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Accommodations for people with low vision include providing seating where the lighting best meets their individual needs; making brochures, job announcements, and other information available in electronic format; and equipping computers with large monitors and screen enlargement software.

Our History

The Durham Region Employment Network (DREN), a not-for-profit umbrella network, established in 1993 and incorporated in 2001. The key function of DREN is to support the employment services sector, including employers and service providers, with the goal of improving employment outcomes for jobseekers with barriers.

DREN brings together employment services, educational and community supports, information services and economic development in ensuring that employment is accessible to all in Durham Region. We work with government, business, and the public and individual job seekers in breaking down barriers to employment opportunities.

Jobseekers with barriers are persons who experience closed doors because of a social, political, cultural, and/or physical environment. They are the underrepresented groups in the workplace. 

Persons with disabilities historically have been underrepresented in the workforce in Canada and are a primary focus of DREN. In 2006, barely half of the population aged 15 to 64 with a disability was in the labour force. We recognize that it is not functional limitations or health problems alone that prevent people from full participation, but rather obstacles in the socio-economic and built environment. Other groups underrepresented in the workplace are recent immigrants, Aboriginal people (especially aboriginal youth) and according to regional and provincial statistics: youth, older displaced workers and single mothers with children under six. 

To find solutions requires an integrated yet multi-faceted approach and that is why DREN’s membership combines employment services and community supports. To broker partnerships and spearhead innovative pilot programs we must all understand the challenges and recognize the opportunities. Our extensive knowledge transfer network is often the first stop for government, employers and community agencies that need to broadcast important updates and new programs. DREN provides to our over 50 members training and development specific to assisting underrepresented groups in the workplace. Employers are recognized at our annual EmployABILITY Awards and our conferences focus on topics that increase the participation of all Durham Region’s talent pool.

Contact us, we are here to help!

Vision Statement

DREN envisions a community where employment is accessible to all!

Mission Statement

We provide leadership in employment services through networking, resources, education and advocacy.


  • Innovation
  • Integrity
  • Excellence
  • Collaboration
  • Inclusion
  • Leadership

Board of Directors

The DREN Board of Directors is made up of eleven representatives from member organizations across the Region. They meet on a monthly basis to ensure the ongoing activities of DREN are in line with the strategic vision of the organization.

Chairperson:  Lisa Yassein, Northern Lights Canada 
Vice-Chairperson:  Paul Feldman, Computing by Voice
Secretary/Treasurer:  Karen Anderson, Durham College
Directors:  Candice Bridgman, Community Living APW
  Gaynor Blake, Ontario Works
  John Brudek, Ontario Shores
  Jennifer Gardner, Ontario Shores
  Pauline Reid, Region of Durham