Long COVID, mental health concerns, and other episodic disabilities raise workplace questions as Canada opens up

National Summit on Episodic Disabilities and Employment (March 23, 24, 29, 30, 2022) to explore the future of work and disability and why a return to pre-pandemic “normal” may not be the best solution for Canadian employers and employees

TORONTO, March 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 2nd National Summit on Episodic Disabilities and Employment, hosted by Realize, will open (via Zoom) on March 23rd with a special pre-Summit spotlight session on Long COVID. Opening speaker, Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, will address the national health implications of Long COVID. (Conservative estimates from various sources suggest more than 300,000 Canadians are living with ongoing health complications post COVID 19 infection.) Other presentations during the pre-Summit will include speakers from Canada, the US and the UK living with long-COVID and the latest research on how it is impacting work.

“As Canadian society looks to ‘return to normal, we don’t know yet what the full impact of the past two years of the pandemic will be in the workplace,” said Realize Executive Director, Tammy C. Yates-Rajaduray. “The effects of long COVID are one consideration, but we are also looking at a potential flood of mental health issues as people face the uncertainty and anxiety of returning to their former ways of working. For some people who live with episodic disabilities, workplace accommodations required during the pandemic – for example, working from home – have been better for them than what they experienced before.”

Last year, over 300 participants from across the disability community (including people living with episodic disabilities related to HIV, diabetes, MS, long COVID, and many other conditions)1, business leaders, HR professionals, government representatives, key policy makers, unions, and researchers, gathered for the 1st National Summit, building towards a National Action Plan on Episodic Disability and Employment. This year’s Summit will see the unveiling of the first draft of the National Action Plan and explore creative responses to workplace accommodation from both employer and employee perspectives.

Statistics Canada estimates 22% of people in Canada over age 15 are living with at least one disability. They are people from every sector of society and are often skilled workers with the experience and qualifications employers need. As Yates-Rajaduray noted, “ways of working are changing and in a highly competitive market the employers who are open to workplace diversity and workplace accommodation innovation are likely to be most successful with recruitment and employee retention.”

The 2nd National Summit on Episodic Disabilities and Employment will take place over Zoom March 23rd, 24th, 29th, and 30th from 1pm-3:30pm (ET). (Registration is free.)

Summit registration: https://www.realizecanada.org/events/event/2022-virtual-national-summit-on-episodic-disabilities-and-employment/

About Realize:
Realize fosters positive change for people living with episodic disabilities (including disabilities related to HIV, long-COVID and other chronic conditions). Realize is the leading national organization promoting healthy aging, appropriate access to rehabilitation supports and social inclusion for people living with episodic disabilities. Our work fosters and strengthens partnerships across clinical, research, community, and policy domains, advances education on evidence-informed rehabilitation interventions and models of service delivery and promotes social inclusion and financial security for people living with episodic disabilities through a network of employers, insurers, rehabilitation providers, community organizations, and government stakeholders - with a strong focus on employment. https://www.realizecanada.org

1 Episodic disabilities (or illnesses) are chronic conditions characterized by periods of wellness and illness that may vary in severity, length, and predictability from one person to another. Examples include multiple sclerosis, arthritis, long COVID, diabetes, HIV, hepatitis C, chronic pain, some forms of cancer and mental illness.


Contact Data