Employers not doing enough for workers with disabilities

2 in 5 Canadians say employers doing bad or terrible job in recruiting from this group

Employers not doing enough for workers with disabilities

When it comes to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) policies in the workplace, four in five (78 per cent) Canadians say disability should be included, according to a report from Angus Reid.

And 40 per cent say that employers are either bad or terrible when it comes to hiring from this group.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of those with severe disabilities say that companies are bad at hiring people with disabilities, while 46 per cent say the same about the supports offered by corporate Canada to disabled employees.

And 39 per cent of those living with disabilities say that Canadian companies have a way to go when it comes to supporting their employees who have a disability, according to the online survey from Aug, 16 to 20, 2021 among 2,085 Canadian adults, including a national general population survey sample of 1,610 as well as an augment of Canadians living with disabilities.


Disabled women are more likely to say companies are doing a poor job of hiring those with disabilities (45 per cent) than their male counterparts (35 per cent).

Among those with the most severe disabilities, many ranked Canadian employers as either bad (33 per cent) or terrible (13 per cent) when it comes to providing workplace supports. In contrast, 46 per cent of those with the least severe disabilities say that companies did a good job in this regard.

Over three in five (62 per cent) of all Canadians say they would be more likely to give their business to a company or organization if they knew there were specific policies in place to support those living with disabilities.

In June, as part of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), the federal government announced it was looking for feedback and insights.

Workplace flexibility helps

Advocating for continued workplace flexibility is one way that workers and employers can support workers with a disability, according to Ashley Harris Whaley, project manager of engagement and communities at the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.

“Now that offices are reopening or planning to reopen, use your privilege to advocate for remote and flexible hours as a fixed benefit. This allows disabled people to start or support families, return to school, or plan necessary medical appointments in a way that’s less compromising and more accessible,” she says.

Other ways that will be helpful include ensuring digital accessibility for workers, doing away with assumptions, listening to the specific needs of workers and educating oneself.

Plenty of employers talk about becoming more inclusive and diverse, but for many disabled workers, their words ring hollow. However, there are a number of simple steps that organizations can take to help them along the journey to become truly disabled-welcoming, and it starts with “the self-awareness piece,” says Tova Sherman, CEO of the reachAbility Association in Halifax, in talking to Canadian HR Reporter.

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