Inclusive Design for Employment Access (IDEA)
An Overview of the Initiative

Four job opportunities with the Inclusive Design for Employment Access (IDEA) Social Innovation Laboratory

Four exciting job opportunities are available with a new initiative on the employment of persons with disabilities, called the Inclusive Design for Employment Access (IDEA) Social Innovation Laboratory. 

Please find the links to the four job ads below – please distribute widely.

  1. IDEA National Manager
  2. IDEA National Coordinator
  3. IDEA Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Associate
  4. IDEA Web Master and Social Media Designer

Persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Deadline is May 20, 2022.

Inclusive Design for Employment Access (IDEA)
An Overview of the Initiative

Nominated Principal Investigator (NPI): Emile Tompa

Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI): Rebecca Gewurtz

This transdisciplinary, multi-sectoral social innovation laboratory (SIL) named IDEA (Inclusive Design for Employment Access) and VRAIE in French (Vision radicale pour l’accès inclusive à l’emploi) designs, pilots and evaluates solutions for enhancing demand-side capacity to recruit, hire, onboard, retain and promote persons with disabilities in a range of employment opportunities. Within the SIL, we plan to also develop and maintain an accessible online platform for stakeholders to facilitate access to existing evidence-informed tools and resources, as well as to existing employment supports, programs and services.

Drawing on the collaborative co-design principles, the IDEA laboratory provides a platform for researchers, industry champions, technical experts and designers, employment service providers, persons with disabilities and labour/unions to collaborate on identifying priorities and building solutions that are piloted, evaluated, and scaled up. IDEA includes stakeholders in the work disability policy arena as active participants to help identify challenges, set priorities and rapidly transition to building solutions. The laboratory addresses the pressing need for tools and resources to improve demand-side capacity, establish a best-practice methodology for co-designing solutions, and develop co-design research capacity in the work disability policy arena.

In the IDEA laboratory, mixed teams are integrated in incubator hubs tasked with identifying, developing and evaluating tools and resources that address critical needs. There are three core hubs: 1) workplace systems and partnerships; 2) employment support systems; and 3) transitions to work and career development. There are two cross cutting hubs: 1) Inclusive Design and 2) Disruptive Digital Technology and the Future of Work. In each hub, mixed teams of researchers and industry /service provider /community /labour collaborators are working together to identify challenges, and then develop and evaluate prototype solutions targeting priority issues identified through environmental scans of needs/challenges, knowledge gaps, existing evidence-informed tools and promising practices. Incubator Hubs have co-leads to oversee hub projects.







Core Incubator Hub 1, Workplace Systems and Partnerships, is co-led by NPI Dr. Emile Tompa with collaborator Don Gallant. Tompa is an Associate Professor at McMaster University and Senior Scientist at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH). Gallant is Director of Ready, Willing and Able, a national program designed to increase the labour force participation of persons with an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Core Incubator Hub 2, Employment Support Systems, is co-led by Co-PI Dr. Rebecca Gewurtz with collaborator Francis Fung. Gewurtz is an Associate Professor at McMaster University. Fung is the National Manager, Rehabilitation and Clinical Services from the March of Dimes, a national organization focused on maximizing community participation of PWDs.

Core Incubator Hub 3, Transitions to Work and Career Development, is co-led by Co-Applicant (Co-A) and Early Career Researcher (ECR) Dr. Arif Jetha, Co-A and ECR Dr. Dan Samosh, and collaborator Sinead McCarthy. Jetha is a Scientist at IWH and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. Samosh is an Assistant Professor at Queen’s University. McCarthy is the Vice-President of Youth Employment Services (YES), a Canadian youth employment, counselling, and training service provider.

Two cross-cutting hubs incorporate subject matter central to the three core hubs. The first, Hub 4, Inclusive Environmental Design, is co-led by Co-A and ECR Dr. Mahadeo Sukhai and Co-A Dr. Jordana Maisel. Sukhai is the Vice-President of Research and International Affairs & Chief Inclusion and Accessibility Officer at the Canadian Nation Institute for the Blind (CNIB). Maisel is the Director of Research Activities, Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo.

The second cross-cutting hub, Hub 5, Disruptive Technologies and the Future of Work, is co-led by Co-A Dr. Jutta Treviranus and Co-A Angelika Seeschaaf-Veres. Treviranus is the Director and founder of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and a Professor at OCAD University. Seeschaaf-Veres is Chair of Industrial Design and an Associate Professor at OCAD University.

Four activity areas support tool and resource development across all hubs through our 5-Step Signature Methodology. The first, Knowledge Synthesis, is led by Co-A Emma Irvin, Director of Operations, IWH. The second, Evaluation, is jointly led by Co-A Dr. Hélène Sultan-Taïeb, and collaborator and ECR Dr. Alexis Buettgen. Sultan-Taïeb is a Full Professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Buettgen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at McMaster University. The third, Communications and Knowledge Mobilization, is co-led by collaborator Cindy Moser and collaborator Alec Farquhar. Moser is Director of Communications at IWH. Farquhar is a senior policy specialist who served as Director of the Ontario Office of the Worker Adviser and Director of the Occupational Health and Safety Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Labour before retiring from the Ontario Public Service. The fourth, Training and Skills Development, is co-led by Co-A Dr. Sandra Moll and Co-A Dr. Rafael Gomez. Moll is an Associate Professor at McMaster. Gomez is Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources and a Professor at the University of Toronto.

IDEA also has an Advisory Committee of 21 international, national and regional leaders in industry, labour, the disability community, government, and applied research with critical subject matter and knowledge mobilization expertise. Their expertise serves to assist with prioritizing research, identifying pilot sites for field evaluations, and championing IDEA solutions. The Advisory Committee helps set priorities, facilitate access to field expertise and knowledge, and ensure stakeholder expertise is leveraged throughout IDEA SIL activities. It helps with strategic planning, including identifying priority areas for research, and start up priorities in the four activity areas and in operations.