Article by: Statistics Canada

The challenge

We all have abilities, but some are more apparent than others.

From what we have seen in companies that hire people with disabilities—and from our own experiences as friends or family members of someone with a disability—we know that they can contribute greatly to business and to society. Yet despite an aging population and a looming labour skills shortage, this significant talent pool is being overlooked.

The evidence gathered from our consultations with Canadian private sector companies and existing research has convinced us that there is a business case for employing people with disabilities. This is good news for employers seeking talent, and for the approximately 795, 000 working-aged Canadians who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so. Almost half (340,000) of these people have post-secondary education. We must find ways to engage with and employ these individuals so we can benefit from their education and skills.

By connecting directly with employers, our panel set out to discover what can be done about the unemployment and under-employment of qualified people with disabilities in Canada. We explored the barriers—some physical and many attitudinal—but chose to focus on the positive. Our goal is to shine the light on best practices and successes among Canadian employers who have welcomed people with disabilities into their ranks. Their examples can help us learn and do better.

Read on, and you’ll hear about the real-life experiences of employers and their employees. You’ll be impressed with the ingenuity of their solutions, and learn how businesses are measuring the benefits of employing people with disabilities.

This report is a work of collaboration. We thank the many organizations and individuals who met with us and provided their valuable insights. Working together, we will find better ways to access the skills of Canadians with disabilities, and benefit from their contributions to a stronger economy.

We would also like to congratulate the Government of Canada for taking the initiative to establish this panel, and to thank the members of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Department of Finance Canada who supported us so well throughout. We were honoured to serve the public and work closely with those who do so day in and out.

Our hope is that through our efforts, employers will understand that an inclusive environment and diverse teams are better for business.

If you need more information or help in hiring people with disabilities please contact us at (780) 423-4106.