With over 16,000 workers, the City of Ottawa is one of the largest employers in our community. Christine Malone tells us the City has found the educational opportunities EARN extends to its members and the connection to skilled individuals valuable. She talks further about career opportunities with the City, and how the organization is working to remove barriers to the workplace for persons with disabilities, and bringing an inclusion lens to all they do.
Tell us about your organization. What’s the one thing you are known for?
- The Corporation of the City of Ottawa is the Municipal Government of the nation’s capital and provides services to its diverse residents and visitors;
- Comprised of 23 wards represented by elected City Councilors who form City Council chaired by Mayor Jim Watson; and
- Employs over 16,000 workers, within nine departments plus Ottawa Public Health and the Ottawa Public Library.
What types of positions do you recruit for on a regular basis?
- The City workforce includes hundreds of occupations from every sector of the labour market, including but not limited to, administration, skilled and semi-skilled labour, professionals in every field, and management;
- Jobs are posted continuously on the City’s website, both those for specific positions, inventories and summer jobs;
- Inventory examples: Personal Support Workers in Long Term Care and instructors within Recreation, Culture and Facilities Services; and
- Summer employment geared to students returning to academic studies in the fall – note recreational, cultural and facility services do not have this requirement.
How do job seekers apply for positions within your organization?
- All external positions are posted at https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/jobs-city
- as well as LinkedIn and other websites that are specific to the role;
- Individuals who are interested in applying for positions are asked to create a profile on the Applicant Management System;
- This profile outlines the various skills and abilities the individual would bring to a position and can be customized to reflect the particular requirements of the job; and
- If an individual has difficulty with the Applicant Management System, contact an HR Service Centre at 613-580-2424 extension 47411 or work with a service provider for ongoing support.
Who is your ideal candidate? What skills/competencies are important to your organization; do you build some of these on the job?
- Given the varied nature of the jobs posted, there are often specific education, skills, competencies and certifications required I. E., requirements for technicians or specific designations in certain professions, it is important to have these depending on the position;
- The City of Ottawa strives to be responsive to the needs of its residents and wants to see individuals who reflect the community it serves;
- It is key to have the ability to work as part of a team;
- A ‘client centred approach’ is used when working internally with colleagues and externally with the public; and
- Some roles require creative problem-solving and it is important to incorporate a variety of perspectives in the work that is done by city staff.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to build a career in your organization?
- Individuals are advised to work with their service providers to ensure that their profile reflects the skills and abilities needed when they apply for positions, and if any concerns or barriers with the system occur they are advised to contact the HR Service Centre for assistance;
- Customize their profile and or cover letter for each application as needed to directly reflect the requirements in the job posting. While many skills may be transferable applicants need to demonstrate how the skills an individual has match specific requirements in the job posting;
- Two Tips: use key words from job postings and create a unique cover letter for each application;
- Temporary/Part-time and/or casual positions are a way into the organization and offer the opportunity to apply for internal positions; and
- If workplace accommodations are required to be successful in an interview or the position once hired, individuals are encouraged to disclose these needs.
How are you committed to providing employment that includes professional development and progression for persons with disabilities?
- The City of Ottawa is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce representative of the community served, including persons with disabilities, and to have a variety of perspectives;
- Employees with a broad range of experiences allows for greater creativity, problem-solving and innovation in the workplace;
- There is a voluntary self-identification survey for applicants and employees who wish to identify themselves as being from one or more of the equity groups (this includes persons with disabilities). People are asked to identify so the City has a sense of how representative its staff are and to continue to work to remove barriers and towards full inclusion;
- Each employee develops a personal development plan that looks at their career goals and how to work towards them. There are a variety of learning opportunities for staff to increase their personal development i.e. job shadowing, mentoring and various skill building courses;
- Work continues towards the removal of barriers in the workplace and to bring and inclusion lens to all policies and practices; and
- As a founding member of EARN, the City has found both the educational opportunities and the connection to skilled individuals very valuable.
More broadly, what policies and practices has your organization developed to create and champion an accessible and inclusive workplace for persons with disabilities?
- The City adheres to the AODA (the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) and has incorporated diversity and inclusion into its strategic planning;
- There is a corporate diversity and inclusion plan that sets out specific goals and activities to increase representation and inclusion in the workplace;
- The City of Ottawa has practices and policies to promote accessibility and inclusion in the workplace, some of these include:
- working with community and service providers to outreach to jobseekers with disabilities;
- ongoing engagement with EARN;
- updating hiring tools and interview practices to increase inclusivity and proactively remove barriers; and finally
- policies include, but are not limited to, equity and diversity policy, workplace accommodation policy, accessibility policy, procedures for accessible information and communication supports.
Many thanks are extended to Christine Malone, Diversity Consultant with the City of Ottawa and Chair of EARN’s Leadership Group – Employers, for generously giving of her time, to conduct this interview.
To find out more about jobs with the city: https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/jobs-city
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