As we kick off the new year, I would like to encourage members of Whitby Chamber of Commerce to consider transformative solutions for inclusive business in 2023.
Whether you are attracting customers or hiring workers, making your business accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities will reap both economic and social benefits. 16% to 42% of the population, depending on age, live with a temporary or permanent disability. They make up 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and they are 30% to 50% of the untapped talent pool, depending on disability. Combined with families and friends of persons with disabilities, your accessibility practice will impact 25% of your customer base, in addition to your business reputation and growth. It’s time to tap into this tremendous spending power and labour market.
Seniors with walkers and parents with strollers prefer restaurants with wide doorways and aisles and no hazardous steps. People with sight or hearing loss appreciate large print signs and accessible websites. Many with invisible disabilities favour stores with non-judgmental, person-centred service. And when your staff represent the diverse communities you serve, including persons with disabilities, your business will naturally become more accessible and inclusive, attracting the growing diverse population in Whitby.
It takes some thought, innovative approaches, and of course time, money and effort to invest in accessibility. But remember, we have transformed the way we do business during the pandemic, and we can continue to transform our business to meet the changing needs of our customers and community. Your business sustainability and growth come from continuous improvements and innovation. Investing in accessibility is one sure way to increase your customer base and workforce. Future-proof your business. include people with disabilities in your business development. Because sooner or later, we all will acquire a disability, due to accidents, illness or aging. Let us build an accessible and inclusive community in Whitby, for our customers, friends, family, and ourselves!
Throughout this year, look out for the programming Whitby Chamber of Commerce IDEA Committee is organizing around accessibility. By December 3rd, 2023, we aim for our members to be more informed and empowered on topics of accessibility.
Director, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA)
IDEA Committee Member