Article from the Canadian Hearing Society

Canadian Hearing Society position paper highlights disparity in employment rates for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians

November 30, 2016, TORONTO — Today, the Canadian Hearing Society released a new position paper highlighting the need for equal access to employment for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

This issue was recently highlighted in Quebec, where Uber, taxi and limousine drivers are required to obtain a Class 4C driver’s licence. Currently, the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, the province’s auto insurance agency, does not allow Deaf people to obtain a 4C licence even if they meet all other criteria.

“Equal access to fair, appropriate and barrier-free employment is a right for all Canadians, whether they are Deaf, hard of hearing or hearing,” says Canadian Hearing Society President and CEO Julia Dumanian. “By releasing this position paper, we are highlighting the disparity in the employment rates between Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians, and hearing Canadians. We are also addressing the communication barriers that sometimes exist in the workplace, and illustrating the ease of accommodating employees with disabilities and the value for employers who do so.”

According to Statistics Canada, the employment rate of working-age adults with a hearing disability is 47.9% – much lower than the employment rate for adults without a disability (73.6%). The position paper notes that according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, there were nearly 50,000 students with disabilities enrolled in colleges and universities in Ontario, pointing to a large pool of skilled, yet underutilized potential employees.

“Employment, education and training is a priority focus for the Canadian Hearing Society,” said Dumanian. “Many of the job seekers we support have valuable skills and education, and we work to find them an employer who can benefit from their talents. Each year, 250 people who are Deaf or hard of hearing find jobs with the Canadian Hearing Society’s support.”