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.
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.
Employee performance and engagement increases when employees feel safe and supported. I don’t mean safe as in comfortable, but rather that employees feel confident that their leader and team has their back and they know where they stand. Simon Sinek says it best in his TedTalk - when employees don’t feel safe, they spend all of their energy protecting themselves. They don’t take healthy risks, they do the bare minimum, they blame others when things go wrong, and they don’t share credit.
When employees feel safe within their team, they expend their energy in positive ways. They don’t have to worry about themselves and where they stand, which frees them to do what’s in the best interest of the organization and team. They look out for their co-workers and clients, they own up to their mistakes, and they share credit and recognition with others.
I often run into leaders who believe it is Human Resources’ job to make employees feel safe at work. HR has a role to play in ensuring organizational health and safety but ultimately personal and emotional safety and professional health comes from knowing your direct leader cares and has your back. It’s not enough to know that the nice HR team down the hall has your back. Approximately 84% of how people feel about their organization is driven by their relationship with their direct leader. HR’s role is to hold leaders accountable to lead and ensure that leaders have the support they need to do so effectively.
HR’s ROLE - For leaders to truly lead, HR must:
1. Hire stellar people leaders who understand their role and take the safety and engagement of employees seriously. You are responsible for hiring and developing leaders who understand that people leadership is their job – that leading people isn’t something they can push to the side of their desk for when they have time. They need to recognize it as their top priority.
2. Ensure that leaders have the leadership training and tools that allow them to lead effectively.
3. Ensure that leadership roles are structured in a way that allows leaders to focus on leading their team and that they are not entirely bogged down by day to day deliverables.
4. Coach leaders to handle the people and team issues themselves instead of HR solving these problems for them.
5. Hold leaders accountable when they aren’t leading.
LEADER’s ROLE - To make employees feel safe, Great Leaders must:
1. Be proactively transparent.
Share as much information with your team as you can. Don’t be afraid of over-communicating through times of change or stress. The more your team knows, the more they trust you and feel that you trust them.
2. Invest in one-on-one time with each member of your team.
Great teams are built by leading individuals. Be sure to check in with each member of your team regularly. Even if an employee doesn’t have much to share in one-on-ones initially, give them time to adjust and figure out how these sessions will work best for them. It may take a few meetings before they are comfortable being more open about the challenges they are having, sharing successes or letting you know what they need from you as a leader.
3. Say thank you.
A great way to make sure employees know where they stand is to give regular and positive feedback. When employees receive recognition, they feel valued and safe. They will realize that you, their leader, are paying attention to their good work (not just the problem areas!).
4. Ask questions and don’t make assumptions.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make as a leader is assuming someone isn’t motivated and that they didn’t meet an expectation because they don’t care. Check your assumptions at the door and be sure to start every conversation that involves addressing a mistake or performance issue with an open ended ‘what’ question. This approach shows that you are open to hearing the employee and that you haven’t made any assumptions about who they are and how motivated they are.
5. Be open and collaborative.
Employees feel safe when they feel like they are a part of something. Be sure to get feedback from your team on key initiatives and even on the small things when you can. Everyone likes being leveraged as an expert, so be sure to use the expertise of your team by asking the group or individuals for their thoughts and feedback along the way.
6. Have the tough conversations.
Creating a safe environment isn’t about avoiding conflict. In fact, when there is a performance issue, part of making an employee feel safe is dealing with it early and before it becomes a bigger issue. Making employees feel safe also means dealing with employee conduct or behaviours that are negatively impacting the safety of the rest of the team.
The idea of safety is not about being ‘soft’; it’s about intentionally communicating when things are going well and when they aren’t, so that employees know where they stand, what the expectation is, and how you are going to support them in getting where they need to be.
The bottom line: employees are more effective and have increased performance when they feel safe. A leader may get short term bursts of great work by using fear tactics, but those tactics don’t foster long term commitment or energy. Employees need to feel a sense of safety to have the freedom to try creative solutions, make mistakes, own up to their mistakes and be open and free with their recognition of others. This is how great leaders increase performance and engagement within their teams.
Check out Simon Sinek’s TedTalk here:
Written by: Jane Helbrecht, Partner, Acuity HR Solutions
On August 28th, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce was one of a select group of stakeholders invited to participate in a consultation with the federal Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare.
Established as part of Budget 2018, the Council has been tasked with providing advice to the government on how best to implement a national prescription drug coverage program.
While the Chamber was happy to represent Winnipeg’s business community in this important discussion, Chamber CEO Loren Remillard noted it’ a concern the government appears to have decided to proceed with an expensive national program without understanding what problem it’s trying to solve.
“If the issue is coverage for those who aren’t currently insured, then a national program should complement what the private sector is already doing,” Remillard said. “If this is about the expense of drugs, then let’s look at ways to reduce those costs for everyone.”
Currently, more than 25 million Canadians have access to prescription drug coverage through their group health benefit plans. Many employer-sponsored plans cover a wider range of medications than existing provincial plans and also offer innovations like case management programs for individuals with chronic conditions.
“What has worked best in this country is an approach that embraces the best of the private, public and non-profit sectors,” said Remillard. “With Pharmacare, we urge the government to proceed with caution, and to recognize the role the private sector plays in providing health care, and the significant number of Canadians who are employed in the health benefits industry.”
The federal government has released a discussion paper on National Pharmacare and is seeking feedback from the public. This will also be one of the topics of discussion at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM taking place in Thunder Bay later this month.
What do you think about a national prescription drug program, and how might it impact your business? Send your thoughts to Colin Fast, Director of Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a registered charity helping Manitoba youth succeed? With support from the TELUS Manitoba Community Board, charities are eligible to receive up to $20,000 in one-time grant funding for a new or existing grassroots project.
How does it work?
Ready to get started?
The next application deadline is September 1, 2018. To apply online, visit community.telus.com
The online application will ask for an overview of your organization and proposed youth-focused program. In most cases, the form can be completed in about 30 minutes.
Questions? Contact Jackie Wild, Community Investment Manager, at email@example.com
It was early summer when two young men went to work at their grandfather's manufacturing company. From his office, the CEO could see his grandsons working on the shop floor. The season went smoothly; but seeing his grandsons at work, exposed to hazards, had a profound effect on the long-time business owner.
"I remember this employer well," says Darren Oryniak, Vice President, Compensation Services, WCB. "Having his grandsons working for him was the catalyst to make him recommit himself to safety and health and Return to Work."
This story may be unique but the outcome isn't. In his more than 30 years working in claims at the WCB, Darren has seen business leaders implement Return to Work programs for a variety of reasons.
For some, it's primarily financial. Return to Work is good business. It minimizes WCB claims costs, it can reduce the cost of training replacements and can help maintain productivity.
For others, it's legal. There's legislation around re-employing injured workers that applies to organizations with more than 25 workers. They do it to remain compliant.
More often than not, it's moral. Employers feel a duty to their employees and are compelled to help them get back to work as quickly and safely as possible.
"Business owners have a variety of reasons for implementing Return to Work programs," Darren explains. "What I've noticed is that they're starting to look at the strategic advantage it provides in recruiting and retaining workers. Companies are realizing that if they are safer and support Return to Work, they can attract and retain workers in a competitive labour market. There are also the added benefits of maintaining productivity, enhancing team dynamics and improving workplace morale."
Each workplace and worker is unique. Therefore, Return to Work programs must evolve and be customized to meet the specific needs of individual workers and workplaces. Key principles based on participation, communication, responsibility, and early intervention help ensure the program's success.
To help organizations reach this goal, the WCB offers a free workshop strictly focused on helping employers create or enhance their program to ensure an injured worker can safely return to meaningful work. Called Return to Work Basics, the one-day course introduces the basic components and best practices of a Return to Work program.
For more information, contact Return To Work Program Services at
204-954-6161 or toll free 1-855-954-4321, extension 6161.
Do you hire summer students? Young workers are an asset to your workplace ― coming in with enthusiasm, fresh eyes, and new ideas.
However, many young workers tend not to ask questions about their safety at work because they are eager to please, want to make a good impression and are afraid of losing their job. This hesitation can have serious consequences. New workers have five to seven times the risk of injury than other workers in the first four weeks of a new job.
As an employer, you can offer your summer students a good work experience while also protecting them from injury on the job.
Here's what to do
Employers must ensure that every new worker is provided with a safety and health orientation and is trained to protect themselves from hazards that they may encounter in the course of their duties.
Visit safemanitoba.com for more information on new/young worker safety.
Content provided by Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba, a partner in our Healthy Workplaces program.
What is mindfulness?
The word mindfulness has become a buzz word in our culture as of late. We see reference to it on the front pages of magazines, we hear celebrities referencing it, and we notice people taking courses of study on it. The interesting thing is that many of us are not completely clear as to what this word means and how we can integrate it into our everyday life.
In a world that is operating at the speed of light, the concepts that are conveyed in mindfulness practice are extremely counter-intuitive to the culture we live in. It has been said that the average person checks their phone over 110 times per day, we are working longer, harder hours than we ever have before in history, and the levels of anxiety and depression are out of control. We have been culturally conditioned to believe that our success is equated to doing more, making more, and being more. As a result, we are living in a time where there are extreme pressures on individuals to find a proper work/life balance.
Mindfulness practice invites us to slow down and check in with the present moment. When we are living our lives at such a fast pace, it becomes next to impossible to truly be present. Our minds race from one task to the next and as a result, we end up accomplishing a lot less at a much lower quality.
Mindfulness practice however, becomes a lifestyle that promotes accomplishing more at a higher level by trying less. Some of the results of mindfulness practice are less chances of burn out, higher levels of creativity and innovation, and a renewed sense of gratitude, energy, and passion for life in the present moment. Mindfulness is not simply a check box on your to-do list. It is a practice that must be embodied in your day to truly experience its powerful affects.
How can I implement mindfulness into my day?
I would like to invite you to begin your mindfulness journey by trying a few practices throughout your day today. Notice what changes as a result.
As our upcoming event with Josh Blair and the TELUS Health team on innovative solutions to Canada's healthcare issues approaches, we asked them to pick a pressing issue more Canadians should be aware of.
This is the second article in their Strong Foundations series, examining five non-negotiable foundations that will support and sustain a truly integrated healthcare ecosystem for Canadians. Its focus is the opportunity to tackle medication management challenges by enabling electronic communication between prescribing physicians, pharmacists, insurers and patients.
It was first published by TELUS Health in January 2018.
In Canada, we like to believe that our health system is among the best in the world. In many ways, it is. But there are aspects of our system that have fallen far behind the standard of practice in other countries. One of the laggards is the way we manage medications, which has an impact on patient safety, medication adherence and ultimately patient outcomes.
Electronic prescribing is fundamental to medication management. In most OECD countries, electronic prescribing has become the norm.
Furthermore, in some States in the US, there are statutes that prohibit prescribing on paper. For example, New York State mandated that practitioners must prescribe electronically. In Maine, an act to prevent opiate abuse by strengthening prescription monitoring of controlled substances was introduced which requires that opioid prescriptions be sent electronically
Why has Canada been so slow?
I believe a major barrier to technology adoption is the fact that our Constitution assigns jurisdictional responsibility for healthcare to the Provincial governments. For many decades, that was a distinct advantage because healthcare decisions were made regionally, close to the people that were receiving the services. Supported by Federal transfer payments, the Provinces funded health care services that were truly world class for many years.
Yet over the last two decades, just as information technology became increasingly important for coordinated and effective care delivery, Canada has slipped in international rankings. Could there be a cause and effect relationship here?
Information technology shows very strong economies of scale: proven, effective solutions can be adopted and applied on a large scale with relatively small incremental costs because hardware is so inexpensive. However, system requirements and standards that are different for each Province have made eHealth solutions very difficult to deliver on a national scale. The resulting patchwork of systems are costlier to manage, maintain and expand than a national platform would be. Several Provinces have worked diligently to implement drug information systems but have not succeeded in delivering electronic prescribing. National pharmacy retailers and software vendors are understandably reluctant to conform to 10 different provincial standards given the cost and complexity that would represent.
The result: everyone waits on the sidelines for a national standard solution to emerge. That is until recently.
Bringing electronic prescribing to the nation
In 2017, Canada Health Infoway launched a solution called PrescribeIT™ that went live in August. It offers a single, national solution that will integrate with provincial drug repositories and provider registries. To-date, six Provinces and a range of pharmacy retailers have expressed a willingness to get on board. This is Canada’s best opportunity to close the electronic prescribing gap, compared to other developed countries.
Many are unaware of the full potential electronic prescribing offers to Canada’s healthcare system, ranging from improved patient safety, to increased medication adherence, to better collaboration between providers. Particular benefits include:
New paradigm offers more than automation of current practice
Electronic prescribing is more than a simple duplication of the paper process. It allows new transactions that have no analog in the paper world. For instance, the physician EMR receives automatic notification from the pharmacy when a prescription is filled. This allows the medication profile the physician sees in the EMR to display adherence information. Similarly, when a physician discontinues a medication in the EMR, a stop order is sent to the pharmacy, taking the medication off the active list in the pharmacy management system.
These are the benefits offered by the version of PrescribeIT™ to be deployed to physicians and pharmacists this year.
But this is only the beginning. Once Canada has the ePrescribing platform in place, there is so much more that can be done.
Giving care providers the full picture
One of the big limitations of our current system of medication management is that none of the care givers sees a complete record of the medications a patient is taking.
The pharmacist does not see what prescriptions are filled in other pharmacies. And, in some Provinces, regulations and patient confidentiality agreements make data sharing between pharmacies challenging.
The physician only sees the prescriptions they have written personally. Those written by specialists, hospitals or walk-in clinics never get to the physician unless the patient shares the information and the physician takes the time to type it into the EMR.
The patient is the ultimate integrator of medication therapy, usually by means of a slip of paper with a list of medications or a plastic bag filled with pill bottles.
Some Provinces have created impressive drug repositories that have a complete record of the medications dispensed within their borders. Unfortunately, utilization of these valuable data sources by health providers is limited for reasons of convenience (i.e. the time it takes to log into another system is onerous) or lack of system access. Furthermore, these repositories lack information about unfilled prescriptions or discontinued medications, rendering them ineffective for addressing poor drug adherence.
Opening avenues to future healthcare frontiers
Once electronic prescribing is widely adopted and integration with provincial drug information systems is in place, Canada will have the ability to progress other important capabilities, such as medication reconciliation. This will allow synchronization between EMRs, hospital systems, pharmacy systems and provincial repositories. All members of a care team (including the patient) would have access to the complete medication history for the first time. The safety benefits of this are dramatic, as drug-to-drug interaction checking against the entire medication list for each patient will be possible within the EMR. Further, adherence information will be available to all, allowing a more proactive approach to patient education.
The time to act is now
We know from other countries that it takes years to spread adoption of ePrescribing across an entire health system. As a nation, we need to move quickly to incorporate ePrescribing into practice. Provinces, pharmacies, hospitals and physicians need to put this to the top of their priority list in a coordinated effort to improve the performance of our health system. Many lives are depending on it.
Canada's population is aging and every province (including Manitoba) forecasts increased healthcare costs in the near future. Considering how many governments already struggle with deficits, the need to spend healthcare dollars effectively has never been higher.
On Friday, April 27 your Winnipeg Chamber invites you to a healthy discussion with Josh Blair on combining private sector solutions with public priorities. As the VP of TELUS Health, he oversees a team of innovators and medical professionals creating technology based solutions that reduce delivery costs while improving health costs for Canadians.
We asked him to share a taste of some of the solutions his team have put forward:
After years of sorting through paper charts, three physicians in different communities across the country all had the same thought: there had to be a better way to store and access patient information. Balancing their time to care for their patients while also writing code, each doctor put idea into action to bring electronic medical records to life.
After years of fine-tuning, Dr. Jim Kavanagh, Dr. Brendan Byrne and Dr. Michel Hébert, now TELUS Health team members, built three platforms for Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) now used by thousands of physicians in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.
1981: Jim Kavanagh creates PS Suite
With both a medical degree and a degree in mathematics and computer science, Jim Kavanagh knew he could enhance patient care by automating his work. In his basement more than 36 years ago, the Cambridge, Ontario physician alongside his wife Barb, started off by programming patient schedules on a computer, which back then was an anomaly.
Realizing more could be done to simplify his day, Jim engineered an EMR solution to optimize his medical practice.
“I became a doctor because I wanted to help others. I knew what was required to provide good care,” says Jim. The EMR I built made things easier and more accurate. Whether I need to pull up a patient’s full history, or understand a prescription’s side effect, it all became possible right in the tool. For me, it’s all about giving the best care possible and technology amplifies the experience.”
What Jim created is known today as PS Suite. His solution has evolved over the years, thanks in large part to program updates by a team of developers which included his son and daughter. TELUS purchased PS Suite in 2013 and today, with more than 41 years of experience as a family doctor and 36 years of practice as an EMR architect, Jim continues to practice medicine and help TELUS Health design EMR programs.
1991: Brendan Byrne brings Wolf to life
Brendan Byrne didn’t have a computer in the early 1990s, but he couldn’t help but notice significant changes happening all around him. The power of information was growing and he was perplexed as to why patient data was sitting unused in charts.
“After I finished my studies at Yale and later med school at McGill, I travelled around British Columbia and couldn’t believe the amount of critical data just sitting idle in patient charts,” says Branden “I felt it was my duty as a doctor to give the best care possible and I couldn’t stop thinking about all that information “I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, but after trying my hand at writing some code, I got the hang of it.”
Inspired to keep coding, Brendan ended up designing what we refer to today as the Wolf EMR platform. Scribing notes by hand on paper became a thing of the past. And not just that, he and other doctors were redefining proactive patient care by leveraging data in his EMR tool.
TELUS purchased Wolf in 2012 and Brendan joined the TELUS Health leadership team while remaining a part-time physician in Surrey, B.C. Today, he continues to enjoy the best of both worlds as Chief Innovation Officer and as a family doctor. As founder of Wellness Garage, a precision lifestyle medicine practice, Brendan spends time with close to 100 patients to boost their physical, mental and social well-being.
2000: Michel Hébert designs KinLogix
For Michel Hébert his EMR story goes back 18 years. Going digital was the obvious solution to eliminating tedious paperwork. After sketching out some ideas late one night alongside his wife, Kathleen, in their Quebec City home, the KinLogix EMR idea was conceived.
“I chose to become a doctor because caring for others is part of my DNA. When I first created my first digital patient chart, the excitement was real. I think I called everyone I knew. I was thrilled! My vision to curb manual work became a reality and I was empowering other doctors to do the same. I look back on that time with great pride.”
His homegrown solution gained popularity – doctors throughout the province were taking notice of the flexibility added to their day. What’s more, KinLogix was the first EMR in Quebec to go mobile – no matter where a doctor is, patient information is accessible while on the go. This type of innovation led Michel’s technology to gain major market share, and in 2012, KinLogix EMR joined the TELUS Health portfolio of solutions. Today, Michel offers strategic guidance to the TELUS team as Medical Director while also caring for his patients.
Working in collaboration with each other and their colleagues, Jim, Brendan and Michel are helping TELUS Health advance the next generation of healthcare solutions. The voice of the patient remains at the core of their work and all three say they’re proud of their lasting legacies.
“It’s privilege to have Jim, Brendan and Michel working with us at TELUS. Their innovation set a strong foundation and by building on their progress as we advance our EMR strategy, we’re enabling better experiences for physicians, and in turn, helping create better health outcomes for Canadians,” says Paul Lepage, President, TELUS Health and Payment Solutions.