Inclusive Governance Model

Global Economic Trends

How is your organization preparing to compete in a rapidly changing world of compliance standards and inclusion best practices? Comparing past events and current activities will provide a greater understanding for future global economic trends and changing societal expectations. We are moving toward a global digital economy by seamlessly integrating machines and people. The two parallel evolutionary trends of technology and people need to be balanced.
  1. Machines connected together through a network, provide big data analytics and artificial intelligence, for economic growth, and
  2. People connecting together through a vast network, are closing the gap in cultural differences and levels of education.
The Business Case for Digital Accessibility and Competing in the Digital Economy

We are crossing a new frontier in the evolution of computing and entering the era of cognitive systems. scientists and engineers around the world are pushing the boundaries of science and technology to create machines that sense, learn, reason, and interact with people in new ways to provide insight and advice. The rules of business are changing at exponential rates. The capabilities, and processes that created leadership positions in the last century are diminishing in relevance, making way for a new set of competitive forces. And as we move from an industrial to information economy, every company will need to move and innovate at the speed of their competitors. However, management that does not understand emerging technologies and cannot, or will not, adapt to a collaborative workplace model, risk alienating groups of employees and consumers. Culture of arrogance felled telecom giant Nortel, study finds: Janet Mcfarland, The Globe and Mail, March 2017

A paradigm shift in society, driven by consumer demand, miniaturization, cloud sourcing, and wireless mobile devices, is placing greater power in the hands of consumers, and having a profound impact on the workplace and organization infrastructure stability. However, the ability to use new emerging technologies is currently at the heart of social inclusion, with those excluded being left out of many work, entertainment, communication, healthcare and social benefits. Automation without colaboration within an organization will create System Barriers. Business reports refer to this as "System Blindness". One of the worst results of system blindness occurs when leaders implement a strategy to solve a problem, but ignore the pertinent system dynamics, for short-term relief with the problem reappearing worse than before. Systems Blindness: The Illusion of Understanding: Daniel Goleman, Author of FOCUS, October 2013

Business studies show that business failures over the past decade were due to ineffective management strategies. Management was unwilling to accept advice and adopt change in best practice strategies for the emerging digital age. Management power struggles shutdown effective communication processes between business units, and accountability was unchallenged. A Leader's Primary Task is to define the strategy, focus attention and guide the transition. A change in strategy reorients where everyone's attention should go. A leader should direct the focus of an entire organization, and not allow Each division to focus on that strategy in their own way. To create a culture with a pervasive ethical mindset, corporations must instill the following important behaviors: Commitment, Consistency, Credibility, Communication. A Leader's Primary Task - Guide Attention: Daniel Goleman, August 2013

Lessons To Be Learned

As we approach the intersection of people and machines, the rapid change in society is having an impact on the way we interact with one another and how we conduct daily life tasks. More and more companies are acknowledging the importance of work-life balance. Attitude and Systemic barriers influence both productivity and market growth.
  1. A greater level of understanding in the business need for flexibility and community engagement. sustainable growth in revenue, return on investment, and profitability is not just about legal compliance.
  2. A greater appreciation for product and service standards. A competitive advantage is built upon talent and market growth.
  3. Motivate to embrace change, and create a business model that enables people. Innovation and collaboration is at the intersection where humans and machines connect.
  1. Technology fatigue in the workplace impact employee decisions and career choices.
  2. The business case for disability is based on legal compliance or best practices.
  3. Employees with a disability are a business asset or liability.
  4. Accessibility enforcement is a business burden or a growth strategy.
  5. The growing acceptance of universal design and accessibility strategies introduce operational challenges or business opportunities.
  6. Employee resource groups and community involvement has increased collaboration or instability.
  7. Expectations based on unreasonable desires or misleading information effects trusting relationships.
  8. Employee discontentment and satisfaction effect productivity and workplace health.

Shifting The Mindset From Disability To Productivity

The total cost from mental health problems and illnesses to the Canadian economy is significant. In 2011 the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) study reported that the economic cost to Canada is at least $50 billion per year. This represents 2.8% of Canada's 2011 gross domestic product. It cost business more than $6 billion in lost productivity in 2011. In any given year one in five people, about 21.4% of the working population in Canada, experiences a mental health problem or illness and it affects almost everyone in some way. Mental health problems and illnesses account for approximately 30% of short and long term disability claims and are rated one of the top three drivers of such claims by more than 80% of Canadian employers.

Employers need to focus on the relationship between mental health and productivity moving forward. More and more employers are facing employees that are on the job but, because of illness or other non-health-related issues, are not very productive. This issue is called presenteeism. Presenteeism is a productivity and performance related issue that is receiving increased attention and concerns from employers. According to Statistics Canada, the average days absenting per employee per year is 7.5 days or 3% of salary. Studies of some chronic conditions and health risk factors found that lost productivity from presenteeism was 7.5 times greater than productivity loss from absenteeism. For some stress related health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, migraines, and neck or back pain, the ratio increased 15 times greater.

Organization Health Score Card

Barriers Commitment Consistency Credibility Communications
Attitude * * * *
Systemic * * * *

Diversity Management Maturity

Key Success Factors

Diversity management must recognize employee differences for innovation, collaboration and success, and link diversity to business objectives and ensuring the company values each individual's contribution as integral to the company bottom line. Having an inclusive environment really demands an engagement process that starts at the top, and extends throughout the corporation to each and every employee and stakeholder in the enterprise.
How to Create Accessibility Statements for Your Organization

The challenge of the corporate enterprise of the future is to find a sustainable balance between the measurable growth and quality of life. A Diversity Maturity Model (DMM) strategy will track progress in building a more inclusive environment. It measures employee perceptions, business processes and the organizational climate. The DMM will provide a common language, cohesive approach and uniform process to establish a roadmap for progressing as an inclusive enterprise. Both organizational leaders and diversity professionals are increasingly aware that the business model of the 1900's is no longer capable of supporting sustainable growth in a rapidly expanding global economy. Focusing on workplace quotas, representation, and relationships in isolation from the business operational strategies, is no longer considered to be good business practice. To achieve workplace cohesiveness and business growth in tandem, future leaders will engage in diversity management, as a key business strategy, in making quality decisions in the midst of differences, similarities, tensions, and complexities. Future leaders will be more strategic in their approach to diversity and diversity management. Decisions as to where to focus attention and how to respond to issues will be guided by an organization's mission, vision, and strategy.

Key Performance Indicators

  1. A Genuine Progress Index (GPI) focuses on selected business characteristics.
  2. The GPI utilizes business information to evaluate progress (e.g. strategy, policy, procedures, practices, activities, data).
  3. Methodology for gap identification, improvement and iterative reassessment.
Some companies manage by rules. Some by hierarchies. IBM manages by its values. Sam Palmisano: past IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
As a new trend sweeps through workplaces around the globe, HR leaders and executives alike have been turning their attention and focus towards the Employee Experience. Diversity Knowledge management requires:
  1. Cultural Intelligence: It is essential that leaders and management have Cultural Intelligence in order to engage employees from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  2. Unconscious Bias: We all have biases based on our experiences with social groups, such as our age, gender, race, social class, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, disability status or nationality.
  3. Diversity and Inclusion: When organizations effectively capitalize on the strengths of all employees, and leverage their differences and unique values, they usually have the most engaged employees.
  4. Talent Development: Is essential for helping employees shape the future direction of their careers. Companies tend to pay a high price when they don't take the time to focus on development, often resulting in the loss of top young talent.
The Employee Experience and the Future of Talent Management: Elaine Newman, CEO Global Learning, June 2015

The Business Accessibility Strategy

The Business Model

technologies have transformed how business operates, how people manage their purchasing and finances, find and carry out jobs, access public services and participate in communities, and how they experience learning, culture, leisure, social networking and entertainment. However, digital inclusion demands that everyone has the potential to be engaged with the economy and society. Investing in accessible and usable technology products and services, workplace environments and facilities opens up new markets, increases productivity and liberates talent, and enables innovation. The message that "providing accessible and usable technologies to all is fundamental to an organisation's core business objectives" must come from the top of the organisation; And must be communicated to all employees, suppliers and partners.

There is a substantial risk to any organisation which knowingly ignores the law. There is a requirement for you to anticipate access needs of disabled individuals and adapt for their access needs. the reality is that all organisations need to understand both the cost of doing business and the benefits that follow. Diversity and inclusion is an investment decision from a financial, legal and ethical viewpoint. It simply makes sense to get it right. Investing in accessible and usable information technology communications must have clearly defined strategic goals. In achieving these goals, the organisation reveals how the investment contributes to Key Success Factors (KSF) relating to customers, employees and internal processes; thus improving performance, increases the bottom line, and shows how social responsibility benefit society as a whole. Accessibility is not a passing fad, but is an issue that has slowly been gathering momentum and there is every indication that it is going to be more prominent in the years ahead. An organization's success depends upon the ability to mainstream diversity and inclusion. Inclusive technology appears to be hitting the mainstream, after decades of tireless advocacy by non-profits and invisible corporate side efforts.
Beyond Alt-Text - The New Chief Accessibility Officer: Ableism, January 2015
Reimagine accessibility and foster inclusion in the modern workplace: Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President for OneDrive, SharePoint, and Office, May 2018

Key Business Goals

  1. Reach new markets
  2. Maximise employee engagement and productivity
  3. Provision high quality products and services
  4. Improve supply chain management
  5. Build partner and community relations
  6. Minimise risk of legal action

Standards And Guidelines

The AODA Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications will help Ontario businesses and organizations make their information accessible for people with disabilities. This AODA standard requires all Ontario organizations to make their websites and web content accessible according to the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is developed through the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) group within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) organization in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, with a goal of proving a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally. The WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.

Ontario Standards

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Recognizing the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario, the purpose of this Act is to benefit all Ontarians by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025.
Legislation Requirements For Removing Barriers

Ontario Built Environment

  1. Buildings
  2. Public spaces

Ontario Customer Service

  1. Accessible customer service policies
  2. Practices and procedures
  3. Service animals
  4. Support persons
  5. Customer feedback
  6. Staff training

Ontario Employment

  1. Recruitment and hiring processes will accommodate disabilities
  2. Human resource practices will accommodate disabilities
  3. Develop and document accommodation plans for employees with disabilities
  4. Create safety procedures and emergency response information

Ontario Information and Communications

  1. Make websites and web content accessible according to the W3C WCAG
  2. Provide accessible formats and communications supports at no additional cost
  3. Make feedback processes accessible to all persons
  4. Make public emergency information accessible
  5. Provide educational and training resources and materials in accessible formats
  6. Provide educators with accessibility awareness training

Ontario Transportation

  1. Make information on accessibility equipment and features of vehicles, routes and services available to the public
  2. Cannot charge a fare to a support person when the person with a disability requires a support person to accompany them
  3. Provide clearly marked courtesy seating for people with disabilities
  4. Do not charge people with disabilities a higher fare, or for storing mobility aids
  5. Technical requirements for lifting devices, steps, grab bars/handrails, floor surfaces, lighting, signage, etc
  6. Provide verbal and visual announcements of routes and stops on vehicles
  7. Develop an eligibility application process including an independent appeal process
  8. Provide the same hours and days of service as those offered by conventional transit

Communication Guidelines

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.
Guidelines Requiremens For Digital Communications


User agents, like screen readers, require clearly defined HTML elements within a structured web page. The ARIA (Accessibility Rich Internet Application) Landmarks and a hierarchy of Headers should be used to define page regions and content context. The Banner, Navigation panel, Main section, and Footer are visually perceivable on a standard computer screen, but is not on a screen reader device.
  1. Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
  2. Provide alternatives for time-based media.
  3. Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
  4. Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.


All web page elements must be operable by a keyboard, speech input, and other non-mouse devices. Some of the Java scripts may not be keyboard accessible, and preventing non-mouse users from performing some functions.
  1. Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  2. Provide users enough time to read and use content.
  3. Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
  4. Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.


Page Titles must be unique and meaningful. Links and Buttons must have concise and clearly marked text labels. Images must have descriptive alternative text. The page foreground and background, and Icons, must have contrasting colours for low vision users. The web page must have clearly defined user instructions, and a separation of information content.
  1. Make text content readable and understandable.
  2. Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
  3. Help users avoid and correct mistakes.


To deliver a desirable user experience, there must be a separation between web page design and user content. The web page may not render as expected in all browsers, and will not perform as expected in differing user agents. A design utilizing style sheets and Java Script widgets may improve the robust user interface for both accessibility and mobile devices. Note, the Accessibility Rich Internet Application (ARIA) code should only be used on a webpage if the native HTML code cannot implement the desired user interface effect. ARIA code will not have any effect on older browsers.
  1. Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
WCAG is not scary anymore - A progressive approach to Website Accessibility: By Herin Hentry, Test Team Lead at Planit Software, July 2016

Creating An Accessibility Strategy

Accessibility Maturity Model

Accessibility no longer means compliance. It has become a mainstream requirement that can transform the business. Therefore every part of the organisation should be involved in creating a holistic strategy for embedding accessibility across various aspects of the entire enterprise (from processes to product development to the culture) in order to better manage compliance, improve the user experience on any device, and create an inclusive workplace environment. At the organizational level, this means establishing leadership, developing internal accessibility policies and practices throughout the organization, and equipping your teams for success.
Creating An Accessibility Culture: Lainey Feingold law office

Three Important Software Development Practices To Improve Accessibility

  1. Make accessibility an integral function of your organisation's design and development process and thinking. This helps designers develop a deeper understanding of how physical, cognitive and situational disabilities affect the use of a product.
  2. Use automated accessibility testing tools. Testing early in the development process to find and correct accessibility conformance issues has the potential to save valuable time and budget.
  3. Gather stakeholder feedback, especially from persons with disabilities. Get the app into the hands of all your end users to ensure it delivers an optimal user experience.

In 2008, the Business Disability Forum (BDF) launched The Technology Taskforce, a Partner initiative which brings together some of the world's largest procurers and suppliers of Information Communication Technologies (ICT). The Technology Taskforce enables accessibility technologies to maximizes talent management, productivity, new product development, customer access and brand reputation. A self-assessment Accessibility Maturity Model (AMM) tool will enable your organization to identify and plan key policies for accessible and usable technologies. The Open Organization Maturity Model is a framework for helping your organization to become more transparent, inclusive, adaptable, collaborative, and communal. Openness is becoming increasingly central to the ways groups and teams of all sizes are working together to achieve shared goals. Today, the most forward-thinking organizations are embracing openness as a necessary orientation toward success.

  1. Start by defining the purpose of the product and its target audiences.
  2. Research the ways different people use web technologies and summarise them in personas.
  3. Work out the things people will use the product for, and separate them into core and non-core goals, so you can prioritise the work.
  4. Decide what level of accessibility (WCAG A, AA, or AAA) you desire.
  5. Ensure the technology tools chosen (for both employees and customers) will deliver to the desired level of accessibility.
  6. Use a defined product accessibility policy as a brief for internal teams, or when contracting external suppliers, so it is known what is expected.
  7. Help designers and developers use the best accessibility guidelines to create the product, and use a range of tests during the creation to check that it is usable by its target audiences.
  8. Let users know of any product deficiencies via the web site accessibility statement and provide some way for user feedback.
  9. Create a clear public statement that expresses the organization commitment to accessibility and community partnerships. Influence from the highest level directly conveys the message to all, and gives staff the impetus to proactively find out more and take action.
  10. Establish a methodology to evaluate genuine progress and measurements.
  11. Appoint senior leaders as Accessibility and Diversity champions to Demonstrate leadership and authority. Most people have no issue with the concept of supporting disabled staff and customers. However many have issues making changes to organisational processes and standards without being clear about what the organisation itself wants.
  12. Sustainable growth requires a strategy of investment and commitment of resources, both time and money.

Employee Accessibility Strategy

Many disabled employees face deeply frustrating challenges in the day-to-day working lives. Showing these to senior managers is often a powerful way of bringing home both how easy it is to inadvertently present barriers to customers and staff, and how these barriers can have a very substantial negative effect.
  1. Create easy and effective employee feedback mechanisms to continuously improve processes.
  2. Periodic surveys of entire workforce.
  3. Dedicated surveys of disability network.
  4. Ask employees with disabilities to assist you in the development and testing of products and services.
  5. Reasonable adjustments and accommodations workplace assessment process.
  6. Recruitment, training, and career development processes.
  7. Disability network focus groups. Include disabled employees in a Business Resource Group (BRG) to help guide business go to market strategies.
  8. Disability Confidence Training. Allow the disabled employees Diversity Group to share experiences through webinars, videos, and lunch and learn sessions.

Customer Service Strategy

The power of listening and acting on customer feedback in order to improve the customers' experience, including those who are disabled or older. By listening, learning and acting, organisations can effectively understand the needs of their customers and create an open dialogue that will help to ensure that customers' needs and feedback are acted upon. The outcome is that organisations become better at designing and delivering inclusive and accessible products, services and distribution channels. Disabled and/or elderly customers feel valued, welcomed, anticipated and accommodated when using your accessible products and services.
  1. Customer surveys.
  2. Online customer suggestion box and feedback form
  3. Public commitment / external statement of intent.
  4. User testing of products and services.
  5. Complaints investigations & root cause analysis.
  6. On-going engagement with key external charity partners.
  7. Social media channels.
  8. Incorporate demographics about people with disabilities into your sales and marketing databases.
  9. Hire persons with disabilities to better inform your accessibility efforts and attract this customer base.
  10. Inform your sales and marketing staff that most persons with disabilities do not conform to stereotypes, but rather possess buying power plus a desire to grow and learn as consumers and citizens.
  11. Identify where technological and service innovations will enhance access by customers with disabilities and in doing so look for ways to adapt those innovations for the convenience of all customers.