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Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation Launches New Business Case for Recruiting and Retaining People With Episodic Disabilities

Key Findings Show Cost Savings and Benefits for Canadian Businesses in Hiring and Accommodating This Large Population Segment

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – February 26, 2014) – The Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR) is pleased to announce the launch of The Business Case for Actively Recruiting and Retaining People with Episodic Disabilities, new research that looks at why Canadian employers should hire people living with episodic disabilities. Sponsored by Scotiabank, the project addresses the employment challenges affecting people living with episodic disabilities and examines the benefits to Canadian businesses in hiring this segment of the country’s population.

“Most people with episodic disabilities are eager and able to continue working, but many cannot do so without reasonable accommodation from their employers,” says Stephen Tattle, Acting Executive Director of CWGHR. “At the same time, employers face the negative impacts of losing experienced workers and the high cost of replacing them.”

Episodic disabilities are lifelong conditions like multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, HIV, hepatitis C, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, chronic pain, and some forms of cancer and mental illness. People with disabilities make up 14.3% of Canada’s population (Canada’s First Report on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2014), and yet unemployment rates among this segment are 10.4%, as compared to 7% for persons without a disability (Statistics Canada, 2014).

“At Scotiabank, we know that diversity and inclusion produces strong outcomes for business success and we’re proud to support the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation’s business case through our Bright Future philanthropic program,” says Deanna Matzanke, Scotiabank’s Director for HR Policy & Compliance and Diversity & Inclusion. “We share in CWGHR’s belief that it’s critical to tap into this underused pool because it offers a broad range of benefits for Canadian businesses.”

The business case revealed that the available talent pool in Canada is large and growing:

  • over four million Canadians are living with arthritis;
  • 20% of Canadians will experience an episode of mental illness in their lifetime;
  • between 55,000 and 75,000 Canadians are living with multiple sclerosis; and
  • 65,000 Canadians are living with HIV.

The study also found that the top two reasons why employers are discouraged from recruiting and retaining people with episodic disabilities are:

  • the perceived high cost of workplace accommodation; and
  • the perceived potential for decreased productivity.

“Despite the perceptions that employers may have, a Statistics Canada survey showed that 90% of people with disabilities did as well or better at their jobs compared with other employees. As well, a Deloitte & Touche LLP study in 2010 showed that 86% of this group rated average or better in attendance, and the retention rate was 72% higher,” adds Tattle. “This business case is a call to action for companies to become this segments’ employer of choice. And if they are already on the payroll, make it easy for them to stay and to give them their best.”

About the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation
The Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR) is a national charitable organization that promotes innovation and excellence in rehabilitation in the context of HIV. CWGHR is multi-sector and multi-disciplinary in its membership and its activities.

CWGHR bridges the traditionally separate worlds of HIV, disability and rehabilitation. CWGHR members include people living with HIV, community-based HIV and disability organizations, health professionals, educators, and researchers, privates businesses and the employment sector; all of whom have an important role in a comprehensive response to rehabilitation in the lives of people living with HIV.

In 2013, CWGHR marked its 15th Anniversary.

About Scotiabank
Scotiabank is a leading financial services provider in over 55 countries and Canada’s most international bank. Through Bright Future, our global philanthropic program, Scotiabank and its employees support causes at a grassroots level across six pillars: health, education, social services, arts and culture, environment and sports. Recognized as a leader for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has contributed on average some $50 million annually over the last five years to community causes around the world. Visit us at

Contact for media interviews and more information on this release:
Ms. Tammy C. Yates
Program and Communications Manager
Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR)
416-513-0440 ext. 240, or 647-760-6236;

Nadine Jahangir
Scotiabank Media Communications


This press release was issued by The Bank of Nova Scotia and was initially posted at It was distributed, unedited and unaltered, by CCRW on 2014-02-27. The issuer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the information contained therein.

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