Guiding principles for draft inclusive hiring policy approved
City moves ahead with development of policy
Saturday, May 24, 2014 06:00 am
An inclusive hiring policy for the City of St. Albert is one step closer to reality after several guiding principles were approved by council on Tuesday.
The guiding principles were mostly approved as presented by staff, with council voting on one tweak.
Coun. Cathy Heron, who made the original motion to have inclusive hiring considered as a policy for the city’s practices, asked to remove the line that would have given direction to staff on the requirement to “allocate funding to support a hiring and accommodation program.”
“That should be separate from our inclusive hiring policy,” Heron said of any programs that might be required, such as putting wheelchair ramps in.
Coun. Sheena Hughes had made a motion that would have allowed the line about funding to remain in the guiding principles. It was defeated in a 4-3 vote, with Hughes and Couns. Cam MacKay and Wes Brodhead voting in the minority.
“We’re not just approving philosophies here, we’re also approving dollars,” Hughes said while arguing for the line to remain.
After the amendment was defeated, council voted unanimously in favour of Heron’s motion to approve the guiding principles with the removal of the line about funding.
The approved guidelines say the policy will clearly define disabilities and provide direction to administration on the requirement to have programs in place to support hiring of those with disabilities, make reasonable accommodations to support such hiring and to make sure civic facilities meet universal accessibility guidelines, and be upgraded to do so during any renovations or new construction.
Heron noted she was disappointed in the report which indicated that organizations that support people with disabilities would be made aware of employment opportunities. She’d hoped such groups would be actively involved in creating the policy.
She noted some organizations have offered their expertise already. “They have offered free support to the City of St. Albert,” she said.
Hughes asked staff about the potential liabilities if someone was to claim they weren’t hired because they are disabled.
“We do have our hiring standards and policies,” said Maya Pungur-Buick, general manager of corporate strategic services. She said it’s discrimination if someone isn’t hired specifically because they have a disability – not if a person who happens to have a disability isn’t as qualified as another candidate.
Both Heron and Coun. Tim Osborne mentioned hearing positive feedback from organizations about the idea of an inclusive hiring policy.
A draft inclusive hiring policy should be back before council by the end of September.