Why disabled Canadian’s find it hard to get employed
Many disabled Canadians today are finding it hard to get employment. This is despite the fact that many have good qualifications and are perfectly capable of doing the job. It makes it harder for disabled Canadians to pursue a career of their choice and mostly has to settle for jobs that they don’t really like but they have to do it because it accommodates their needs. An article by Aaron Broverman at TVO shines a light on this exact issue. He takes a look at the lives of a few disabled Canadians who, despite being well-educated, are unable to find suitable employment. Here is an excerpt from the article by Aaron Broverman looking at how Layla Therese, despite having good qualifications, is unable to find employment of her choice.
At 29, Thérèse, a Toronto resident, has earned an honours bachelor of arts in English and philosophy from Carleton University in Ottawa, a bachelor of education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, and additional qualifications in special education, adaptive technology and English as a second language — all certifications any school board will tell you are highly sought after in prospective teachers.
Yet, after two years of applications without a call from the Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and various Toronto-area private schools, Thérèse is one of many Canadians with disabilities who are highly educated, but unemployed.
The employment rate amongst the disabled is not at a reasonable level:
As you can see, despite being someone with qualifications that many schools would love to have onboard, Therese is still looking for employment. There are many services available from the Government of Canada such as Service Canada – People serving people. However, it seems like they are of not much help. Many companies don’t even provide accessibility to disabled Canadians and this leads to them not being able to go to the interview itself. Take a look at this quote from the article:
“I’ve lost count of the number of [places] I’ve sent my resume to,” Thérèse says. “In the first two to three weeks, I got upwards of a dozen callbacks. In my cover letters I clearly state that I have a disability, that I use a wheelchair, and I would ask, ‘Are you wheelchair accessible?’ Nine times out of 10 the answer was, ‘We had no idea you needed that. No, we’re not. We’re sorry. Best of luck in your search.’”
This is definitely a growing problem as a lot of the time, even though they get a callback, the company does not provide accessibility which means the chances of getting that job ends right before even an interview occurs.
The lack of companies willing to hire disabled Canadians or providing accessibility leads to many of them settling for part-time jobs or just staying unemployed. It also gets harder to claim disability tax credit since if you are not working, you don’t pay taxes which means you have nothing to recoup. This excerpt from the article quotes a study done by Brad Seward regarding graduates with disability and it’s shocking to see what the outcome is:
Brad Seward, a doctoral candidate at the University of Guelph, co-authored the national survey on graduates with disabilities, which studied 31,000 students across Canada, 1,600 of whom said they had a learning disability, emotional or behavioural disabilities or a physical disability. They answered questions two years after graduation and the outcomes “were staggering,” Seward told Nam Kiwanuka on The Agenda in the Summer. “What we found was that graduates with disabilities were much less represented in full time jobs and much more represented in part-time jobs and unemployment.”
As you can see, disabled graduates are either settling for part-time jobs or just staying unemployed. Even if they do get a part-time job, it is most likely in a field that they are not interested in or had their studies in. This leads to them being stuck in a job that they do not enjoy, and enjoying your work is a right every Canadian has. Therefore, the employment rate of disabled Canadians is not at an acceptable level. More than the government, it is the private companies that need to realize the importance of giving accessibility to the disabled as well as looking beyond their disabilities and judging them based on their qualifications.