• AODA Deadline: Are You Compliant?
    AODA Deadline: Are You Compliant? AODA Deadline: Are You Compliant?

    AODA Deadline: Are You Compliant?

AODA Deadline: Are You Compliant?

As the New Year approaches we will all inevitably start putting together our resolutions for the coming year. Most of those resolutions will go out the door by February 1st, but there is one that needs to stick; creating an inclusive environment for people with disabilities. As of January 1st, 2015 the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires every workplace to have a concrete policy in place to make accessible customer service available to all Ontarians. When the AODA was passed in 2005 it ushered in a new era of inclusivity in Ontario but 10 years later, we are still seeing companies lag behind in its implementation. If there are 20 or more employees at your company you must be providing accessible customer service, which can be accomplished in 3 simple steps:

  • Step 1: Develop a policy that outlines how you will provide goods and services to people with disabilities.
  • Step 2: Provide training for yourself and your staff to understand how to best serve all customers with disabilities
  • Step 3: Using the customer service policy template, post your policy and training publicly and in a format accessible for everyone.

Moving forward after the AODA deadline, each company must also come up with a firm policy for dealing with accessibility moving forward, ensuring new workplaces, self-service kiosks and even websites can be used by anyone.

In theory, these policies and training should already be in place at all businesses across Ontario. While the government does its best to ensure this is the case, it can’t possibly police every single workplace in the Province. The onus is on us, the business owners, to ensure this legislation is carried out.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the impact this legislation will […]

By |November 20th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on AODA Deadline: Are You Compliant?
  • Which Came First, The Salary Increase or Great Performance?
    Which Came First, The Salary Increase or Great Performance? Which Came First, The Salary Increase or Great Performance?

    Which Came First, The Salary Increase or Great Performance?

Which Came First, The Salary Increase or Great Performance?

I was recently providing training sessions to the staff of a company who was implementing a new performance management system. People were eager to learn about what was changing, and training participants brought a lot of great questions to each session.

The question posed by one person concerned me greatly, and unfortunately, it’s not the first time I’ve heard a version of this. She asked, “what’s the point of evaluating performance when we haven’t had a salary increase in two years? Some of my colleagues feel they no longer have to work as hard if they’re not getting an increase each year.”

I want to challenge you the same way I challenged her. Whether you’ve ever felt this way or not, you may know someone who has and this could be an opportunity for you to encourage them.


Consider the situation impacting your employer’s decision not to provide an increase to salaries at this time. Is it something within their span of control or is it a situation like we all experienced in 2008 and beyond with the meltdown of the global economy? Some employers didn’t even survive that downturn much less provide increase salaries. Try to understand what is driving your employer’s decision. Once you understand that, the next question is one of reasonableness.


Is the action your employer is taking, or not taking, with regard to providing salary increases reasonable? Using our recent economic challenges as an example, is holding the line on all costs, including salaries, a reasonable decision to ensure the employer stays in business and as many of us as possible continue to have jobs? I know our family did some belt tightening and […]

By |November 4th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Which Came First, The Salary Increase or Great Performance?

A View from Cedarvale Bridge

A letter to the person(s) who painted graffiti of Swastikas on the Cedarvale Bridge in Toronto, Ontario, October 14, 2014.

Yesterday I was walking my beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog, Liberty, across one of my favourite places in Toronto, the Cedarvale Bridge. I always try to slow my steps over the bridge so I can embrace one of nature’s sanctuaries where everyone is free to meditate, to breathe, to heal, to ponder and to dream. It is an open expansive space where everything seems possible.



Yesterday, I had a different view. There were Swastikas marked on several of the posts and suddenly my boundless view was restricted by hate, fear, aggression and total disrespect for this beautiful space and the people who live here.


I address this letter to you, the Swastika maker. Who are you? Why would you do this? Do you know this Bridge turned 100 years old recently? Do you realize it is a pillar of beauty, of support, of vision, of connecting people from one space to another. It has history. It has survived the war where this symbol became the poster image of anti-semitism, destruction of all people, all beliefs and all practices that weren’t Aryan.

So, Swastika maker, what is your real message? Do you want to spread fear, intimidation and hate? Why? Why do you stand for these things? What happened to you? What do you think gives you the right to tarnish this space for the people who travel across it? I cannot find the origin for this quote but I heard it long ago […]

  • The Curse of Faux Celebrity The Curse of Faux Celebrity

    The Curse of Faux Celebrity

The Curse of Faux Celebrity

Robert George Kardashian was an American attorney and business man. He earned national recognition as O. J. Simpson’s defence attorney in Simpson’s 1995 murder trial. Robert Kardashian came from humble beginnings. His parents were ethnic Armenians and immigrants who worked tirelessly in a rubbish collection family business. Robert earned his way through high school, college and law school. Long before the O. J. trial he paid his dues as a hard working junior lawyer, working his way up to his eventual celebrity.

He had four children: Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob. After his early death at age 59 from esophageal cancer his ex-wife Kris and their children leveraged his hard earned success to create their own faux celebrity status through the reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians. That the media informs us of, none of his children nor his ex-wife earned a degree, worked their way through hard work or contributed in any meaningful way to the world around them. They obsess over broken nails while people in their community are barely eking out an existence. They are faux “celebrities” merely because they were related to Robert Kardashian.

Faux Celebrity is a problem because it focuses on feeding one’s ego through Facebook postings and Insagram snapshots rather than through genuine accomplishments and contributions. Self esteem comes not through social media “celebrity” but from working hard, being a good person, contributing to one’s friends, families and communities and earning success through hard work.

The real celebrities of this world are often unacknowledged heroes. They are the people who care for others just because it is the right and honourable thing to do; because it is what makes us the highest versions of ourselves. It’s the people who […]

By |September 30th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Curse of Faux Celebrity
  • Reading Recruitment Ads 101 Reading Recruitment Ads 101

    Reading Recruitment Ads 101

Reading Recruitment Ads 101

You are an enthusiastic job seeker.  I am an employer who needs to fill a job.  So far so good.  But here’s the rub – do your education, skills and experience match what I need?

Sounds easy to figure out but experience shows me that’s not always the case.  We seem to get into trouble somewhere in the translation between reality and desire.

Subjectively Reading the Job Ad

Job ads do a couple of things.  First, they define the job and what the employer is looking for in terms of skills, experience, etc.  Second, they allow you, the job seeker, to reflect on how closely you match the job requirements and self select in, or out.

However, you like the sound of the job, you’ve heard this is a good employer, maybe they’re very handy in terms of location, and the salary is attractive.  Suddenly the ability to be self-assessing and realistic becomes clouded by what’s in it for you as opposed to what’s in it for the employer.  Yin needs yang because they are interdependent and inter-related.  If both aren’t in harmony it won’t happen.

Before submitting your resume put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes.  Based on your experience and what the job ad calls for, would you really hire you, or would you be looking for someone more closely matched to the position?  Remember, most recruiters operate on the understanding that past experience, results, behaviour, etc., are the best predictor of future success.  If you haven’t actually done the work at, or at least close to, the level of accomplishment required in the job ad then you’re likely engaging in an exercise in futility.

Assuming The Neat But Totally Unrelated Things You’ve Done Will Make A Difference

You’re a […]

By |September 10th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Reading Recruitment Ads 101
  • Your Horrible Boss! Your Horrible Boss!

    Your Horrible Boss!

Your Horrible Boss!

No, I haven’t seen the movie – I don’t need to because I’ve not only read the book I’ve seen the stage production in far too many workplaces.  There’s not much the movie can add to the real life experience.

People want to know what they can do to improve the situation when reporting to a horrible boss and recently I saw someone from a recruitment organization on TV who shared his perspective on how to handle a horrible boss.  His take was to meet with the horrible boss and explain the situation from your perspective.  Let them know how their behaviour affects you and your work and then discuss how the two of you can work differently in the future.

That’s a very reasonable approach and one I would support if you weren’t dealing with an unreasonable person.  You can try to be reasonable, but it’s at your own peril.  In my experience you might as well pour gasoline on yourself and strike a match.  You’ll get the same outcome.

Here’s my perspective and it’s based on years of experience in the HR trenches.  Under no circumstances try to reason with a really horrible boss.  I’m not talking about the boss who has high standards of performance, looks for regular results or expects you to act in a responsible and accountable manner by showing up on time.  Those are reasonable expectations.  I’m talking about unreasonable, abusive, intimidating psychos who treat people disrespectfully and leave a body count in their wake.  There is no reasoning with these individuals and if you try to go there you’re just setting yourself up for more pain.  A great person I really respect tried the “let’s sit down and have a heart to heart” […]

By |August 19th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Your Horrible Boss!
  • Opinions
    Not All Opinions Are Created Equal Not All Opinions Are Created Equal

    Not All Opinions Are Created Equal

Not All Opinions Are Created Equal

We are living in a very unusual era where through social media, everyone can have a voice and everyone can have an audience. People are using virtual venues as places to tout their beliefs, their ideas, their dreams, their criticisms and their opinions. I love that we live in a country that cherishes free speech and that now people have the opportunity to express their voices through blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. and can let the world know where they stand on issues and how they feel about matters that are important to them.

This is empowering for people and can create possibilities to impact issues with broader public input than ever existed before. I can simply click a like button or be another viewer of a YouTube video and my behavior is calculated as a valuable statistic representing social interest in a particular matter. This is an incredible social development that has allowed individuals who once may have been considered a hermit or a sufferer of social anxiety to have a safe way of participating in conversations.

Those points reflect just some of the many positive outcomes of this phase of social media. I want to talk about another aspect of it though that troubles me. There is often a lack of filtering, reflection and fact-based knowledge informing the comments of individuals who abuse this great virtual vehicle of communication. I am going to say something that might sound harsh… The fact that you feel something strongly neither makes it true nor is it a sign that what you’re experiencing should be expressed as an opinion.

A gut feeling is not necessarily a sign that what you feel in reaction to something is accurate.

I […]

By |August 11th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Not All Opinions Are Created Equal
  • Young man smoking pot
    Marijuana Is NOT Safe Marijuana Is NOT Safe

    Marijuana Is NOT Safe

Marijuana Is NOT Safe

Did you know that marijuana can cause drug-induced psychoses?

I want to talk about the significantly under-publicized dangers of Marijuana use.

Did you know that if you have a predisposition to a condition like Bipolar Disorder you may never experience the severe symptoms of this disorder, but if you use marijuana it can trigger the onset of this illness or Schizophrenia which may then follow you for the rest of your life?

Did you know that if you are a chronic pot user you may be self-medicating a mental illness and actually aggravating the condition to potentially end up with a full blown psychosis?

Joints on schoolbook

It’s more common than people realize.

A 2012 article hosted by the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP) states: “One systematic review estimated a 40 percent increase in the risk of psychosis among adolescents who had tried cannabis and a 50 to 200 percent increase among more frequent, heavy users. Daily use of cannabis in high school is associated with a six-fold increase in depression and anxiety later in life.”

In my 15 years as a clinical psychologist I have been seeing more and more bright, young, talented people who were leading successful lives experiment with pot and end up having a psychotic break. They attend a music festival, a party or go on a marijuana binge on their own or with friends and the outcome is devastating. It is real and it is serious and the effects are not limited to children and adolescents. When someone has a psychotic break it takes […]

By |August 8th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Marijuana Is NOT Safe
  • Live Every Day To The Fullest Live Every Day To The Fullest

    Live Every Day To The Fullest

Live Every Day To The Fullest

My Uncle Tom was quite the character.

My dad loved to regale us with stories of his older brother’s antics and influence on his life. Tom was born in 1914. Dad’s father, my grandfather, worked for CN Rail and was away most of the time, working hard at one of the few jobs available during the depression. So Tom became the “father” of the household because he was the oldest of the eight children.

My dad told the bitter story of coming home from school one day to find the tiny family home burning to the ground. Everyone was in a panic as water poured into the house from the few available hoses. Eventually the fire smouldered to nothing. When the smoke cleared the old family piano was the only thing still standing. Tom walked up to it, brushed off the ashes and sat down. He tested the sound and then started a rousing rendition of “Roll out the barrels, we’ll have a barrel of fun,” actually getting those in the gaping crowd to join in.

Later in life Tom and his wife, my aunt, bought a convenience store in a small town and lived upstairs. One night they heard noises and rustling downstairs. Tom crept into the shop and discovered two hooligans rifling through items and looking for cash in the register. He switched on the lights. The two guys were startled and one raised a gun at Uncle Tom threatening to shoot him if he didn’t back off. Tom sauntered over to where he stashed his scotch and told the guys to relax and have a drink. He assured them in an easy fashion that he wasn’t […]

By |July 30th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Live Every Day To The Fullest
  • Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

    Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives

I have a dear friend who was just diagnosed with cancer – for the second time. Nine years ago she overcame breast cancer, married a wonderful man and built a lovely life with him after a painful divorce. I was so happy for her.

Three weeks ago she shared with me that she couldn’t move her fingers. I noticed her speech was somewhat impaired and I thought, “stroke” urging her to get to the hospital quickly. She arrived in emerg in the middle of the night. Within hours they diagnosed her with tumors on her brain and in her stomach.

Her husband was devastated. He had lost his first wife to cancer.

When I went to visit her the next day I was upset and prepared for the worst. She surprised me. Her sense of humor was intact, her optimism unaffected and her inner peace unsettling.

“How are you?” I asked. “I’m ok,” she said. Then she laughed. “Sam (not his real name) and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in emerg, drinking apple juice and eating hospital food.”

My friend is just an average everyday person – on the outside. But on the inside she is a hero: filled with courage and peace, rooted in belief, demonstrated in strength through the overcoming of adversity, and a resiliency of spirit.

Are you someone’s “hero?” If we strive always to be the best versions of ourselves possible, we have the opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the lives of others in our everyday lives: friends, colleagues, children, grand children partners…even strangers.

Key Thought: Strive to leave a lasting impression of hope, courage and resilience in the people of your everyday life.