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Employment and the Disability Myth

Posted on: March 1, 2014

As an Employment Consultant working for a very reputable employment service it has become apparent that Individuals with disabilities are having a hard time getting employment. Why, because employers have a false perception, they think a person with a disability might get hurt on the job, not be able to perform effectively or may not be reliable. However, the complete opposite is true. It has been proven that an individual with a disability is reliable, punctual and efficient on the job because they want to work and feel a sense of accomplishment.

I read a success story by Mark Wafer who is an owner of 7 Tim Horton’s Franchises. Having a disability himself as a young boy and facing his share of barriers growing up Mark is an advocate and a role model for individuals with disabilities. According to Mark “16% of the Canadian population is disabled—the equivalent of the entire populations of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan—and 70% of those are unemployed. People with disabilities want to work. Many employers think people with disabilities are going to get hurt on the job or not work diligently. This is simply not true.” Mark goes on to say “As employers we have never had a WSIB claim on any of our disabled employees, and while the average tenure for most of my employees is 1.3 years, it is seven years for my employees with a disability. Educating employers on those benefits is the most important thing that we can do.”

There is a lot of info out there on the internet about Canadians with Disabilities; however I found quite a bit of it to be outdated. I read about the 2014 Action Plan by the Conservative Government to provide 15 Million dollars over the next 3 years to the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) – it is being called the Ready, Willing and Able initiative to help people with disabilities get sustainable employment. This is awesome news and I do pray the other government parties throw their support behind this program. This is a real problem and without support from the government and education for employers it will only get worse.

Over the past several months, I have been promoting individuals with disability to Oakville employers alas without success. I`m here to say there is nothing to fear but fear itself and I just know there are Oakville employers out there who are not afraid to hire an individual with a disability. Employers who realize with reasonable accommodations and adequate training it can be a very positive experience on both sides.

I am on a mission to help the individuals with disability current registered in our program find gainful employment. It is not an easy challenge as most of the individuals live in Oakville, do not drive and rely on public transportation. So I am searching for inclusive employers in Oakville. Employers who realize hiring an individual with a disability affects their bottom line in a positive way and yes, their establishment is on a bus route. So step up, reach out and get ready to reap the benefits of hiring an individual with a disability.

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). She has over 30 years as an International Recruiter and was instrumental in helping Americans with Disabilities receive gainful employment. Lee is a Master Trainer in behavioural interviewing – an objective interview structure which helps eliminate the biases and self-fulfilling prophecies during the interview.

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