Are employers making progress in hiring persons with disabilities?

Canadian province commits nearly $11 million to disability employment and career services

Are employers making progress in hiring persons with disabilities?

The Saskatchewan government has committed $10.8 million for Employability Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (EAPD) programming and services this year, allowing these workers to succeed in the workplace.

"Our government is proud of the effective and compassionate work performed by our career and employment service organizations from around the province," says Jeremy Harrison, minister of immigration and career training. "Our goal is to ensure all those who wish to enter the workforce have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed."

The funding provided by the province supports 73 agreements with 52 different service providers. One of those that received funding is Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada (VLRC) provides career and employment services to nearly 100 participants who are blind or partially sighted.

Read more: Alberta invests in people with disabilities, work-integrated learning

VLRC’s advice and guidance on furthering their career development help these people to prepare for, secure and maintain employment. With education and training opportunities and additional coaching supports, participants see increases to their capabilities with aid from assistive technology and low vision aids, reducing the impact of their disability. 

"Finding employment for persons with disabilities can be very challenging. Nationally the employment rate for people with vision loss is lower than other disability groups," says Dan Vodon, executive director of Manitoba and Saskatchewan for VLRC. "The Career Services program and supports greatly increases the chances of success for people in Saskatchewan with vision loss to gain meaningful and successful employment."

Hiring, supporting persons with disabilities

It seems management personnel are putting more importance into hiring persons with disabilities, according to a report from the Kessler Foundation, one of the largest public charities in the United States supporting people with disabilities.

Read more: Lack of support at work makes COVID worse for people with disabilities

This year overall, 32 per cent of supervisors feel it it’s very important to hire people with disabilities and 28 per cent of upper management are perceived as very committed to this goal. These were both upgrades from 2017, when only 22 per cent of supervisors felt it was very important to hire these people and 20 per cent of upper management was viewed as very committed to hiring


However, supervisors’ commitments diverged from upper management’s perceived commitment in other areas, according to the survey of 3,797 supervisors ages 18 and older working in the U.S. for organizations that employ 25 people or more.

When asked about providing employees with requested accommodations, 57 per cent of supervisors feel it’s very important, while 40 per cent of upper managers are seen as very committed. Slightly higher percentages were reported in 2017 as 66 per cent of supervisors felt it was very important to provide employees with requested accommodations and 47 per cent of upper management was seen as very committed in this area.

Read more: Employers not doing enough for workers with disabilities

“Taken together, these results about the commitment of upper management suggest that while many supervisors in an organization may support the goal of employing people with disabilities, when it comes to the details of realizing that goal, supervisors are perceiving less commitment and support than needed from upper management,” according to the 2022 National Employment & Disability Survey: Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Supervisor Perspectives.

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