Peer Involvement In the Employment Process At CPA Ontario


A study by M. Tonack et al. (1998), involving consumers with spinalcord injuries, found that peer mentoring is an effective means ofhelping people find and maintain employment. Clients looking for work or starting a job placement are matched with working people who have mobility limitations. Mentoring is undertaken prior to job placement or in the initial phase of placement.

The Peer Mentoring Program in the Employment Resource Centre (ERC) at CPA Ontario utilizes a client-driven model with a comprehensive service package to help clients develop a self-directed plan toward preparing for, seeking, attaining and maintaining employment. The resource centre was created with funding from Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

Mentors are volunteers who have a mobility impairment and have made a satisfactory adjustment to the major social, psychological and physical barriers to employment which accompany their disability. They provide support to another person with a mobility impairment who is searching for employment. The program coordinator and client work together to determine the mentor characteristics most relevant to their career goals, including: type of education or training,type and/or location of employment, and type and/or onset of disability. The client is encouraged and coached to make the first phone call to their mentor. Meetings can occur over the phone, electronically, or face-to-face, and
they range from a one-time interaction to a relationship that lasts over several months.

The match removes the “service provider – client” relationship, which is not to discount the value of vocational counselors, education or training programs. Mentoring ensures the client is an active participant rather than a passive spectator in the search for employment.

Questions or comments regarding this program or the ERC can be directed to the Peer Mentoring Coordinator at or Toll-Free 1-877-422-1112 ext. 239.

Assisting persons with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities to achieve independence, self-reliance and full community participation.

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Sandra Mills is the Acting Manager of CPA Ontario’s Employment Resource Centre.


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