enABLE@Cenovus: Supporting staff with disabilities while fostering informed allies
December 2022 – Have you ever had to run to catch an elevator? Now think about what that might be like if you had mobility limitations. Bringing these kinds of perspectives to the forefront is a priority for members of enABLE@Cenovus, one of Cenovus Energy’s employee-led inclusion and diversity networks.
Formed in 2018, enABLE@Cenovus’s mission is to promote education, awareness and understanding for staff who have or are supporting individuals with physical or mental disabilities.
“We have 150 members in the network and the demographic is approximately 50/50 ― half have disabilities while the other half are allies who want to learn more and help advocate for their colleagues,” says Janet Thompson, Senior Regulatory Technician and Chair of the enABLE@Cenovus network.
Throughout the year, the network holds events such as presentations from members on topics like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia, to help educate and promote opportunities for allies to be more inclusive at work. Members of the network also took part in Mobility Change Makers YYC, an awareness event where participants use wheelchairs for a day to gain insight into the everyday challenges for people with mobility limitations.
“It was an eye-opening activity that highlighted the accessibility considerations people with physical disabilities encounter on a daily basis,” says Janet. “In my experience, wheeling myself up the ramp and into the office building required a great deal of effort and I felt tired before even starting work. The day after, I could barely hold a pen because my hands were so sore from pushing the wheels of the chair.”
At Cenovus, one of our values is to Protect what matters. The enABLE@Cenovus network helps protect our most important asset ― our people ― by giving staff a safe space to speak out and seek support.
“From what I’ve seen, people in the workplace often don’t want to identify themselves as having a disability,” says Janet. “enABLE provides an inclusive space for them to do so because we focus on who our members are as individuals and the unique perspectives they bring.”
enABLE@Cenovus is helping to drive change in the workplace by collaborating with several groups across the company to enhance our physical workspaces. By partnering with the Workplace team, enABLE@Cenovus activated the installation of water dispensers in our Calgary office locations since the kitchen sinks can be difficult to access for those in wheelchairs. In our field locations, we’re implementing a new design at our camps to include a fully accessible room on the first floor of each new building. enABLE@Cenovus has also partnered with the Information Technology team to ensure our meeting spaces are updated with better sound and visual equipment and that there are processes in place for people to request specialized equipment if needed.
enABLE@Cenovus also actively advocates for employees with disabilities by providing feedback, insights and suggestions to support employment inclusion practices, like influencing employee benefits to help address needs of people with disabilities and supporting inclusive hiring practices and programs that help Cenovus attract and retain talent.
“Persons with disabilities face unique challenges and have diverse experiences,” says Janet. “By actively seeking out their perspective, it helps us make better business decisions, identify innovation opportunities and foster a diverse and inclusive workplace.”
Our inclusion and diversity networks are intended to help foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. These networks are open to all staff and aim to provide peer support, increase awareness of key topics, trends and issues and influence Cenovus’s practices and programs to enhance the experience of all staff. Learn more.