October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and the perfect time to increase YOUR awareness about how an inclusive hiring practice can benefit your business!
Today we’ll go over some stats, facts, and myths about workers with disabilities in Canada. We’ll also tell you some of the ways you can make your business more inclusive, today!
As a Canadian business owner, it’s worth noting that 1 in 5 Canadians over the age of 15 identify as having a disability. That’s over 6.2 million individuals, many of whom are likely your clients, potential audience, coworkers, or candidates for your next job posting.
Unfortunately, people with disabilities are disproportionately under-represented in the workforce, with approximately 645,000 Canadians with disabilities who have the potential to work currently unemployed.
By simply improving workplace accessibility, we could, as a country, enable 550,000 more Canadians to work by the year 2030. And not only that, we could increase national GDP by $16.9 billion at the same time!
But the benefits of a more inclusive workforce aren’t just visible at the national scale. Let’s look at some of the reasons why an individual business would choose to be more inclusive!
Stats & Facts
The benefits to businesses that practice a more inclusive organizational culture are well-documented by extensive research.
Some of the statistical highlights include evidence that inclusive employers are:
2x more likely to meet or exceed their fiscal targets
3x more likely to have higher performance
6x more likely to be considered agile and innovative
8x more likely to achieve better outcomes for their business
Businesses that improve their accessibility standards and have diverse hiring practices also demonstrate that they have:
- improved company morale
- increased employee engagement/satisfaction rates
- increased attendance rates
- better safety compliance records
- revenue growth that outperforms their competition
- access to more diversity in their customers and markets
- increases in their innovation
- higher productivity
- improved retention rates
- a higher quality of work
- the ability to attract top talent
It’s clear that job candidates and customers alike prefer businesses that practice inclusivity!
One of the reasons for the disparity in unemployment for people with disabilities is due to common misconceptions that some recruiters or employers may hold. Next time you consider hiring a person with a disability, consider if you’re letting an employment myth prevent you from hiring a work legend!
Myth: People with disabilities are less educated, trained, or certified.
Fact: People with and without a disability have similar educational backgrounds.
Myth: Training a person with a disability is more expensive, or more difficult
Fact: While every employee requires different amounts of time to train, there’s no reason to assume someone with a disability will require additional training.
Myth: Accomodations cost too much.
Fact: The lion’s share of accommodations are either low cost or no cost. Many people with disabilities already have their own aids and special devices, and 57% of employers spend $0 to adapt their workspace. The top 3 most common accommodations are simply modified schedules, modified job duties, or a more ergonomic seating arrangement.
Myth: Most people with a disability use a wheelchair.
Fact: Unfortunately, people with a mobility aid are often seen as having the most common form of disability because their disability is visible. But the truth is, many disabilities are not visible, especially not at first glance. Only about 1% of Canadians use a wheelchair — so don’t assume people without one don’t have a disability.
Myth: People with disabilities perform worse.
Fact: Across the board, employees with disabilities exemplify the same levels of performance as employees without.
How to Make Your Workplace More Inclusive
There are many types of disabilities, which means there can be many different ways to offer accommodations to customers and coworkers. But it all starts with making an actionable decision to make your workplace (and hiring practices) more inclusive!
One of the best ways to start is by putting out a policy that proves your promise to practice respectful diversity at work!
The Canadian Human Rights Commission offers a free template that employers can use to develop their own Workplace Accommodation Policy. Find it here:
Another common approach is to create a diversity team, who meets regularly during working hours to discuss ways to improve the accessibility of your workspace. If possible, encourage your staff with disabilities to participate — as the saying goes, “never about us, without us”! Including your staff, or outside consultants, who have personal experience with the difficulties and successes of access at work will give your company access to perspectives you may not have otherwise had.
There are also many community partners that can help you improve your accessibility! Consider reaching out to community groups that offer support to people with specific disabilities, or other disability advocacy groups that can offer guidance.
ReStart can help guide you, too! From inclusive hiring to on-the-job training, we help people with disabilities find the inclusive employers that want to work with them, every day! As an employer, we can help you craft your recruitment process, organize an inclusive job fair, and more!
We can also help you explore options for funding, including for the costs of training new or existing employees, and for costs associated with on-the-job accommodations.
Feeling more inclined towards inclusivity? That’s great!
ReStart is here to help you get started with taking action to make your business more accessible. Contact us today to discuss your unique labour needs, and how we can help you hire inclusive to meet them!
The statistics in this article were valid as of October, 2022, and based on publications endorsed by the Government of Canada. For additional sources, please see https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/hiring-persons-disabilities.html