Travis Spilak's Story

Working with someone who is blind or partially sighted is not a complicated process, and often only requires some small workplace adaptations.

"I don't feel that my experience working with Shan has been much different than my experience working with any other individual," said Regina-based Travis Spilak, SaskTel Security Manager – Systems for Corporate Security.

Spilak has worked with Shan Noyes for over six years as his supervisor.  Noyes is legally blind, and uses a guide dog to travel both independently and safely.

Noyes has been working for SaskTel for over 25 years as a technical analyst. "If given the opportunity to work, we can be just as productive as a sighted person," he said.

Previous to Noyes, Spilak worked with Ian Widdup, another SaskTel employee who is blind, and found both experiences to be positive ones.

"Although there may be some specific challenges for people who are blind or partially sighted that need to be kept in mind in the workplace, it isn't really much different than the requirements of other people I work with. I believe that all employees have specific requirements that they need in order to be successful at work." 

The required workplace accommodations were minor for Noyes.  He was given an office with a door so that his voice-over software on his computer and phone didn't disturb his coworkers.  His private office space also prevents distraction for his guide dog, Danson, and co-workers who may otherwise want to interact with Danson when he's working. 

Noyes also has a brail keyboard, scanner, and OCR software.  He has flexible work hours to help with the sometimes early drop off and pick up schedule of public transit, and receives assistance when interacting with non-accessible tools and processes. For example, older software, applications, or paper forms, etc.

The company's position statement is: SaskTel has long recognized the significant impact that diverse employees, including those who are blind or partially sighted, have on our workplace and our customer base.  It contributes to a focus on attraction and retention of diverse employees at all levels, and the resulting inclusion has, and will continue to provide, value to the province of Saskatchewan as well as our customers and employees of SaskTel.

Noyes also agrees with the concept of diversity. "Don't get hung up on a person's lack of vision, but instead focus on what the positive impact that individual can bring to your company."