maintaining connections with people who are a part of my life. In marketing of businesses it changes based on industry regulations, customer segments, value proposition and type of customer relationship. Some channels are better than others to grow and target key audience segments, but relevance and engagement are more important in most cases.
Susie (SPARKER Strategy Group): It really depends what your goals are. Each channel has unique benefits depending on the company goals. However, for business that is looking to invest in one channel my recommendation would be for Instagram. There are tremendous opportunities for images and video to sell, as well as advertising. The e-commerce growth for brands on Instagram will only grow.
Adam (Dooley PR): I like different channels for different reasons. They each have unique value propositions and uses. My personal favourite as a user would be Instagram (though I tend to lurk more than I post). It tends to be mostly positive and let's individuals and brands express themselves in highly creative ways. The world doesn't need any more outrage and drama.
I've also grown fonder of LinkedIn over the past two years. For a long time, many people used LinkedIn as just an online resume, but it is doing a much better job of improving its relevancy to a daily business audience. We've won clients on LinkedIn and I use it regularly to build our business and my personal network.
2. Which company do you admire for their branding/marketing and why? #BrandGoals
3. What is the biggest marketing trend we’ll see in 2019?
Kyle: Adoption of existing popular technology to enhance customer acquisition and growth.
Integration of tech can optimize investments or make workflows more efficient, re-allocating effort and budgets to higher value activities, ultimately enabling a company to deliver higher value to their customers, extend their reach or enhance engagement. All of these moves can influence customer attraction, retention and referrals enhanced also by traditional word of mouth and online reviews.
Adam: Automation will continue to steamroll through our lives and the marketing and media world will be no different. In news media, we will see traditional regional news operations continue to shrink while a few massive, national and international players will expand across new geographies (ie. New York Times, Economist, Guardian, BBC). And more media organizations will turn to automated news gathering and writing systems to generate news. We'll also see continued proliferation of hyper-niche online publications focused on a single topic or audience. In marketing, I expect to continue to see local companies relying more and more on global advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google. Automated marketing systems will continue to get better and smarter, allowing even small businesses to target potential leads with greater accuracy. All of this will require small businesses to become even more tech savvy.
In the world of business and sales, nothing is more effective than one-on-one networking - which is why three times a year we host After Business Mixers, bringing together 40+ exhibitors and 250+ attendees.
As an exhibitor, you'll make new connections, promote your business and generate quality leads.
But before that, you need to get people to stop at your exhibitor booth.
To help you prepare for our first Mixer this season on Sept. 26 at Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, we've put together 7 tips to help you drive traffic to your booth:
1. Do something fun
Drive traffic to your booth with something fun and interactive. Who doesn’t enjoy a giant spinning wheel or even a simple beanbag toss? How about a hockey skill challenge or a fun quiz? Games and contests are a great way to break the ice with attendees and opens up a door to talk about your business and what you have to offer them.
2. Give away free stuff
People love free stuff. Host a draw for tickets to the next big sporting event, or give away a tablet. Also, don’t forget to invest in quality and practical company swag. Think about who is coming to the event. What is something that will be useful to them? Remember, your giveaways at a business mixer (e.g. a tote bag to carry promotional items) may be different from something you’d hand out to runners at a marathon (e.g. a water bottle to satisfy their thirst).
3. Know your key messages
It’s important to practice, memorize and master your key messages. You may only have a few minutes to draw in attendees who are making their way through each booth. You’ll be competing with a number of other businesses and it’s important to get your message across right away. You’ll need to tell them about your business and how you can make their life easier in just a few impactful sentences.
4. Promote your booth
Before the event even takes place, spread the word about your booth and the After Business Mixer. The bigger the crowd, the better! Draw your clients and network in by offering something exclusive to the tradeshow attendees, such as an exclusive discount. Don’t forget to mention the cool activities at your booth and prizes to be won! Send personal invitations to those you want to attend, or spread your reach by sharing our event poster on social media.
5. Get out there
Stock up on business cards. You’ll want a handful on you to not only enter the contests, but also to hand out to different Chamber members you’ll meet. It’s important to take the opportunity to get out there and introduce yourself to the other booths. When collecting business cards, take notes on their cards to remind yourself later about your conversations and how your businesses can work together.
6. Set goals
Just like any good strategy, you need clear and measurable objectives. Are you at the Mixer to find two new clients? Or are you looking for a mentor or perhaps a specific service provider? Before the event, review the exhibitors’ list and make note of who you want to talk to and prepare some questions for them.
Now for the most important tip – don’t forget to follow-up with your leads as soon as possible. Review the business cards you collected and reach out to them, especially while you’re still fresh in their memory. Send a friendly email and schedule a follow-up meeting to continue the conversation you started.
Our After Business Mixers are fun and social mini-trade shows where you can grow your business, collect new leads and build valuable business relationships. The event is free to attend. All exhibitors and guests are treated to delicious appetizers and drinks while they visit the 30+ interactive booths.
After Business Mixer
Wednesday, September 26
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT)
130 Henlow Bay
Exhibitor rate: $175 +GST
For additional questions, you can reach our Director of Events, Elizabeth Cron, at 204-944-3308 or by email email@example.com.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Brad Potter, Cloud Solution Executive at ISM Canada (an IBM company
The fastest growing SMBs have embraced the Cloud as a method to address four main IT Challenges:
1.High capital costs;
3.Scalability as the business grows, and;
4.Innovation as business matures.
Results are positive. Surveys indicate:
Organizations are finding Cloud computing provides immediate access to the tools needed to digitally transform their business and improve customer experience.
But many businesses are still reluctant to make the move to the Cloud despite these advantages. The reluctance to migrate is particularly evident in Western Canada, where we’ve seen cloud adoption be approximately 25 per cent less than the rest of Canada.
So, what’s holding you back?
Security is cited as the number one objection to Cloud for 49 per cent of organizations (IDC 2017). Should you be concerned? The security investments made by the major Cloud providers is significant and has created cloud platforms in which security breaches, due to vendor error are rare. In fact, the Cloud has proven to be more secure than most non-cloud environments.
A key detractor to cloud for customers in Western Canada is the worry that network connectivity will be insufficient to provide the type of response time and security that end users are accustomed to. With the major public Cloud providers located in Eastern Canada, it is understandable that network connectivity options should be well understood before proceeding. Several networking options exist to address the need for high bandwidth, security and connectivity to Cloud, including solutions based in Saskatchewan.
Service availability, including response time and user downtime, is a concern due to the perceived loss of control over the compute environment. To mitigate this concern, public Cloud vendors provide service levels for all their products with financial credits provided if they are not achieved. The robust engineering of the Cloud environment is such that high availability is consistently achieved. In a worst-case scenario, organizations can further protect critical applications by configuring them to automatically failover to alternate data centers should a Cloud data center go offline.
There is a general perception that services in the Cloud are more expensive than in the non-Cloud environment. This is often raised when the comparison between Cloud and non-Cloud platforms does not accurately reflect all the costs that make up the non-Cloud infrastructure.
With all the non-Cloud costs in the table above considered, there’s an almost 50 per cent reduction in support and maintenance costs when the Cloud is chosen. When doing a financial comparison or Cloud ROI, it’s also important to take into account the increased revenue that will take place as you drive your digital transformation results using Cloud services.
It can seem daunting when trying to decide how to get started. The best place to start often with consulting a trusted partner with experience in Cloud migrations. Cloud migration require skill and experience; often organizations who tackle this transition by themselves find it difficult and time consuming. If you want to know how to get started but aren’t sure where to begin, reach out and let’s grab a coffee. We can discuss your particular needs and help define a path forward to your organization to embrace all that the Cloud has to offer.
The Winnipeg Chamber: Businesses leaders don’t generally engage with their teams on cultural issues. Why is #MeToo different?
Shona Welsh: There are really two parts to your question. Let me start with the first part – the assertion business leaders don’t generally engage with their teams on cultural issues.
This has not been my experience. Of course there are always certain leaders who do not, but any leader who is serious about growing his/her business, engaging employees and building a work environment that attracts and retains top quality talent is serious about cultural issues.
Take the issue of diversity, for example. Certainly, 20 years ago this wasn’t on the radar in a big way for many of the leaders with whom I worked. But in 2018, it’s a huge issue and one leaders take seriously.
Which brings me to #MeToo. It’s not necessarily different than other cultural issues in terms of long term change. Anyone who’s a student of the women’s movement knows real change can often move at a glacial pace. I think two key things are at play in the #MeToo phenomenon: technology and momentum.
For technology, obviously social media has made the world much smaller and faster – we can know in an instant about an incident that happened in small town Manitoba while living in the heart of Toronto. Like so many other issues, sexual harassment and violence cannot withstand the glare of attention courtesy of technology. With regard to momentum, #MeToo stories appear to have reached a critical mass in the public consciousness partly due to the prominence of recently accused figures - Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, prominent political candidates and elected officials - and partly due to the fatigue of women in tolerating such behaviour. Whether motivated by profit or by the right thing to do, responsible businesses who want to stay in business ignore the #MeToo phenomenon at their peril.
WC: We’ve heard anecdotes from some members that a “chill” has descended on workplaces, with male leaders distancing themselves from female team members to avoid any appearance of impropriety. What’s your reaction?
SW: My reaction is I find this not only unfortunate but I regret it is an (I believe) unintended consequence of #MeToo. This is not the kind of workplace the vast majority of women I speak to want to have.
I am the mother of three sons and each of them has expressed this anxiety in one way or another, despite being respectful and professional young men. They worry they can have their careers destroyed by erroneous accusations. At the same time, I have two daughters who are also in the workplace and I don’t want them to experience the sexual harassment and assault I did. Women want to feel safe and respected at work.
The problem is that there are as many definitions of each of those terms as there are women in the workplace. The answer, I believe, lies in building respectful dialogue between men and women – we are all part of the answer. Isolating men from the issue is not a good strategy. I have spent most of my career working with almost exclusively male colleagues and the vast majority of them are professional, respectful and a pleasure to work with. Creating a workplace culture of blame and division will not get us anywhere on this issue.
WC: Do standards change depending on industry, sector, company size, etc.?
SW: Well I’m not sure what you mean by standards. If you’re speaking about legal standards, I’ll leave that up to the lawyers to answer. If you’re talking about standards of behaviour, then yes, in my experience things do vary from sector to sector and from small to large company. But reality is, there are no hard and fast answers regardless of industry sector or company size. That’s one of the key challenges of #MeToo or any confounding societal issue – black and white answers are not satisfying nor can they cover every eventuality.
As an example, I worked for many years at a large construction company. I can tell you for sure standards of behaviour varied wildly between that setting and when I worked for a provincial government department or post-secondary institution. Respectful and professional behaviour looks different depending on the setting. None of that means I felt less safe in the construction sector versus the public sector – it was just different.
Similarly, smaller companies can be more responsive to immediate issues due to size but they can also be less responsive due to the closer relationships among staff members. Larger companies can have more comprehensive policies in place and set an expectation of greater responsiveness but it can also be easier to obscure inappropriate behaviour in a large organization. As many of my HR colleagues will tell you, the very unsatisfying answer in all of this is often... “It depends.”
WC: What’s a story from your experience you like to share where an organization changed its culture?
SW: In the construction company I mentioned earlier, I was the first female they had ever hired as part of their executive team. This took some adjusting on both of our parts – them because they had to modify certain behaviours that had become common place in the work environment, and me because I had to be conscious of not taking offense or overreacting to instances of inappropriate behaviour. It was a learning process. We need to recognize that the human condition is such that even with the best of intentions, real change takes place over time – it’s not immediate. We can’t linger on every tiny offense when the overall direction is positive.
Two weeks after I started, I attended our international leadership summit where all the men (and me) met during the day and went on to dinner in the evening. Meanwhile, all of their wives (and my husband) had a separate dinner of their own. Apart from the fact my husband was the belle of the ball, when I good-naturedly ribbed the CEO about why we were having segregated dinners, he realized he didn’t have a good answer. So we weren’t segregated after that. It was a small start, but a start nonetheless, and over the next few years many significant changes took root – including the hiring of many more women at all levels of the company.
WC. Why don’t leaders take action on creating a safe, comfortable workplace on their own?
SW: It has not been my experience that leaders don’t take action on creating a safe, comfortable workplaces on their own. Of course there are always some who don’t. But I think it’s important to note a leader first needs to understand there is an issue before they can take action.
Let’s take for example a 2017 study of Canadian executives’ views on sexual harassment (95 per cent male). 94 per cent said it’s not an issue in their business. The third that did know of instances labeled them ‘infrequent’ and ‘rare’. They took a beating in the media for these perceptions, with many women accusing them of everything from obliviousness to willfully obstructing the truth.
I don’t think the explanation is as simple as those descriptors. We don’t have space to go into all the details here, but in describing to male colleagues over the years my experience with a workplace sexual predator, it became apparent to me they didn’t interpret the initial overtures of this predator in the same way me and my female colleagues did. The best analogy I can give is it was like the women had grown up developing ‘radar’ for such situations whereas the men did not. It was an ah-ha moment for me in realizing women and men often exist in two entirely different worlds in the workplace. And leaders – male and female – have a particular responsibility to bridge that gap in perception. Once they understand there is a gap then they truly take action on creating safe, comfortable workplaces. I think #MeToo has highlighted that gap in an urgent and concrete way.
On behalf of the Disabilities Issues Office
The Manitoba Government invites non-profit community organizations to submit project proposals to improve physical accessibility to Community Places Program (CPP) by May 28, 2018.
The Province of Manitoba will grant up to $50,000 in funding (must be matched with other sources) and planning assistance for facility or green space construction, upgrading, expansion or acquisition projects, including accessibility improvements. Projects should target sustainable recreation and wellness benefits to communities. The projects must be completed by March 31, 2019.
Community Places Program will be hosting an “Application / Project Planning Webinar” on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. for groups who are considering applying for assistance under CPP. This webinar will provide an overview of the program, eligibility criteria, Technical Services available and instruction on filling out the grant application.
Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have require assistance, please call Municipal Relations at 204-726-6352.
“We’re looking to create careers, not jobs.” – Minister Pedersen.
Recognizing the economy’s health is tied to the health of our communities, The Winnipeg Chamber has been an outspoken advocate for a comprehensive provincial strategy to support Manitoba business. We’re deeply pleased with the province’s recent work to build that plan (including a summit co-hosted with The Chamber for private business owners) as we look for action that leverages our strengths, addresses modern opportunities and shares prosperity with all Manitobans.
That dialogue and relationship with Minister Blaine Pedersen and the team at Growth, Enterprise and Trade continues. Today we hosted the Minister, Deputy Minister Dave Dyson and a number of our members for a wide ranging discussion, including
Online submissions to shape Manitoba economic strategy are open until May 18. You can share your insights, priorities and feedback here.