People with disabilities a labour solution

Association challenges firms to ignore myths, increase hiring of untapped resource
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 02/13/2008

To survive and thrive in a time of skilled labour shortages, employers need to tap into all available pools of talent, including people with disabilities, according to the vice-president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) Ontario.

“We’re going through a time when there’s a lot of shortages in certain skill sets and there will be a huge exodus from the workforce over the next 10 years,” said Ian Howcroft. “We’re going to have to look to non-traditional sources of workers, including persons with disabilities, internationally trained workers, Aboriginal persons to meet the needs of future employers and businesses.”

People with disabilities are a largely untapped source of labour, especially in the manufacturing sector where they only made up 1.7 per cent of the full-time workforce in federally regulated jobs from 2001 to 2005, despite making up about 10 per cent of the working-age population, according to Human Resources and Social Development Canada.