Accessibility in Action: Celebrating Untapped Accessibility’s First Year in Operation
In a world that’s increasingly recognizing the importance of accessibility, our first year in business has been marked by significant milestones and achievements. We’re bursting with pride to announce that we’re not just growing—we’re flourishing! Our team is expanding, our partnerships are multiplying, and our social impact is reaching new heights.
As a Buy Social Canada-certified social enterprise, our dual purpose is to generate revenue for Open Door Social Services Society while creating work opportunities for professionals with disabilities.
In this blog post, we will take you through our remarkable first-year accomplishments and our vision for the year ahead.
Expanding our team and inclusion efforts
One of our most significant achievements in our first year has been the expansion of our team. We have welcomed three new staff positions and nearly a dozen professionals with disabilities into our associate pool, each adding their unique perspective and passion to our mission.
A notable achievement is that 71% of our staff self-identifies as having a disability. Our participation in the Presidents Group Pledge to Measure survey reinforces our dedication to creating an inclusive work environment.
Empowering through employment
Over the past year, we’ve provided over 2,400 hours of work to people with lived experience of disability.
This goes beyond creating work opportunities. It’s about empowering individuals to contribute their unique skills and perspectives to the workforce. Through our mission, we’re not just providing employment but spotlighting the expertise and valuable perspectives of professionals with disabilities.
Building collaborative partnerships
We believe in the power of collaboration. In our first year, we’ve partnered with a range of organizations, including nonprofits, small businesses, and public sector organizations.
Our common goal? Cultivating cultures that are more accessible and inclusive. We’ve teamed up with over 120 organizations. We’ve helped school districts, libraries, food banks, and public sector organizations across BC to take action to become more accessible. Together, we’re building a brighter, more inclusive future.
Supporting Open Door Social Services Society
As a social enterprise, we measure our success by our impact on our community.
The revenue we generate supports our nonprofit ownership, Open Door Social Services Society, in its mission to help more community members with disabilities connect to their communities and to meaningful employment.
This success also lays the foundation for Open Door Services Society to expand existing programs and launch new initiatives in various communities.
Shaping accessibility beyond compliance
Our growth is fuelled in part by the Accessible BC Act and the Accessible Canada Act, two significant pieces of legislation that have made accessibility a top priority for many large Canadian employers. However, our approach goes beyond compliance advice.
We are committed to helping organizations and entire sectors understand and act upon feedback from individuals with disabilities. Our vision is to shift society’s approach to accessibility, placing people with lived experience at the centre of design processes and valuing disabled voices. The result is a more accessible and inclusive society for all.
A unique approach to accessibility
As we continue to grow, we are attracting disabled talent by offering flexible work schedules, remote work opportunities, and pension matching to team members who want more formal employment. For the entrepreneurs who prefer self-employment, our commitment is to continue to pay rates that value technical expertise and lived experience.
As far as we know, there’s no other accessibility consulting agency in Canada quite like us. Our unique dual mission—generating revenue for a disability-serving organization and employing individuals with lived experience—creates a resonance that’s one of a kind.
Our first year as a social enterprise has been filled with growth, inclusion, and positive impact.
We are honoured to have this opportunity to influence social change toward a more accessible future for all. We look forward to greater achievements in the years to come as we work towards our vision of a society where everyone is included, and every voice is heard and valued.