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Campbell: Hiring qualified disabled workers is good for business – and society

Published in the Ottawa Citizen on October 7, 2019

Written by Jeannette Campbell

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  It’s the official month every year for celebrating and recognizing workplace contributions of people who have a disability and business successes they help create.  But it is significantly more than that.

It represents a critical opportunity for all businesses to examine their recruitment strategies and make improvements. Statistics show many companies are still missing out on a vast untapped pool of employees: skilled people who have a disability.

The time for sourcing the disability talent pool is now. In 2013, the Conference Board of Canada projected the labour shortage could be one million people by next year. And according to a 2014 Miner Management Consultants report, it could be almost two million by 2031.

Then why isn’t business sourcing the disability talent pool more? The national employment rate of people who have a disability is 59 per cent, compared to 80 per cent of people without a disability.

As a nation, we’re really good at making our education system accessible for students who have a disability. In Canada, 50 per cent of people who hold a university degree have more than one disability. So do 67 per cent of people with trade certificates or college diplomas. But to what end are we making our universities and colleges accessible? Because the post-graduation roadblocks are up.

To read the rest of this article, please go to The Ottawa Citizen.

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