NISIDOTAM: UNDERSTANDING DISABILITY TOGETHER!
In 2017, the FNHRDCQ conducted a study with employability agents in First Nations communities. They reported that the needs of people with disabilities are not yet well understood. Furthermore, they felt the need to be better equipped to provide appropriate support services. The FNHRDCQ and the Research Centre for the inclusion of people with disabilities (CRISPESH) have therefore sought to better understand what it is like to live with a disability in communities, as well as some of the resilience-enabling factors or challenging barriers for people with disabilities.
Our collaboration has allowed us to uncover two widely held misbeliefs regarding disability. The first is that disability is only a visible and mostly physical condition. According to the second, people with disability cannot work or live independently. This lack of awareness has many negative repercussions for persons with disabilities, their families, and their communities.
Therefore, the FNHRDCQ is committed to achieving three objectives:
Raise awareness and promote self-determination and advocacy of persons with disabilities;
inform the employment and training agents, so that they feel more comfortable and confident when accompanying a client with a disability;
develop tools and resources to facilitate workplace integration and retention of people with disabilities.
Skills Link Program: Three Young People Share their Experience
As part of the Skills Link program, three young First Nations people with disabilities participated in the organization of an awareness campaign to bring about behavioural changes towards disabilities. Inspired by their own experience, they showed leadership as they developed the following tools:
a poster and pamphlets on self-representation;
personal and video testimonials “Voices of the community”;
a logo and visual identity;
INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND NON-TRADITIONAL OCCUPATIONS
In 2016, the FNHRDCQ focused on the Indigenous female workforce, and more specifically on the place of Indigenous women in non-traditional occupations. It carried out a survey among these women clients of the four FNHRDCQ urban service centres in Montreal, Quebec City, Sept-Îles, and Val-d’Or.
The survey revealed that the proportion of Indigenous women in non-traditional occupations is very low compared to Quebec statistics. It also highlighted the presence of persistent personal and systemic barriers that prevent women from accessing training and integrating a non-traditional occupation. Three of the key barriers identified consist of low awareness of non-traditional occupations by Indigenous women, the strong perception of racism, and discrimination felt by women.
Considering these findings, the FNHRDCQ intervenes by improving access to training and integration into non-traditional occupations of Indigenous women, by addressing the systemic barriers and collaborating with partners to support these women’s efforts.
This inclusive intervention must necessarily involve, in addition to Indigenous women and the employment and training service centres, two other stakeholders, namely the businesses (“employers”) and educational institutions in non-traditional occupations.
With this in mind, we conducted a series of consultations with the three target groups with the purpose of producing a toolkit for them.