Lending Library Service Pilot Project

A new service for short-term public service employees with disabilities.

Introduction

On April 22, 2020, the Canadian government announced support for students and new grads affected by COVID-19. Part of that support is a commitment to hire students and persons with disabilities across different sectors, including the federal public service. Some of these short-term public service employees may have a disability or injury and may need specific tools and services to help remove barriers and provide an inclusive workplace at the office or at home.

Key findings in the Public Service Accessibility Strategy as well as the Office of Public Service Accessibility’s surveys on Workplace Accommodation highlighted that the traditional assessment and procurement processes which are used to identify and remove barriers to employment for persons with a disability who wish to work in the Government of Canada can be lengthy. This delays the ability of employees with disabilities or injuries to gain access to the tools required to quickly ramp up on the job, gain valuable work experiences during their terms and deliver services to Canadians.

Recognizing that this could prevent persons with disabilities from being able to work for a large portion of their short-term employment, the AAACT Program took the first steps to change this in the spring of 2019 by working with short-term employees and stakeholders to improve the employee experience. AAACT tested a new approach that allowed students to be fast tracked through the AAACT assessment process. While this test addressed part of the problem by shortening the time to identify barriers and solutions, it also highlighted delays in procurement and gaps in service. The Lending Library Service pilot seeks to mitigate service and procurement issues.

AAACT’s team of experts make recommendations for specific actions to be taken, adaptive technology, including hardware and software, and services that can help to remove barriers in the workplace. While this has made a significant difference in reducing the time it takes to identify barriers and solutions, there is still more work to be done. The current procurement process to acquire the necessary tools for persons with disabilities who require workplace accommodations prohibits equitable opportunities to participate fully in these types of employment.

The Pilot

The AAACT Lending Library Service is a pilot project led by Shared Services Canada, and is funded in partnership with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, through the Centralized Enabling Workplace Fund.

The pilot aims to address barriers that delay access to the tools needed by employees with disabilities or injuries to quickly ramp up on the job, gain valuable work experiences during their terms and deliver services to Canadians.

Short term employees can use these tools at no cost to their department, for the entire length of their employment with the Government of Canada. If the employee gains an indeterminate position at the end of their term, for example if they are bridged in, arrangements can be made for the tools to be kept by that employee. This avoids the need to reconfigure tools and eliminates work interruptions. The home department simply procures replacement stock for the Lending Library.

Short-term employees and their managers will have access to AAACT’s expertise through personalized consultations, training and ongoing support. A consultation summary will be made available with best practices, approaches, links to resources, as well as technical information and specifications for the technology discussed.

The Lending Library Service pilot is ready to deliver quick services to short-term employees of the Government of Canada, wherever they work. This includes students hired to aid in the COVID-19 recovery and the Federal Student Work Experience Program. It is also available to term or casual employees brought in under the commitment to hire 5,000 persons with disabilities by 2025.

Need more information? Read the Lending Library step-by-step guide (available only on GC networks) to fast-tracked accommodations for short-term public service employees.

The AAACT Program

The Lending Library is administered by the AAACT Program. The Accessibility, Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology (AAACT) program mandate is to assist and integrate employees with disabilities, injuries or job accommodation requirements into the workplace, providing access to systems, programs, information, computers and other resources. This is a key element in supporting the GC’s commitment to hire 5,000 persons with disabilities by 2025.

For more information about the AAACT program, please email or call 819-994-4835, or toll-free at 1-866-442-2228. Standard hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday. However; non-standard times can be arranged given sufficient advance notice.

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