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MaRS and CIBC launch second phase of Inclusive Design Challenge

Winners will secure funding for innovative solutions that reimagine the workplace

TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2021 /CNW/ - Today, to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, MaRS and CIBC launched the second phase of the Inclusive Design Challenge which aims to remove employment barriers faced by Canadians living with disabilities. With the first challenge focusing on recruitment, this next phase looks at 'Support at Work,' and seeks solutions that reimagine the workplace.

"Challenges are a proven method to stimulate innovation to find solutions for complex societal problems," said Alex Ryan, Senior Vice-President, Partner Solutions at MaRS. "By opening the problem-solving process to traditional and non-traditional partners, the Inclusive Design Challenge seeks ideas to reimagine workplace accommodations, increase access to assistive technology and create flexible work environments."

The Challenge is focused on innovative ways to redefine existing workplace environments to create better support for those living with disability. Innovators and members of the disability community will have until March 1 to submit solutions.

"We are committed to making inclusion the foundation of CIBC's culture. This includes removing barriers to recruiting, retaining and advancing top talent who live with disability," said Andrea Nalyzyty, Senior Vice-President, Chief Compliance Officer & Global Regulatory Affairs and Co-chair of CIBC's Accessibility Action Committee. "Creating workplaces that work for everyone contributes to business success and economic growth. This focus is strongly aligned with our purpose of helping make ambitions a reality, including the nearly 22 per cent of Canadians living with a disability."

Key dates:

Dec 1:   Submission period opens
Mar 1:   Submission deadline  
May 19: Winners announced

Proposals will be evaluated by an advisory council made up of members of the disability community and business leaders.

Earlier this year, the winners of the first Inclusive Design Challenge were awarded a total of $100,000 to support five solutions, including the winner Lime Connect Canada.

In addition to the MaRS partnership, CIBC supports people with disabilities through:

  • Recognizing the International Day for Persons with Disabilities with activations across Canada and accelerating progress on our commitments as a signatory of The Valuable 500, an international initiative that strives to put disability on the business agenda.
  • The Accessibility Action Committee partners with leaders across our bank to execute against initiatives on our 5 Year Accessibility Roadmap; we are focused on making CIBC accessible in office and retail locations, across our digital properties and products, in the way that we work and deliver products and services to our team members and clients.
  • Providing over $2.6 million in support for the next generation of leaders and changemakers from the disability community with a focus on educational and employment outcomes, including Good Foot, Holland Bloorview, and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).
  • Working towards a goal of at least 9 per cent of its Canadian workforce identifying as persons with disabilities by 2024 by leveraging key partnerships including Lime Connect and Specialisterne.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada, in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at

About MaRS

MaRS is North America's largest urban innovation hub. A registered non-profit, MaRS supports high-growth startups and scale-ups tackling key issues in health, cleantech, fintech and other sectors. In addition, MaRS convenes all members of the tech ecosystem to drive breakthrough discoveries, grow the economy and make an impact by solving real problems for real people — in Canada and around the world.


For further information: CIBC: or 647-456-4556, MaRS:; MaRS: