The UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), the Australian National Disability Strategy, the Canadian review of their engagement with the UNRPD, and the Australian Human Rights Council (AHRC) national consultations all report a number of key factors blocking a person with disability achieving equal rights. One of those factors is employment.
Alastair McEwin, the AHRC Disability Discrimination Commissioner, and Annette Borrows, the President of the Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE), will offer insights into what is happening in Australia and Canada, exploring how each country provides people with disability support and the foundations to achieve true equal rights and opportunities through the social networks and economic security employment offers.
DES providers and people who work assisting people with disability to find sustainable employment are part of one of the biggest social reforms of the last 100 years. Alastair and Annette will lead a discussion in recognising that the work we do matters, not just to your local community but to developing the awareness and understanding of our society. Canada and Australia might seem like they are geographically a long way from each other but we have much to learn from each other if we want to achieve the same goal of significantly lifting the workforce participation rate of people with disability.
Disability Discrimination Commissioner
Australian Human Rights Commission
Alastair McEwin is Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner. He commenced in this role in August 2016.
Alastair’s educational background is in arts, law and business administration. Following his undergraduate studies in Adelaide, he spent time in Vancouver, Canada, pursuing postgraduate studies. Prior to moving to Sydney to commence as a consultant with Accenture, a global management and IT consulting company, he worked as Associate to the Hon. Justice John von Doussa at the Federal Court. Alastair has a strong background in working with non-profit organisations. He was the Executive Director of Community Legal Centres NSW, the peak body for Community Legal Centres in NSW. Other roles include CEO of People with Disability Australia and Manager of the Australian Centre for Disability Law.
Prior to commencing in his current role, he was the Chairperson of the NSW Disability Council, the official advisory board to the NSW Government on disability issues. He was also the President of the Deaf Society of NSW and Chairperson of the Australian Theatre of the Deaf. He has also been the coordinator of the World Federation of the Deaf Expert Group on Human Rights and an adjunct lecturer for the Masters of Community Management degree at the University of Technology Sydney.
Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE)
Annette Borrows has been serving people with disabilities towards employment for the past 20 years. Her experience ranges from working with people that have persistent mental health issues, those with mobility issues and more recently has focused on supporting people with developmental disabilities. All of her efforts are focused towards employment equity for people with disabilities.
Annette has a degree in Adult Education and an Employment Specialist post graduate certificate. She has also written and facilitates over 250 hours of workshops and courses focused on employment equity strategies for serving people with diversities. Annette has spearheaded and written content for Canada's National Supported Employment Best Practices found at www.employmentforall.ca. Annette currently serves on nine boards and committees nationally, provincially and locally. Annette is the president of CASE (Canadian Association for Supported Employment). Annette works in British Columbia, Canada, as an Employment Strategy Manager for Langley Association for Community Living, Delta Community Living Society and Community Futures of the South Fraser.