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Private Sector Signals Strong Support for Labour Force Inclusion of People with Disabilities


Labour Force Inclusion

For Immediate Release
January 16, 2013

Private Sector Signals Strong Support for Labour Force Inclusion of People with Disabilities

Federal Ministers Diane Finley and Jim Flaherty released the Report of a panel of private sector leaders and disability experts appointed by both Ministers, and titled Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector.  Laurie Larson, President of the Canadian Association for Community (CACL) Living said, “The report marks a very positive step toward securing greater labour market access and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities.  CACL congratulates Ministers Finley and Flaherty, and the panel who prepared the report.  If more employers could take the leadership portrayed in this report, people with intellectual disabilities would begin to make much needed headway in Canada’s labour market.”  As the report makes clear, hiring people with disabilities makes good business sense. More and more employers are recognizing the benefits of hiring people with intellectual disabilities as valued employees. Those who have hired report overwhelmingly positive results.
Yet we know that people with intellectual disabilities are still vastly underrepresented in the labour market. Canada is experiencing economic and labour force challenges and both Ministers emphasized that increasing labour force participation of people with disabilities will help boost productivity and address labour shortages. Michael Bach, CACL Executive Vice-President said “Canadians with intellectual disabilities want to be part of the productivity solution, and this report begins to show how that could be possible.  Add to employer leadership other key conditions – transitional support from school to work for youth, entrepreneurship opportunities, improved access to post-secondary training and education, and effective community support services – and we would see a dramatic improvement in the current labour force participation rate of only 25% for Canadians with intellectual disabilities.”
As the report also makes clear, employers face challenges in recruiting and retaining employees. There are excellent pockets of innovation in communities throughout the country that are responding to this increased demand for reliable and committed employees. A comprehensive strategy to scale up these efforts is needed if we are to make a dent in the employment gap between people with intellectual disabilities and those without. 
For more information please contact Michael Bach at 416 209 7942 - mbach@cacl.


To view the full report released by the ministers please see the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website

You can download our full press release here

For more stories about employment see our recent publication on an inclusive labor force: Ready, Willing and Able