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Symposium Celebrates the Power of Participation

NOTE: A list of the Lieutenant Governor’s Persons with Disabilities Employer Partnership Awards follows the release.
Nova Scotians with disabilities, educators, employers, service providers, labour groups and representatives from municipal and provincial government are coming together to discuss efforts for more equal access to education and employment.

The groups are attending the 7th Ability Starts Here Symposium on Inclusive Education and Employment today, Dec. 2, and Wednesday, Dec. 3, at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax.

The annual event commemorates the United Nation’s International Day for Persons with Disabilities. It brings together key groups working to bridge the gap between Nova Scotian students and job-seekers with disabilities, and opportunities many of us take for granted in education and employment.

This year’s theme for the symposium is The Power of Participation and highlights the many social and economic benefits of the full participation of all Nova Scotians in every aspect of life. The symposium is presented by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, the Disabled Persons Commission and the Collaborative Partnership Network.

“Being able to study and work is a right of all Nova Scotians and produces a powerful sense of self-worth and community in each of us,” said Tracey Williams, CEO and director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, and chair of the symposium planning committee.

“We live in diverse communities where many people are still denied the opportunity to participate, to grow, learn and contribute to their fullest potential. The more we embrace diversity and work together to remove barriers facing our family members, friends and neighbours, the stronger our communities and our province become.”

Three workshop streams focus on education, employment and human rights, and panel discussions will examine employment supports, creating inclusive environments, and the impact people with disabilities in school and work has on everyone.

Richard Pimentel, a leading expert on disability and employment in North America and the subject of the major motion picture Music Within, will deliver this year’s keynote address.

An awards luncheon today will include the Lieutenant Governor’s Persons with Disabilities Employer Partnership Awards, for employers with a commitment to equitable hiring and support for employees with disabilities.

“We all have a role to play in building inclusive communities,” said Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant. “I am delighted to honour Nova Scotian employers who take practical and meaningful steps to turn this vision into reality.”

The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network is again hosting an entrepreneurs market with artists and service providers with disabilities who have pursued self-employment.

To learn more about Ability Starts Here and connect with organizations supporting people with disabilities, visit http://abilitystartshere.ca .

Source: Release

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