June 2, 2021

About the Webinar

In celebration of National AccessAbility Week and Red Shirt Day 2021, Easter Seals Canada partnered with the the PROUD Project (Phenomenological Research/Remedies on Employment & Disability Project) at the University of Toronto to offer this webinar.

The PROUD project focuses on understanding and communicating the lived experiences of people with disabilities in the workforce and those of employers who hire and retain them, in five different countries. At the time of the webinar, they were midway through their Canadian research, having heard from disabled workers and entrepreneurs, and starting to gather stories from managers, HR specialists and CEOS. This webinar recounts the experiences and reveals the insights from participants that speak to the many problems faced by people with physical disabilities as well as the solutions they suggest. The research asks whether there is an optimum environment that enables some people who have a physical impairment to thrive in the workforce. The goal of the research is to develop a guide or “best practices” for inclusive employment by gleaning ideas from these groups.

So far, the PROUD Project learned that successful employment is a combination of personal attributes and attitudes, as well as institutional and social structures which embrace universal solutions and design. The interviews have also revealed the unique benefits that people with disabilities bring to the workplace. The presentation highlights how the integration of people with disabilities in the workforce promotes not only equity, diversity, and inclusion, but also innovation and effectiveness.

For more information about Easter Seals Canada and Red Shirt Day, visit www.RedShirtDay.ca.

To learn more about The PROUD Project, visit www.theproudproject.ca

About the Presenters

Dr. Chloë Atkins, PhD, is the primary investigator and head of the The PROUD Project, a research group at the University of Toronto (UTSC) investigating disability and employment in 5 countries. She has research interests in disability, bioethics, vulnerable minority identities, human rights, phenomenological research and narrative scholarship. She is a previous CIHR grant holder for a project which undertook a study of best practices about the management of rare and difficult-to-diagnose illness. Atkins holds a PhD in Political Science (Political Theory) and a post-doctorate from Cornell University Law School in feminist legal jurisprudence, is the author of My Imaginary Illness (Cornell 2010) and winner of multiple awards and fellowships.

Dr. Andrea Whiteley, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow for the PROUD Project Project, working with Dr. Chloe Atkins. As a caregiver of a person with a disability, she is passionate about improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. Dr. Whiteley holds a PhD in Communications Studies from the University of Calgary. Her extensive research expertise focuses on open access to social sciences research and the public good, knowledge mobilization and research impacts. Her dissertation addressed the importance of open access to social sciences and humanities research for people outside of academia working in social sciences and humanities related fields. She has worked as a research coordinator for the University of Calgary Faculty of Communication and Culture (currently the Department of Communication, Media and Film) and has many years of research grant writing experience. Dr. Whiteley recently completed a post-doctoral internship project at Simon Fraser University evaluating the Community Scholars Program that allows community-based and non-profit organizations to access academic research.