Lending Library Service Pilot Project
Quick access to short-term accommodations, adaptive technology, services and tools for public service employees with disabilities or injuries
The Lending Library Service is a pilot project led by Shared Services Canada (SSC), and is funded in partnership with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, through the Centralized Enabling Workplace Fund.
Launched in early 2020, the pilot was originally designed to meet the needs of short-term public service employees such as students and casual workers who required workplace accommodations due to an illness, disability or injury. By providing quick access to short-term accommodations, adaptive technology, and services, the Lending Library aims to address barriers that delay access to specialized services and workplace adjustments for employees.
Since then, the pilot has adapted and evolved. It has now been expanded to be available to a broader group of public service employees, including:
- Determinate employees with disabilities, illnesses or injuries allowing them to focus on their job and training, gain valuable work experiences during their terms and deliver services to Canadians (determinate employees are employed on a temporary basis and include students, interns, casual and term employees).
- All public service employees with disabilities, illnesses or injuries (both determinate and indeterminate) who:
- remain at work when they are experiencing the short-term or occasional effects of an illness, disability or injury.
- need light and portable adaptive technology solutions because they:
- are away from their primary work location for work-related training or travel;
- work at multiple locations (such as at home and GC workplaces).
Quick facts about the Lending Library Service pilot
- The pilot is managed by SSC’s Accessibility, Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology (AAACT) program and is equipped with a wide variety of adaptive technology and tools.
- Public service employees can try out and use adaptive tools at no cost to their department.
- The pilot allows:
- determinate and indeterminate employees who have short-term accommodation requirements and need to borrow adaptive hardware, software and equipment when they are experiencing an injury, illness or episodic disability.
- determinate employees, including term or casual employees hired under the Federal Student Work Experience Program, to borrow adaptive solutions for the entire length of their work term.
- The Lending Library provides mobile options through lighter, portable adaptive technology solutions that mirror existing workplace set-ups to better enable employees with disabilities, illnesses and injuries to work in multiple locations, including coworking spaces.
- Employees and their managers have access to a wide range of accessibility-related services and ongoing support provided by AAACT, including personalized consultations, training and workplace accommodations.
For more information:
- Read the Lending Library step-by-step guide (available only on Government of Canada networks)
- Contact AAACT by email or toll-free at 1-866-442-2228. Standard hours of operation are 9 am to 5 pm Eastern time, Monday to Friday. However; non-standard times can be arranged given sufficient advance notice.
On April 22, 2020, the Government of Canada 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 AAACT program
AAACT’s 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 Government of Canada’s commitment to hire 5,000 persons with disabilities by 2025.
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