As the team at Ottawa-based Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care Inc. (PPRC) prepares to mark their 29th anniversary, founder and director of Rehabilitation Services Linda Simpson says helping employers access the disability talent pool not only advances inclusivity – it’s critical in today’s tight labour market.
“Many people with disabilities are well-educated, holding multiple degrees. On top of that, they’re motivated, reliable and dependable,” explains Simpson. “If employers don’t tap into this pool, they miss out on exceptional talent.”
Simpson’s growing team of nearly two dozen PPRC consultants, three quarters of whom self-identify as living with a disability, work on about 120 referrals annually supporting every stage of the employment journey.
Job developers connect with employers to understand their recruitment needs and match candidates to opportunities. Once the hiring process is completed, rehabilitation consultants support the employers and job seekers through onboarding, identifying any needed accommodations or training.
Once the new employees start working, PPRC’s job coaches are available to attend at the worksite for up to three months to support on-the-job learning. Further intervention or consultation can be provided as needed.
While much has changed over the years, helping people succeed in the workplace remains core to PPRC’s purpose. Their vision is to continually strive to optimize employment opportunities to improve the lives of their clients, team and community.
The beginnings of Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care
Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care launched as a team of four people in May 1994, the first company of its kind to offer mobile functional assessments in Canada. They focused on facilitating safe returns to the workplace after illness or injury. The team worked in the Ottawa area originally before expanding to Montreal and travelling across Canada.
Two years later, the young company hit a major hurdle following the theft of PPRC’s computer equipment. During the thirty months it took to settle the insurance claim, Simpson says there was the need and opportunity to reinvent PPRC.
It was also during that time when the Ministry of Children and Community and Social Services (MCCSS) was closing their vocational rehabilitation department and outsourcing.
Simpson and her business partner met with an American physiotherapist who invented and offered to lease (rather than sell) equipment supporting new mobile assessment technology. With the leased technology, they pivoted PPRC to deliver supported employment services in Ontario. This has enabled PPRC to hold a contract with the MCCSS for the last 26 years.
Over time, PPRC developed its own employability process complete with a digital case management system. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a heavier reliance on delivering remote and hybrid services, something Simpson’s team was already well-versed at in 2020.
Staying nimble and adapting quickly has served the team well over the years, and will be an asset as the Province of Ontario transforms employment services.
PPRC will be transitioning this spring to carry out projects in their catchment areas with two new Service Systems Managers, Serco Canada Inc. (Kingston-Pembroke) and WCG International Consultants Ltd. (Ottawa) who in turn have the overall project delivery responsibility to the Province – Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.
“We’re preparing for that change, taking the necessary steps to plan ahead and evaluate along the way, and make sure we’re advocating for our clients so that no one gets left behind,” explains Simpson.
PPRC serves clients across all levels of government as well as private organizations and not-for-profits.
Beyond recruitment, PPRC offers an array of services including disability awareness and etiquette training, which focuses on growing awareness of the many visible and invisible disabilities, and appropriate etiquette when interacting with those who experience disability in the workplace.
Simpson notes that while training is fee-based, there is no charge for employers to recruit from PPRC’s talent pool and subsequently access many support services.
After 29 years, Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care has grown to become the gateway supporting businesses to be more inclusive, accessible and sustainable in our communities. They provide gainful employment for their clients often resulting in life-changing outcomes as they benefit from improved health, lifestyle and careers.
For more information about Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care, www.pprc.ca or call 613-748-3220.