Employment Supports - Not Helpful

Another lesson learned. This is meant as an education piece to illustrate the lack of understanding by the able-bodied.

I just discovered the ODSP employment supports worker, the one who was supposed to assist with job retention, has no understanding of barriers. As a result, her behaviour has led to the loss of my job.

Here is a summary of her actions:

In March, she joined me in a meeting with my employer about additional training opportunities. The employer wanted to train me separately from the other employees and I disagreed. My disability requires me to use a wheelchair but my level of comprehension is fully intact. The employment retention specialist agreed with the employer holding me back, so I was powerless to change anything.

In April the Access Bus went on strike for 60-days and when they came back, they had to take 6 buses off the road. My only way to get to and from work and arrive on time was to motor 1 hour to get there each day in my power chair.

In January the grocery store around the corner closed so, instead of it taking 30 minutes to buy groceries, it took 2.5 hours, because I had to factor in bus time.

In June, the department store that was also within wheeling distance closed. Now even more time had to be wasted on the bus.

In July the employer said they had to change the time of my shift because I was not trained on the new phone lines (the training that the employment retention specialist agreed my employer should train me on separately).

I panicked because I knew how inflexible my disability related services could be, so I emailed the employment specialist to ask for her help.

She obliged by calling a meeting with my employer and chose not to include me. I didn't even know the meeting took place until it was over. She wrote me to tell me she had the meeting and she would see me in 2 weeks to give me an update on what was discussed. In that email she assured me she was successful at negotiating a slightly better time for my shift.

The time she negotiated, of 10 am to 6 pm on Tuesday to Saturday, was not only impossible to accommodate with the bus, but according to the employer, it was one they never seriously agreed to offer.

Two days after the employment retention specialist met with my employer, the employer decided to call a meeting with me. In that meeting they said she was the specialist about my disability related supports, then insisted I had to accept the new shift time of 11:15 am to 7:15 pm. Since I had not been at the earlier meeting, I was powerless to say a word to counter the email report that was sent from the 'specialist'.

All I could do was, once again, try to describe the impact of the new community barriers to my employer and, when that failed, write a letter to the employment retention specialist to educate and hopefully get her support. Her response to my educational piece was to go to ODSP and, in an unprofessional manner, close my file. She then emailed me and told me I would have to start over again with ODSP; a process that can take several months.

And the upshot of all this? I broke down from the overabundance of stress and I eventually had to quit my job.

I don't know what else I can say except I wish I could get one able-bodied volunteer to take up the challenge of trying to live for a day in my shoes.

I would take away their car, the help of their spouse, kid, friend, or whoever, then tell them they would have to live with the bus as their only form of transportation. I would force them to get off the city bus every time a person with perfume got on, and I would deny them the opportunity to take a taxi or accept a ride with a friend (because a power wheelchair won't fit into a car), and then I would give them a list of items selected at random and tell them to go shopping when the stores are all closed.

I would also limit their choice of stores to the ones I can use. They would not be allowed to shop in a store that has steps or aisles that are too crowded for a wheelchair to pass through, because if it is not accessible, it is not a store I can shop in.

If they survive, I will pay them for lessons.

Please read my other Blogs:
Transit: http://wheelchairdemon-transit.blogspot.com
Health: http://wheelchairdemon-health.blogspot.com

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