BMO Financial Group
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BMO Financial Group
BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

October 14, 2010 12:00 ET

Help Wanted-New Program Will Open Doors to Lasting Employment and Meaningful Careers for Adults with Disabilities in Vancouver

BMO Financial Group and JVS bringing successful pre-employment training and support program to Vancouver area

- In 2006, the unemployment rate for all people with disabilities aged 15 to 64 was 10.4 per cent, which is higher than the non-disabled population at 6.8 per cent.

- The unemployment rate for people with disabilities in Canada is more than 50 per cent higher than people without disabilities.

- Innovative pre-employment training program aims to shatter glass ceilings for people with disabilities.

- Job retention is extremely high for people who have graduated through the pre-employment program - nearly 70 per cent.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2010) - BMO Financial Group and JVS Toronto today announced that they are launching an innovative program that will assist persons in the Vancouver area who are living with disabilities to find and maintain employment, and help BMO to recruit qualified candidates to meet its hiring needs in the Vancouver area.

The Pre-Employment Training program, which has been operating successfully in Toronto since 2005, matches highly talented persons with disabilities to progressive employers who want to benefit from the talent, knowledge and experiences a diverse workforce provides.

Under the program, BMO will work closely with JVS and partners in Vancouver to identify and recruit qualified people with disabilities who wish to pursue career opportunities at the bank. Before placing the job candidates, BMO will provide them with six weeks of on-site workshops and training to give them valuable work skills and support that is designed to help ensure a successful transition into their new jobs.

The Bank will also identify and implement workplace accommodations that will help the candidates successfully manage on-the-job challenges.

BMO, which is recognized for its leadership in fostering workplace diversity, has been an active participant in the pre-employment training program in Toronto. BMO believes it can duplicate the success of that program in Vancouver by tapping into the region's underutilized and talented labour pool.

According to Anat Wertheim, VP of Program Development, JVS Toronto, about one in ten (or 355,000) working age British Columbians lives with a disability. At 65 per cent, the labour force participation rate is much lower than the participation rate for those without a disability (79 per cent).

"This is a vitally important program for the city of Vancouver which has, at the heart of its sustainability, the need to ensure the social well-being of its people. And it is equally important to employers within the city, such as BMO Financial Group, whose ongoing success depends as much upon our ability to attract and retain the absolute best talent in the region as it does upon our ability to deliver innovative products and services to our customers," said Jennifer Muench, District Vice President Vancouver Centre, BMO Bank of Montreal. "We've experienced, first hand, the success of our pre-employment training program in the East and we're excited about duplicating these results in Western Canada. It's through initiatives such as this that we'll help create an inclusive workforce and further our value of embracing diversity."

"Challenges should not stop employers from pursuing opportunities to strengthen their business," said Ms. Wertheim. "When you hire someone with disabilities, you gain a highly-committed employee, and you start to eliminate the root of the challenges associated with hiring someone with disabilities by breaking down physical barriers, ill-informed presumptions and negative preconceptions."

BACKGROUNDER

Banks lead recruitment

Canadian financial institutions are at the forefront when it comes to recruiting people with disabilities.

Since 2004, the number of people disclosing a disability who have been hired by BMO has more than doubled (132 per cent).

In the Greater Toronto area, BMO has partnered with JOIN and ODSP (Employment Supports – Toronto region) to create the JOIN Business Leadership Network, which offers a single point of access for area employers to recruit candidates from all 23 JOIN member organizations.

According to BMO's ongoing Diversity Workforce Survey, three per cent of the bank's 30,000 permanent Canadian employees report having a disability; three percent of BMO's executives report having a disability.

About BMO

Established in 1817 and based in Canada, BMO Financial Group serves more than 10 million personal, commercial, corporate and institutional customers in North America and internationally. Our operating groups – Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal in Canada and Harris in the United States; Private Client Group, our wealth management business; and BMO Capital Markets – share one vision: to be the bank that defines great customer experience.

About JVS

JVS is a non-profit organization that was founded over 60 years ago to assist Jewish immigrants in finding employment after World War II. Today, the organization works with thousands of people from diverse backgrounds with diverse needs. JVS helps clients identify their strengths and goals, and develop the necessary skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school, work and life. Since 1947, this remarkable organization has enabled over 500,000 people to fulfill their potential.

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