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Corporate Canada, It’s Time to Look Beyond Ramps and Elevators

Tim Rose
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published May 19, 2021

Canadians with disabilities have long faced significant barriers to employment. Now, more than a year into the major economic and social tsunami of COVID-19, those barriers have been exacerbated.

As a high-risk group, Canadians living with disabilities – both visible and invisible – have been more socially isolated during the pandemic, and a recent Statistics Canada survey shows that one-third of respondents with disabilities experienced job loss in the past year.

As a person with a significant physical disability, I have first-hand experience with the many challenges this community faces. For several years after completing postsecondary education, I was the unemployed, talented candidate with a disability, struggling to find a career.

Government of Canada Helps Employers Create Accessible and Inclusive Workplaces for Employees With Disabilities

News provided by
Employment and Social Development Canada

OTTAWA, ON, March 23, 2021 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada remains committed to building a more inclusive and accessible Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

One way to strengthen Canada’s workforce and economic recovery is to address the challenges experienced by persons with disabilities in securing gainful employment.

To help improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs, the Government of Canada introduced the National Workplace Accessibility Stream under the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

4 Reasons Why Hiring Disabled Workers Is Good for Business

The pandemic has hit the disabilities community particularly hard. This founder of a startup that makes software more accessible warns that’s a major loss for your innovation. By Cat Noone

Everyone has been struck by the pandemic, but the individuals who typically fail to be taken into account in society and business have felt some of the harshest blowback of all. Diverse employees have been facing greater challenges, work-related stress, and fear for their professional futures more than non-diverse workers.

For Job Seekers With Disabilities, Soft Skills Don’t Impress in Early Interviews

Research also finds discussing salary early in the interview process hurts all candidates Rutgers University
Science Daily,September 10, 2020

The findings, published in the International Journal of Conflict Management, contrast this with the results for candidates without disabilities who were positively evaluated when they highlighted either hard or soft skills during initial job interviews.

“Job interviews are challenging for everyone, but particularly so for people with disabilities who have always had difficulties presenting themselves favorably to gain employment,” said Rutgers Business School professor Mason Ameri.

“People with disabilities encounter an implicit bias that they will not be as productive as their non-disabled peers,” said Ameri, who co-authored the study. “Knowing how to navigate the conversation with potential employers is critical for leveling the playing field.”

A New Canadian Disability Benefit Modelled After the GIS? What Does That Mean?

John Stapleton
Open Policy Ontario, SEP 2020

The 2020 Speech from the Throne contained the following passage:

“COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities, and highlighted long-standing challenges. The Government will bring forward a Disability Inclusion Plan, which will have:

A new Canadian Disability Benefit modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for seniors[1].”

At best, I believe that a Canadian Disability Benefit (CDB) can place a new floor underneath current programs of every sort except for social assistance programs. Social assistance programs have always successfully installed themselves as last payer.

Unless, of course, the new benefit replaces social assistance.

Opinion: As Employment in Canada Continues to Struggle, It’s Disabled Folks Who Feel It the Worst

K.J. Aiello
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sept. 11, 2020

K.J. Aiello is a Toronto-based freelance writer.

Because of my disability, I spent almost two decades trying to find stable, gainful employment. I never found it. Instead, I teetered between employment, underemployment and unemployment. I struggled to pay my bills, sometimes choosing between food, rent or mounting student debt payments.

But here’s the deal: I had little to no ability to cope; my meagre sick days were used up before the end of the first quarter of the year. Oftentimes, I was unable to obtain a doctor’s note or even understand what was wrong with me. I was afraid, and, let’s be honest, I was told more than once that maybe the job just wasn’t for me.

COVID-19 Taking Financial Toll on Canadians With Disabilities: Survey

The Canadian Press – Aug 27, 2020

More than half of Canadians with disabilities who participated in a crowdsourced survey are struggling to make ends meet because of the financial fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, a new report suggests.

Statistics Canada published findings on Thursday gathered from approximately 13,000 Canadians with long-term conditions or disabilities who voluntarily filled out an online questionnaire between June 3 and July 23.

Unlike most of the agency’s studies, the survey wasn’t randomly sampled and therefore isn’t statistically representative of the Canadian population.

The responses indicate the pandemic has affected the ability of 61 per cent of participants age 15 to 64 to fulfil at least one financial obligation or essential need, including housing payments, basic utilities and prescription medication.

Air Canada Lays Off Blind Longtime Employee, Saying It Can’t Accommodate Him Amid Pandemic

By Christine Long and Selena Ross
CTV News, July 21st 2020

In 2016, Sean Fitzgibbon starred in an Air Canada promotional video about inclusion.

It showed him on the job, working as a stock-keeper. He was also given the company’s award of excellence for his service.

So it came as a shock when he got a letter saying the airline could no longer accommodate his medical condition.

Fitzgibbon has been legally blind for seven years, and last month Air Canada told him that now that it’s downsizing its workforce amid the pandemic, the company can no longer provide him with a suitable job that he can safely perform.

How COVID-19 Improved Accessibility for Job Seekers With Disabilities

The expansion of remote work and recruiting technology is leveling the playing field at work, experts told HR Dive. Kendall Davis and Nadzeya Dzivakova/HR Dive
by Aman Kidwai
Published July 17, 2020

Editor’s note: As the ADA approaches its 30th anniversary, HR Dive is taking a close look at employment issues affecting workers with disabilities. Stay tuned for related stories on recruiting, accommodations and more.

As businesses scrambled to create remote work infrastructure following pandemic-driven shutdowns, they may have also unintentionally advanced accessibility for workers with disabilities.

New York State Maintains Discriminatory Bar to Employment for Those with Less Than 20/40 Vision

Disability Rights Advocates challenges the State’s irrational, blanket disqualification of workers based on disability, seeks to bring hiring standards into compliance with the law June 10, 2020

New York, NY Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national non-profit legal center, filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the State of New York and several of its agencies. The Charge challenges the State’s bright-line rule disqualifying anyone with binocular vision lower than 20/40 from being hired as a Mental Health Therapy Aide Trainee (MHTAT), a State Office of Mental Health position that supports people with mental illness. The policy bears virtually no connection to the position’s duties, and excludes qualified candidates based on disability without considering if they can actually do the job, in violation of the American’s with Disabilities Act and the New York State Human Rights Law. Read the Charge of Discrimination at the link below.