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Canadian Pacific (CP) is committed to employment equity and diversity. Through Workplace Accommodation Policies, CP is ensuring all eligible employees are able to come to work every day.

The decision to relocate CP’s Calgary headquarters to its Ogden Yard presented a unique opportunity to demonstrate the company’s desire to provide workplace accessibility to all.

Peter Quaiattini, who works in as a database administrator, has been actively involved with planning CP’s new headquarters to meet and exceed accessibility and employment equity requirements.

“CP is an inclusive employer,” says Peter. “It is critical that every component of our office, from internal and external applications, parking, to our washrooms, are accessible to everyone.”

Peter believes the same principle holds for CP’s external relationships, “You never know who is on the other end of the keyboard; perhaps a customer or fellow employee with a vision impairment or a motor-skill deficiency.”

Peter, who is legally blind, says he enjoys working with CP because, "working in such a large company has allowed me to excel in what I can do, and to focus on that, rather than on what I can't."

The level of expertise that Peter demonstrates in his field belies the fact that he is legally blind. “Since the time I joined CP, the company has provided me with the tools required to excel in whatever I’ve been asked to do.”

For example, Peter was provided with the JAWS adaptive screen reader program, which converts text into speech.

As adaptive technology has advanced, so too have the standards to which corporations are held. With the full support of CP’s executive group, Peter has worked successfully to ensure CP stays ahead. With the upcoming move to Ogden Yard, CP’s Facilities group consulted with Peter to ensure his safety and needs were being met.

"Members of our Facilities group have shown a keen interest to learn the requirements to make Ogden safe and accessible, both inside and out, for those of us who are visually impaired."

“In the design and implementation of the plans, we’ve been working hard to ensure the facility will be welcoming to all, and that special needs are considered.”  

Special consideration has been taken for lighting and air flow, wheelchair accessible washrooms and hallways, automatic doors on the main entry and washrooms and lower-height kitchen counters allowing for accessible sinks and microwaves. And, of course, the office furniture will be adjustable for individual needs and comfort.

In addition, Facilities has been working with CP’s Signals and Communications group, the City of Calgary, external safety suppliers and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) to ensure that pedestrian crossings, roadways and pathways around the Ogden entrances are accessible and safe for everyone to use. 

These considerations include ramped curbs with tactile walking surfaces at sidewalk intersections, and an audible beacon at the pedestrian rail crossing used as an orientation tool to determine the direction of the continuing pathway for the visually impaired.

Employees are already looking forward to the new amenities that the new building will offer such as: a gym, cafeteria, running track, outdoor seating areas, a reflection room, a private location for daily prayers or down time due to sensory impairments and plenty of green space. 

There will also be a Mother’s Room for women to tend to pre- and post- maternity requirements. Outside the building, there will be both special needs and expectant mothers designated parking spots.

CP’s new headquarters are approximately 12 kilometers south east of downtown Calgary. The main building is two floors, comprising 214,000 square feet. Employees will begin relocating  in August 2013.