Ontario JOIN's 10th Annual Fall Employer Conference Features International Best-Selling Author Kristine Barnett


TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - November 15, 2013) - Almost 400 delegates representing Canada's private, public and non-profit sectors will come together today at the Westin Harbour Castle Downtown Hotel to celebrate the Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network's (JOIN) 10th annual fall conference, Top Ten How To's for Employing Persons with Disabilities, sponsored by Scotiabank.

"JOIN is proud of the past ten years, and to all of the speakers from around the world we have highlighted over the years, we thank you for sharing your insights and personal stories about disability and the importance of employment for persons with disabilities," says Deepak Soni, Chair of JOIN's Board of Directors.

This year's closing speaker, Kristine Barnett, and international best-selling author of The Spark, A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius, is the extraordinary memoir of a mother's love, commitment and nurturing, which allowed her son, Jacob, originally diagnosed with severe autism, to flourish into a recognized genius. Recently, Jacob's extraordinary mind earned him a coveted spot at Waterloo's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. By now his story is well known -- a child prodigy with an IQ of 170 -- higher than Albert Einstein's. By age 8, he was sitting in on university math lectures in Indiana and completed his entire high school match curriculum in two weeks. By nine he was writing his own physics theories. Warner Bros. recently snapped up the movie rights to the book. JOIN is delighted to have Kristine share why we must all drop our preconceived ideas about persons with disabilities and their abilities.

Employment for persons with disabilities continues to remain challenging across Canada. According to the International Disability Rights Monitor, 'Regional Report of the Americas', excerpted from United Nations Enable Disability and Employment Report, the unemployment rate of working age persons with disabilities is five times higher than any other demographic in Canada. "We need to change this and this event has been working hard over the past ten years to improve these statistics," says JOIN Board Chair, Deepak Soni.

"Scotiabank shares JOIN's vision to make our workplaces inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities, which is why we've proudly supported the fall conference for the past five years," says Sean McGuckin, Scotiabank's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. "There is a strong business need in hiring people with disabilities -- it's about tapping into a valuable resource of skilled and diverse talent to help achieve business results."

This year's conference highlights include:

  • Expert panelists who will share best practices in the field of disability and inclusion;
  • Workshop facilitators who have experienced tremendous shifts towards inclusion within their organizations and their communities;
  • Keynote presenters who will educate and inspire;
  • Access to tools and resources to assist organizations to meet their accessibility and inclusion goals.

Speakers attending throughout the day include:

  • Debbie Moretta, Assistant Deputy Minister, HR Service Delivery Division at HR Ontario, Ministry of Government Services
  • Hon. Ted McMeekin, MPP, Minister of Community and Social Services
  • Luncheon Keynote Address -- Geri Jewell, Actress, Comedian, Advocate
  • Sean D. McGuckin, CA, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Scotiabank

About Ontario JOIN
Ontario JOIN is a non-profit registered charity that brings together job seekers with disabilities and employers. JOIN represents more than 28 service providers who offer employment supports to persons with disabilities. The total number of clients JOIN agencies serve is greater than a quarter of a million clients -- majority of whom are looking for meaningful employment.

About Scotiabank
Scotiabank (BNS.TO) (BNS) is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic program, Bright Future. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $47 million annually to community causes around the world over each of the last five years. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.

Sharon Myatt
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