Ottawa, Ontario — The Government of Canada has partnered with Canadian business leaders to identify successes and best practices in the employment of people with disabilities, as well as the barriers faced by employers in employing people with disabilities. Today, the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced the release of Rethinking disAbility in the Private Sector, the report of the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.
“Our Government is committed to working with our partners to remove barriers and help Canadians with disabilities find jobs,” said Minister Finley. “Canada is facing skills and labour shortages in many sectors, and finding ways to get all Canadians working is key to meeting this challenge.”
First announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, the Panel was created to identify private-sector successes and best practices with regard to the labour market participation of people with disabilities. The Panel conducted about 200 in-person, telephone and online consultations with employers of all sizes across the country and in a broad range of industry sectors to identify successes and barriers in employing people with disabilities.
“I am very pleased with the important work done by the Panel,” added Minister Flaherty. “Our Government is committed to helping more people with disabilities be employed by encouraging inclusive workplaces and removing barriers to employment, but we can’t do it alone. Employers in the private sector also have a key role in employing Canadians with disabilities.”
The report highlights actions employers can take to accommodate people with disabilities in their workplaces, as well as the benefits to both individuals and businesses. As well, the report recognizes the need for business leadership and effective community partnerships.
“We were impressed by the support and participation of so many Canadian corporations. Collaboration is the key to finding better ways to access the talent and skills of Canadians with disabilities, and we all benefit when this happens,” said Kenneth J. Fredeen, Chair of the Panel and General Counsel of Deloitte & Touche LLP. “There is a strong business case to be made for businesses hiring people with disabilities.”
The Government of Canada supports numerous programs and initiatives to promote the inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in Canadian society. Some of these measures include the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, the Enabling Accessibility Fund and the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities’ report, Rethinking disAbility in the Private Sector, is available online at www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/consultations/past.shtml and in alternative formats.
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Office of Minister Finley
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Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Office of Minister Flaherty
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This news release is available online at www.actionplan.gc.ca.
Following up on a commitment made in Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government of Canada appointed a Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in July 2012 to consult with private-sector employers, organizations and individuals on the labour market participation of people with disabilities.
Panel members were the chair, Mr. Kenneth J. Fredeen, General Counsel of Deloitte & Touche LLP; Ms. Kathy Martin, Senior Vice-President, Human Resources, Loblaw Companies Limited; Mr. Mark Wafer, owner of Megleen Incorporated, which operates six Tim Hortons franchises in Toronto; and Dr. Gary Birch, Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society.
The Panel submitted its report to ministers Finley and Flaherty on December 3, 2012, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
The Panel found that, while many companies are making strides in hiring people with disabilities, more education and training are needed to overcome barriers. The report recognized that hiring people with disabilities is good for business. The Panel also advised that leadership and effective community partnerships are keys to success in increasing employment among people with disabilities. It highlighted a number of actions employers can take to accommodate people with disabilities in their workplaces.