Amazon breaks down barriers for the hard-of-hearing at Ottawa distribution centre
OTTAWA -- One of Ottawa's largest employers says it is taking extra care to make its workplace more inclusive for people of all abilities.
October is National Employment Disability Awareness Month and Amazon's giant distribution centre is breaking down barriers for people who are hard of hearing.
Inside Amazon 1000,000 square-foot fulfilment centre on Boundary Road in Ottawa's east end, safety is the top priority.
With more than 1,000 employees inside Amazon's centre, Learning Manager David Besharat wants to meet the needs of everyone.
"As well as ensuring the quality of their learning and training throughout their tenure and growth," says Besharat. "We provide on-demand and scheduled video remote interpreting services for our deaf associates."
Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa provides the services, and they offer the program for any employer wanting to enhance access for employees.
VRI offers instant access to a sign language interpreter or quick and clear communication with managers and other team members for employees like Bahnu Rijal.
"Sometimes if there's a barrier, I want to remove that so that both people are comfortable," says Rijal. "I really like the opportunity working here because in a few years from now, I'll be able to pick different goals."
The platform can also provide training programs and enhanced learning for those who want it. Susan Eagles started at the centre in August of late year. She says VRI helps.
"I've got some future goals with my employment here for example I'm interested in working in HR," she says. "I am able to actually see the information in my first language so I'm able to see information in sign language. I can actually see the interpretation via video."
Amazons Ottawa Fulfilment Centre currently employs 13 staff members who are hard of hearing. Associate Bharat Madaparthi says it is a step towards equality.
"I want to see that when there are deaf qualified associates opportunities for advancement happen."
Editor's Note: This story originally used the term 'hearing impaired' in the headline. After reader feedback, the story has been updated to use the more positive term 'hard of hearing.'