Stereotypes hamper employment: Report

Bias against intellectual disabilities
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/20/2010

Outdated employer stereotypes and a welfare system that penalizes people with intellectual disabilities for working means these Canadians are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than the general population, according to the Canadian Association for Community Living.

“People have just assumed that this is a group of people who don’t belong in the labour force, if they think of them at all. This is based on our age-old stereotypes that people with intellectual disabilities really are vulnerable people who need to be taken care of by society. They’re not seen as contributing members of society,” said Michael Bach, executive vice-president of the Canadian Association for Community Living. “We’ve got to shift that perception.”

The association’s 2009 annual report card, Inclusion of Canadians with Intellectual Disabilities, found just 25.5 per cent of working age people with an intellectual disability are employed, compared to 75.5 per cent of the general population.