Recruitment of Persons with Disabilities: A Literature Review

Prepared by: Equity and Diversity Directorate, Policy Branch

May 2011

Table of Contents

Executive summary

The recruitment of persons with disabilities (PWD) in the federal public service is an ongoing challenge. Although the representation rate of this group is higher than their workforce availability (WFA), mainly due to self-identification of older public servants with disabilities, their recruitment rate has been lower than their WFA for several years and their separation rate has doubled that of their recruitment rate. If not monitored and addressed, this trend could negatively impact on their representation as baby boomers with disabilities retire from the federal public service. Public service renewal, a priority of the federal government, provides a means to reverse this trend.

The purpose of this literature review is to find out what the main barriers are to the recruitment of PWD, in both the public and private sectors, in Canada and abroad; to determine what strategies, best practices, tools and resources have been developed to reach this talented labour pool and to discuss what actions for improvement, if any, can be drawn from this review.

The review indicates that even though a legal framework for disability and employment has been established in several countries around the world, improvements towards the recruitment and integration of PWD in the workforce are very inconsistent and often depend on government priorities in this area and senior management commitment. An important issue is that data from different countries, and even from different programs in one country, are difficult to compare because the sources for collection of such data are very different and, so is the definition of disability. The inconsistent and varying definitions of disability impact on the development, implementation and interaction of most legislation, policies and programs for PWD.

A number of initiatives conducted in Canada, at the federal, provincial and territorial levels over the past 30 years have made a positive and valuable contribution to our understanding of disability-related issues and to the implementation of disability programs. A review of programs in the 1980's and 1990's shows that the relatively high placement of PWD via recruitment, referral and internship programs was due to three factors: executive leadership and political will; financial and human resources; and professionals dedicated to marketing programs and the placement of PWD.

Studies, surveys, focus groups and other means have been used to identify challenges faced by employers and PWD in the job market, in Canada and abroad, in the private and public sectors. There are several issues and barriers that have been consistently brought up through the years. Some new obstacles have also emerged recently, including inaccessible Web sites, expectations for instant communications and communications with PWD from culturally diverse groups.

The literature review has identified a considerable number of resources available but they are not well publicized and often lead to duplication. Organizations in the private sector, such as financial institutions, seem to be leading in this area, having found that in the end, the best strategy is to view the recruitment of PWD as an investment in the future and a good business practice.

The literature review indicates that one of the most efficient mechanisms to recruit PWD is a well-focused outreach strategy to non-government organizations, community organizations and student disability centres. Private sector employers in the financial and communications sectors have found that internship and work experience programs and job fairs focused specifically on PWD are very useful and successful in finding qualified candidates with disabilities.

I. Introduction

The representation rate of persons with disabilities (PWD) in the Canadian federal public service has been higher than their workforce availability (WFA) for several years, mainly due to self-identification of older public servants with disabilities. However, during the time period, the recruitment of PWD has been an ongoing challenge. The recruitment rate for this employment equity (EE) group has been lower than their WFA, while their separation rate is more than double their recruitment rate. This concern has been noted in several reports, including the Public Service Commission (PSC)2009-2010 Annual Report which states: “The PSC remains concerned that PWD comprise the only group whose share of appointments has been below their WFA for the past few years. Although PWD are not under-represented in the public service, the percentage of applicants in this group remained stable at 3.0%, while their share of appointments decreased from 3.3% in 2008-2009 to 3.1% in 2009-2010.” This situation needs to be monitored and addressed since it could eventually impact on the representation of PWD in the federal public service.

Public service renewal, a priority of the federal government, includes recruiting younger workers who have disabilities to meet the EE goals for this group and a representative federal public service. This is particularly important as baby boomers with disabilities retire.

As noted in the PSC's 2008-2009 Annual Report, “PWD in the public service tend to be older than the average public service employee and are therefore more likely to retire in the near future. In order to maintain the image of an employer of choice, it is of the utmost importance that concerted efforts be made to market the public service to, and recruit from, this segment of the population. As well, providing accommodation to meet their needs in the appointment process and in the workplace is required to maintain their existing representation levels.”

The purpose of this literature review is to find out what the main barriers are to the recruitment of PWD in both the public and private sectors, in Canada and abroad; to determine what strategies, best practices, tools and resources have been developed to reach this talented labour pool and to discuss what actions for improvement, if any, can be drawn from this review. The review was mainly conducted on the Internet, but also included documents from the PSC Library and files on previous EE initiatives.

II. Legal Environment

In the past two decades, and even more so in recent years, there has been an important paradigm shift affecting the development of new legislation and policies concerning persons with disabilities (PWD), from segregation to integration, from institutionalization to mainstreaming, from the medical model of disability being viewed as a condition to be treated, to the social model of disability focusing on the removal of disabling barriers in the environment that hinder full participation in society. To this end, countries around the world have enacted new legislation and revised existing statutes, as well as developed policies to assist in implementing these pieces of legislation, to facilitate and support equal opportunities for PWD, including in employment. Following is a brief overview of the legal environment affecting the recruitment of PWD.

A. International

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Canada ratified the United Nations (UN) Convention on March 11, 2010 and it came into force for Canada on April 10, 2010. Under the Convention, Canada must incorporate the provisions of the Convention in new legislation, where appropriate, and review any new measures for consistency with the Convention (notion of a disability lens). Canada is also required to report periodically to the UN Committee on the Rights of PWD, on measures taken (domestic laws, policies and programs) to give effect to the Convention. The first report is due within two years after the Convention came into force. An Interdepartmental Working Group led by the Office for Disability Issues, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada is tasked with providing advice on the implementation of the Convention and reporting to the UN. The PSC is represented by the Equity and Diversity Directorate on this Working Group.

B. Canada - Federal level

  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter): Provides for equal rights, prohibits discriminatory practices on grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability and allows for special programs to improve conditions of disadvantaged groups.
  • Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA): Prohibits discrimination and provides for special programs to reduce discrimination experienced by any individual or group on the grounds of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted. It also establishes the employer's duty to accommodate up to the point of undue hardship, considering health, safety and cost.
  • Employment Equity Act (EEA): Sets out the employer's obligations to identify and remove systemic barriers and make accommodation for differences for persons in the four designated groups, including PWD. The Public Service Commission (PSC) is responsible, under the EEA, for identifying and removing barriers that can have an adverse impact on members of designated groups in its own systems, policies and practices in recruitment and staffing, in accordance with its role and mandate. Federal departments and agencies are responsible for the implementation of the EEA within their respective organizations.
  • Public Service Employment Act (PSEA): Establishes the mandate of the PSC and provides the legislative framework for appointments that are based on the core values of merit and non-partisanship, designed to be flexible and efficient, with appropriate accountability for managers, while preserving the guiding values of fairness, access, transparency and representativeness. The PSEA provides flexibilities that can be used to customize the appointment process to meet the EE needs of organizations. These flexibilities include the ability to define EE as an organizational need merit criterion, the ability to limit or expand an area of selection to designated group members and the organization's ability to establish its own EE program or plan.

C. Canada Provincial level

All provinces have enacted human rights legislation that supports the CHRA, and also include provincial areas of jurisdiction. Only Ontario has enacted legislation focusing specifically on PWD: the Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2001 and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005. Standards have been and are being developed to help reach the goal of an accessible Ontario by the year 2025, including an employment standard.

Under the 2005 AODA, the government of Ontario is developing mandatory accessibility standards that will identify, remove and prevent barriers for PWD in key areas of daily living, including employment. These standards will apply to private and public sector organizations across the province.

On November 2, 2010, the Manitoba government released a discussion paper outlining a vision of a barrier-free society, as it seeks public input to assist in the drafting of legislation aimed at making the province more inclusive and accessible for seniors and people with disabilities.

While other provinces do not have disability-specific legislation, some of them have developed and implemented strategies, policies and programs to foster the integration of PWD, including in employment. Some examples are provided in other sections of this document.

D. Legislation in other countries

1. United States:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 1990 prohibits discrimination against PWD, particularly qualified workers with disabilities. It was amended in 2008 to specifically define the classifications of disability as: “an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.” “Major life activities” include walking, reading, bending and communicating, as well as major bodily functions.

Specifically, the provisions of the ADA require:

  • Equal opportunity in selecting, testing, and hiring qualified applicants with disabilities;
  • Job accommodation for applicants and employees with disabilities when such accommodation would not impose “undue hardship”; and
  • Equal opportunity in promotion and benefits.

2. United Kingdom:

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), 1995 makes it illegal to discriminate against PWD in any aspect of employment. Under the DDA, employers are required to “make reasonable adjustments” for workers with disabilities, including:

  • Allocating employees with disabilities' work to someone else;
  • Transferring employees with disabilities to another post or another place of work;
  • Making adjustments to the work facility;
  • Providing flexible work hours;
  • Providing training or retraining if employees with disabilities cannot do their current job any longer;
  • Providing modified equipment;
  • Making instructions and manuals more accessible; and
  • Providing a reader or interpreter.

3. European Union (EU):

The EU has two laws or directives that prevent people from being discriminated against on the grounds of race and ethnic origin (the Racial Equality Directive), and on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (the Employment Framework Directive). The two Directives define a set of principles and provide a common minimum level of legal protection against discrimination. The provisions of these directives are enacted through national law in each Member State.

The directives provide a framework for equal treatment in employment regardless of racial or ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, sexual orientation or age. They require employers in member states to provide workers with disabilities with “reasonable accommodation” to facilitate access to employment, including adapting the workplace to individual workers with a disability.

4. Japan:

The Law for the Employment Promotion of Disabled Personswas established in 1960 (and amended in 1987) to encourage the employment of workers with physical disabilities and features the employment quota system, the levy and grant system and vocational rehabilitation programs. Under the levy and grant system, companies that fail to comply with the employment quota would be fined and the monies used to cover complying employers' costs associated with installing or improving facilities and equipment, etc.

5. Australia:

The Disability Discrimination Act makes it against the law for an employer to discriminate against someone on the grounds of disability. Employers must offer equal employment opportunities to everyone. This means that if a PWD can do the essential activities or "inherent requirements" of a job, they should have just as much chance to do that job as anyone else.

If a PWD is the best person for the job, then the employer must make workplace changes or "workplace adjustments" if that person needs them to perform the essential activities of the job.

6. South Africa:

South Africa is the only other country that we have found through this literature review which has enacted an Employment Equity Act (EEA). It also has a National Disability Strategy. Their EEA is fairly similar to the one in Canada, although some of the EE groups are different. It also contains requirements related to the elimination of discrimination. In South Africa's EEA, the designated groups are: black people, women and PWD. “Black people" is a generic term for Africans, Coloureds and Indians.

The purpose of the Act is to achieve equity in the workplace by:

  • Promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination; and
  • Implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups, to ensure their equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce.

The vision of the Integrated National Disability Strategy proposed by the White Paper is a society for all. This means that there must be an integration of disability issues in all government development strategies, planning and programs. There must be an integrated and coordinated management system for planning, implementation and monitoring in all spheres of government. To complement the process, there must be capacity building and wide public education.

III. What the numbers show

The literature review corroborates that even though a legal framework for disability and employment has been established in several countries around the world, improvements both in numbers and concrete actions towards integration and mainstreaming of persons with disabilities (PWD) are very inconsistent and often depend on government priorities in this area and senior management commitment, including the allocation of financial and human resources for implementation. An important issue is that data from different countries, and even from different programs in one country, are difficult to compare because the sources for collection of such data are very different and so is the definition of disability.

A. Canada

1. Participation and Activity Limitation Survey 2006

Below are key statistics from the Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) 2006 related to the employment of PWD:

  • In 2006, 4.4 million Canadians reported having an activity limitation, yielding a disability rate of 14.3%, an increase from the 2001 disability rate of 12.4%;
  • The disability rate increases steadily with age with more than half (56.3%) of persons aged 75 and over reporting having an activity limitation;
  • The rates of disabilities rose gradually as well within the working age population: 15 to 24 years of age at 4.7%, 25 to 34 at 6.1%, 35 to 44 at 9.6%, and 45 to 54 at 15.1%, with the largest proportion found between 55 and 64 at 22.8%;
  • There was a growth in the employment rate of people with activity limitations, from 49.3% in 2001 to 53.5% in 2006, narrowing the gap to the population without activity limitations with an employment rate of 75.1% in 2006; and
  • Employment among people with activity limitations increased across all age groups between 2001 and 2006.

2. Public Service Commission Annual Report

The Public Service Commission (PSC's) 2009-2010 Annual Report indicates that for PWD, in 2009-2010, both the percentage of applicants (3.0%) and the percentage of appointments to the public service (3.1%) were below their workforce availability (WFA) of 4.0%. The same trend occurred in the three previous years.

3. Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Annual Report to Parliament

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Annual Report to Parliament on 2008-2009 on Employment Equity in the Public Service of Canadaindicates that over the past 10 years, the representation of PWD in the core public administration has consistently exceeded their workforce availability (WFA) estimates. However, employees with disabilities tend to be older than other employees and therefore closer to retirement than the rest of the employee population. The separation rate of PWD has been double that of their hiring rate for several years. This could have implications for the future representation rate of this group within the core public administration.

The representation of PWD in the public service has increased during the past ten years, from 2.3% in 2001-2002, to 5.6% in 2002-2003, to 5.9% in 2008-2009, which is above their WFA of 4.0%.

As indicated above, employees with disabilities tend to be older than other employees. For example, in 2008-2009, only 9.1% of PWD were younger than 35 years of age, compared to 22.6% of all employees and 51% of PWD were over 50 years of age, compared to 33.7% of all employees.

The hiring rate of PWD to the core public administration has not kept pace with their WFA in the past 10 years, which was 3.6% before 2006 and 4.0% following the 2006 PALS. The hiring rate of PWD was 2.8% in 2001-2002, 3.1% in 2002-2003, 3.5% in 2004-2005 and regressed significantly to 2.8% in 2005-2006, a drop of 0.7% from the previous year. New hires reached a low point in 2007-2008 at 2.5% and increased slightly to 2.6% in 2008-2009.

The separation rate for PWD has consistently been double their hiring rate for several years. It has been at 7.0% between 2005 and 2007, decreasing to 6.7% in 2007-2008, but reaching 7.7% in 2008-2009.

4. Public Service Employee Survey 2008

The Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) is an internal public service survey to assess employees' perceptions of their work environment. We have analyzed the results of the 2008 PSES for employment equity (EE) groups, as they relate to the appointment process. Below are the salient points from the analysis.

It is worth noting that PWD were the most dissatisfied EE group, compared to Aboriginal peoples and members of visible minority groups, when answering questions linked to merit, fairness and access. For instance, only 44% of PWD agreed that in their work unit, the process of selecting a person for a position was done fairly. Also, only 28% of PWD agreed that when they were a candidate in competitions during the last three years, the competitions were run in a fair manner. In addition, 28% of PWD did not believe that they had the opportunity to demonstrate their capacities for the position when they were a candidate in competitions during the past three years, compared to 19% public service-wide.

Discrimination and harassment are of significant concerns for PWD: 41% of PWD reported that they had been discriminated against at least once by their co-workers (57%) and by individuals with authority over them (85%). As well, 77% of PWD indicated that they had experienced discrimination on the grounds of mental or physical disability, which is 16% higher than in 2005 (61%).

Forty-nine percent of PWD said they have been the victim of harassment on the job, compared to 28% public service-wide. Sixty-seven percent of PWD who reported having experienced harassment on the job indicated that their co-workers were the ones responsible, while 34% experienced harassment from individuals with authority over them.

Also, when looking at skills and careers, PWD seem to be particularly affected. PWD indicated that their career progression had been significantly or extremely affected by:

  • The lack of access to language training in their second official language (17%);
  • The lack of access to developmental assignments (34%);
  • The lack of information about job opportunities (21%); and
  • Discrimination (47%).

Only 75% of PWD indicated they have the materials and equipment they needed to do their jobs and only 55% of PWD reported being provided with the accessibility tools and media resources that are critical to their job performance.

B. United States

Other countries are also facing low employment rates for PWD, including the United States (US). A publication from the US Census Bureau, Disability Status 2000: Census 2000 Brief (March 2003) reports the following statistics about the employment of people with disabilities:

  • The total number of PWD aged 16 to 64 is 33 153 211;
  • Of those, the total number employed is 18 525 862 (55.8%); and
  • Of the 18.6 million PWD employed aged 16 to 64, 60.1% of men with disabilities are employed, and 51.4% of women with disabilities are employed.

Employment of PWD with the US federal government is also a challenge, with the separation rate for this group being twice their recruitment rate, as stated in Federal Employment of People with Disabilities, National Council on Disability, March 2009.

IV. Definition of Disability

A. Situation in Canada

One of the overarching issues which impacts on the development, implementation and interaction in most legislation, policies and programs for persons with disabilities (PWD) is the inconsistent and varying definitions of disability. The various perspectives have an effect not only on how disability is defined, but also on program design and how decisions are made regarding program eligibility. For example, in Canada, the definition for PWD used for the Census and Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) is different from that used in the Employment Equity Act (EEA). However, data derived from the former is used in the latter, which could skew the results.

The Census and PALS use the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Functioning (ICF), Disability and Health framework. The ICF is a classification of health and health-related domains. These domains are classified from body, individual and societal perspectives by means of two lists: a list of body functions and structure and a list of domains of activity and participation. Since an individual's functioning and disability occurs in a context, the ICF also includes a list of environmental factors.

An explanation of how Statistics Canada implemented the WHO definitions in the Census and PALS is provided below:

  • “When planning began in 1997 for the 2001 post-censal disability survey, it was decided to adopt a draft version of the ICF as its underlying framework. The draft ICF contained a description of what was and what was not considered a disability or activity limitation, while simultaneously acknowledging the effects of the environment on impairment.

The EEA definition of PWD is: “persons who have a long term or recurring physical, mental, sensory, psychiatric or learning impairment and who:

  1. Consider themselves to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment; or
  2. Believe that an employer or potential employer is likely to consider them to be disadvantaged in employment by reason of that impairment, and includes persons whose functional limitations owing to their impairment have been accommodated in their current job or workplace.”

The document entitled: “Defining Disability: a Complex Issue[1] from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada provides a review of, and framework for, understanding disability definitions in key Government of Canada initiatives. The paper concludes that a single harmonized definition of disability across the Government of Canada may not be desirable or achievable and that the scope of solutions to address the broader issues identified go beyond definitions.

B. Situation in Europe

A project funded by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs published a report entitled: “Definitions of Disability in Europe: a comparative analysis”[2] provides an overview of the definitions of disability found in the social policies and anti-discrimination laws of member states of the European Union and Norway.

Defining Disability” [3] explains how disability is defined in the UK Disability Discrimination Act, including a focus on the meaning of the medical and social models when defining disability.

V. Past Federal Initiatives in Canada

A number of initiatives have been conducted in Canada, at the federal, provincial and territorial levels over the past 30 years which have made a positive and valuable contribution to our understanding of disability-related issues and to the implementation of disability programs. Below are some of the major highlights.

A. Obstacles Report

The International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981. is often cited as the landmark date for tracing the history of disability studies in Canada. [4] In respect of the International Year, the Government of Canada appointed an all-party Special Committee on the Disabled and the Handicapped to undertake a comprehensive review of federal legislation pertaining to persons with disabilities (PWD). The Committee produced the Obstacles Report that put forward 130 recommendations on all aspects of public policy including human rights, income security, assistive devices, transportation and communications. The major accomplishment of the Committee was to ensure the inclusion of persons with physical and mental disabilities in the equality rights section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The work of the Committee also sparked attitudinal change that set a new climate and framework for ensuring that persons with disabilities are treated as full citizens rather than passive recipients of services.

B. Access Program for Handicapped People (1983-1987)

The report “Time to Work - A Review of the Intervention Fund's Integration of Youth with Disabilities and Rapid Access Programs” by David Gélinas, March 30, 2001 includes an overview of past employment programs in the federal public service, noting three main reasons why relatively high placement rates were achieved via such recruitment, referral and internship programs. These include: executive leadership and political will, financial and human resources, marketing programs and placement of PWD by professionals dedicated to this task.

In April 1978, the House of Commons reviewed the first major report on the employment of disabled persons by Canada's largest employer, the Government of Canada. The report provided ample evidence that attitudinal, physical and systemic barriers prevented Canadians with disabilities from “fully participating” in the Public Service of Canada. Organizational estimates indicated that probably less than 1% of the entire federal workforce was made up of disabled workers, primarily confined to clerical or support positions.

By 1981, the Government of Canada had developed a national recruitment, referral and appointment program for disabled job seekers. While deemed successful for about 600 persons in that year, it became quite clear that in order to employ the right person, in the right job, and to do so in greater numbers, the Government should provide internships or train PWD on the job.

As a result, Cabinet approved an “Access Program for Handicapped People” in 1983 that provided six months on-the-job training, leading toward continued term or indeterminate employment in most cases. It cost approximately $15M in financial and human resources over five years. From October 1981 to March 1986, disabled Canadians were successfully appointed to 2 600 positions through special recruitment and referral programs which included 400 appointments through the on-the-job training initiative (1983-1986).

C. Integration of Youth with Disabilities and Rapid Access Programs

In 2000, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Public Service Commission launched two projects, funded by the Employment Equity Positive Measures Program (EEPMP) Intervention Fund: the Integration of Youth with Disabilities Project and the Rapid Access Program, to increase the visibility and representation of workers with disabilities in the public service.

The Integration of Youth with Disabilities project secured initial interest from nine departments and agencies to appoint a pre-set number of young workers to specific positions for, in most cases, a one year minimum period of time. Five organizations ultimately agreed, in writing, to participate in the project, with 16 positions to be filled.

Rapid Access sought early intervention from proactive managers and human resources personnel in order to market likely candidates prior to selection board activities.

These two programs ended when the EEPMP ended in 2002. In the Rapid Access final report (2001-2002), the project leader concurred with David Gélinas that this approach can yield actual results, but that extraordinary measures are needed to market PWD, because systemic and attitudinal barriers and stereotypes still exist. The marketing of candidates with disabilities requires an old fashioned approach of working with them on an individual as well as on a group basis, dedicated financial project resources and needs to be integrated into overall EE recruitment strategies. This includes integrating the duty to accommodate in all phases of the appointment process.

VI. Recruitment Barriers

Studies, surveys, focus groups and other means have been used to identify challenges faced by employers and persons with disabilities (PWD) in the job market, in Canada and abroad, in both the private and public sectors. There are several barriers and issues that have been consistently brought up through the years such as myths and stereotypes and there are some new obstacles that have emerged recently, such as new communication vehicles and inaccessible Web sites.

Some of the main job search and recruitment barriers faced by both job-seekers and employers were identified in the literature review. The findings from this review indicate that PWD face similar recruitment challenges in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.

  • Negative attitudes, fears and misperceptions, false assumptions, myths and stereotypes about PWD held by employers, managers, supervisors and other employees;
  • Lack of knowledge by employers about disability issues, duty to accommodate, how to set up a structured recruitment program for PWD and available resources;
  • Inadequate workplace accessibility, accommodation and employment support for PWD;
  • Inaccessible Web sites including tools and applications that are not usable and/or user-friendly for PWD, as well as PWD who may not have computer access;
  • Inadequate recruitment and outreach strategies and employers not collaborating with non-governmental and other organizations to reach job seekers who have disabilities;
  • Employers lack knowledge about how to implement PWD retention strategies;
  • Lack of accountability at all levels of government in setting and attaining goals to hire PWD;
  • Lack of access to workplace training and adequate job skills and work experience for PWD;
  • Lack of access to information, including additional communication hurdles faced by culturally and linguistically diverse PWD;
  • Employers lack the economic resources to successfully recruit and retain PWD, including provision of accommodation;
  • Perception that today's workers must be able to “multitask” and juggle multiple roles and that PWD will not be able to do so and be productive;
  • Lack of coordinated support services for both employers and PWD;
  • Disconnect among agencies serving PWD on what the real work culture is like, thus the need for better education on both the agency and the employer sides;
  • Conflicting priorities - priority being placed on other target groups (e.g., Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities);
  • Inadequate information and employment tools related to disability-specific barriers;
  • The social isolation of employees with disabilities in the workplace and how this significantly affects retention rates;
  • Inconsistent service provision - PWD do not always receive a high level of service from particular service providers;
  • Unrealistic employer expectations for PWD;
  • Women with disabilities do not have the assistance they need with household tasks, including with child care;
  • Inflexible income support programs such as social assistance and disability pensions can act as a trap for both women and men with disabilities;
  • Lack of employment support - most job seekers did not receive employment support (such as job search information, how to fill out an application, time management and self-advocacy skills);
  • Inadequate physical infrastructure (transport, building access, workplace modifications);
  • Inadequate coordination between federal agencies and/or programs that were created specifically to meet the employment needs of PWD;
  • Agencies do not understand employer needs;
  • Limited pool of applicants with disabilities who meet employers' criteria, and conversely, lack of awareness of applicant sources.

VII. Strategies, Best Practices, Tools and Resources

Strategies, best practices, tools and resources to effectively recruit persons with disabilities (PWD) are not much different today than they were in the 1980s for the Federal Public Service Access Program. There are numerous resources available, but they are not well enough publicized, leading to duplication. Organizations in the private sector, such as financial institutions, seem to be leading in this area, since they had difficulty recruiting PWD. They found that in the end, the best strategy is to view PWD recruitment as an investment in the future and a good business practice.

A. Key success factors and practical suggestions

The key success factors in recruiting PWD identified by this review are:

  • Senior management and hiring managers' commitment;
  • Training and awareness;
  • Availability of human and financial resources invested in recruitment;
  • A well designed business case for hiring PWD;
  • A PWD recruitment strategy integrated in the human resources (HR) and business plans;
  • An outreach, marketing and communications strategy focused on PWD, PWD non-governmental organizations, university and college student centres for PWD; and
  • The use of inclusive means and tools.

From the literature review, we have compiled the following list of practical suggestions to foster the recruitment of PWD:

  • Connecting with disability organizations is a good way to raise employer awareness;
  • Employers may find that working together with other employers or industry groups can provide them with additional expertise and support;
  • PWD organizations need to present a strong cost-benefit rationale and a good business case when they approach businesses;
  • Provide one-stop shopping (e.g., a 1-800 service) for information and resources for both employers and potential employees with disabilities;
  • Provide disability awareness training, including duty to accommodate, to managers and employees;
  • Provide training on Web site accessibility to Information Technology (IT) personnel and other employees who are involved in e-recruitment;
  • Provide internships and CO-OP positions to students with disabilities, including summer employment, to enable them to gain valuable work experience. This can also include soft skills, job readiness and pre-employment training and support for PWD;
  • Use flexible arrangements (telework, part-time jobs, job sharing and job carving, etc.) to enable PWD to have access to more employment opportunities;
  • Create an awareness campaign around “abilities” with the goal to educate employers and the general community to the abilities of PWD, using champions/model employers to encourage other employers to participate;
  • Provide recognition/awards to showcase successful and supportive employers; and
  • Develop practical guides/handbooks for employers to assist with recruitment of PWD, with lists of resources, contacts in the community, case studies of successful recruitment and retention practices, etc.

B. Outreach strategies

Our literature review indicates that one of the most efficient mechanisms to recruit PWD is a well-focused outreach strategy aimed at non-governmental organizations, community organizations, student disability centres, etc. Private sector organizations in the financial and communications sectors have found that internship and work experience programs and job fairs focused specifically at PWD are very useful and successful in finding qualified candidates with disabilities, particularly students and graduates who have disabilities. Some organizations in the federal public service, such as Health Canada, are also focusing more on this recruitment practice.

Some examples of recruitment programs are:

  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) [5]:
    • Pursue Your Potential (PYP) program - designed to help employees with disabilities and Aboriginal peoples explore career opportunities and understand the recruitment and selection process;
    • Job Search Assistance - provides tools and resources that can help PWD with their job search, prepare for interviews and keep updated on RBC'S diversity recruitment initiatives;
    • Ability Edge Internships with RBC - provides paid 6, 9 or 12 month internships to Canadian university, college and high school graduates with disabilities, through Ability Edge.
  • IBM Lime Connect Canada Scholarship & Internship Program for Students with Disabilities. This program is intended for third-year Canadian university students (undergraduate and graduate) who are pursuing degrees in computer science, software engineering or other disciplines related to the IT industry.[6]

VIII. Conclusion

Documents, Web sites and other resources used in this literature review indicate that persons with disabilities (PWD) represent a growing pool of talent. There are numerous research studies and reports available on barriers for PWD. The review also indicates that there are a significant number of awareness-raising documents and practical tools available. Despite this fact, PWD recruitment and retention remains an issue. This could possibly be due to the facts that, employers, managers, employees and job applicants do not know what resources are available and where they can be found.

Now that the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of PWD was ratified by Canada in March 2010, implementation of the Convention will be a priority, as a first report to the UN is due two years following ratification. This has triggered a motion by the New Democratic Party for a major disability study into the multiple challenges faced by PWD, including their participation in the labour market, which was passed in the House of Commons.[7] It will be undertaken by the Human Resources Skills Development Social Development and PWD Committee of the House of Commons.

A Charter challenge concerning inaccessibility of federal government Web sites for PWD, including federal job Web sites, was heard in Federal Court in September 2010. A court decision ordering the Government to update its Web sites was rendered in November 2010. The Government has appealed this decision and the Public Service Commission will be monitoring this case.

The key conclusions from this literature review include a need for:

  • Attitudinal change and awareness-raising for both managers and employees. This may include resources such as guides, handbooks, etc., as well as improved awareness and duty to accommodate training to assist employers to recruit and retain PWD, as part of a larger marketing program and awareness-building campaign;
  • Development of a strong business case used to promote the employment of PWD, including that many of the principles and effective practices for recruiting and retaining PWD are the same as for individuals without disabilities. This make good business sense and reflects good HR or “people” practices;
  • More effective recruitment practices for PWD for employers and managers, including e-recruitment tools that are accessible and usable, better outreach to non-government organizations and student organizations, as well as focus on the individual and the abilities of PWD, not the disability;
  • Better information and coordination of services for recruiting and retaining PWD, including a central information and resource centre with a 1-800 number.
  • More information and support for PWD during the application and assessment processes and better workplace support;
  • Access to relevant job skills and workplace-based training for PWD, such as internships, CO-OP and summer employment positions; and
  • PWD to better understand employer expectations, working conditions and labour market realities and how to succeed in the job market;

Selected Bibliography

A. Recent studies on barriers to recruitment of persons with disabilities

Employment Barriers Facing Persons With Disabilities (PWD) in Scarborough and East Toronto - The main purpose of the study was to identify and gain an understanding of the barriers that prevent PWD from accessing and maintaining employment.

Bringing Down the Barriers - The Labour Market and Women with Disabilities in Ontario, May 2000 by Gail Fawcett, Canadian Council on Social Development. This document outlines the unique barriers faced by women with disabilities in the labour market. The barriers explored include a greater tendency to live alone or as a lone parent; a surprisingly high degree of financial responsibility; more limited opportunities for stable and high-paying jobs; much more limited opportunities for assistance with household tasks and prevailing social attitudes toward disability and women.

An Unequal Playing Field: Report on the Needs of People who are Blind or Visually Impaired Living in Canada, November 2, 2005 - The primary objective of the study was to develop a sound knowledge base about the needs of Canadians who are blind or visually impaired. This knowledge base is expected to inform service providers, social policy-makers, and the public about the met and unmet needs of people with vision impairments living in our communities. This report examined the findings in light of the broad areas of access (to supports and services), inclusion (in education, employment and community life) and participation (in civil society and its mechanisms for social advocacy).

Improving the Participation Rate of People with Targeted Disabilities in the Federal Work Force, January 2008, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - In the findings and recommendations section of this report, the Office of Field Operations addresses some conditions that are deemed to be systemic impediments to the employment of PWD and incorporates best practices and innovative measures that some agencies have taken to improve their participation rate.

B. Documents containing strategies and best practices in recruitment of persons with disabilities

The following documents contain tips and strategies to assist in improving the recruitment of PWD:

The Road to Inclusion: Integrating People with Disabilities into the Workplace - White paper, summary of Deloitte's Dialogue on Diversity roundtables, July 2010. Deloitte held a series of Dialogue on Diversity roundtables to discuss the role the business community can play in addressing the issues facing PWD. Each session included representatives from the business community, special interest groups, government agencies, current and former Paralympics athletes and Deloitte partners and colleagues. This White Paper is the result of these discussions and it provides insights into key recommendations of those involved.

Fitting the Work to the Worker: Recruiting, Engaging, and Retaining Employees with Disabilities - by Megan Manni and Susan Stewart, the Conference Board, August 2010. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. New employment statistics from the government and a host of programs to facilitate the recruitment of PWD are great steps forward, but challenges remain, especially considering the return of injured US military members from the current conflicts.

Tapping the Talents of People with Disabilities - special report by Ruth Wright, the Conference Board of Canada, April 2001. This resource guide, developed to assist employers in hiring PWD and integrating them into their workplace, contains practical advice on everything from pre-employment considerations through recruitment and selection, appropriate modifications to accommodation and workforce education.

From Disabilities to Possibilities Employers' Guide - A practical, easy-to-use guide to hiring and retaining PWD, aimed at frontline managers at Ontario companies and organizations. A broad spectrum of topics related to employing PWD is covered in this comprehensive manual, including:

  • A business case for hiring people with disabilities;
  • Workplace accessibility assessment tools;
  • Types of disabilities;
  • Workplace barriers;
  • Accommodation suitable for a range of disabilities and impairments;
  • Inclusive recruitment practices;
  • Training of employees with disabilities; and
  • Retention of employees with disabilities.

Recruiting and Retaining PWD in British Columbia - What Every Employer Needs to Know - This document summarizes the business case for recruiting PWD and provides resources to assist employers.

An employer handbook

Increasing Disability Employment in the Federal Government A Toolkit for Federal Agencies on Implementing Executive Order 13548 - In July 2010, President Obama marked the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act by signing Executive Order 13548, which aims to transform the disability employment landscape within the federal government. This directive calls on federal departments and agencies to increase the recruitment, hiring and retention of PWD in the coming years. The following are ODEP tools that can assist federal agencies in their efforts to increase the employment of PWD.

The Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities - Hiring PWD can positively affect a business's bottom line. Find information to support the business case for hiring PWD and other resources.

Recruiting Young People with Disabilities: A Hiring Strategy With Bottom Line Benefits - With the advancements in technology, young PWD can do virtually any job that someone without a disability can perform. Expanding the workplace to include young people with and without disabilities is a positive way to help shape the future workforce.

The Conference Board report entitled “Fitting the Work to the Worker - Recruiting, Engaging and Retaining Employees with Disabilities” previously mentioned in this document showcases companies that have comprehensive PWD recruitment and retention strategies. Amongst the companies listed is Deloitte. Some of Deloitte's accomplishments are the following:

  • Engage in practices that benefit employees with disabilities, including developing strategic alliances with external associations and agencies and providing resources, tools, and accommodation to address disabilities;
  • Establish relationships with offices for students with disabilities at many colleges and universities to recruit students with disabilities into the organization's various internship programs;
  • Engage in initiatives with federal agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations focused on training and employing veterans with disabilities;
  • Sponsor several business resource groups to help foster an inclusive environment by providing fora for professionals with similar interests and/or experiences to meet, share information and collaborate, with a focus on professional development, recruiting and retention, community relationships and professional networking.

C. Canadian internship programs

The Ability Edge Program - Ability Edge is a national internship program for graduates with self-declared disabilities to assist them in gaining career-building work experience. Ability Edge interns have a university degree or college diploma/certificate and are looking to accelerate their professional careers. Ability Edge internships are paid positions that last for 6, 9 or 12 months and are used by employers seeking more diversity in their workforce.

Career Edge Organization, a national not-for-profit organization, has worked with over 1 000 employers across Canada to provide meaningful work experiences through paid internships to over 9 800 interns since 1996. It provides strategic staffing solutions including on-line access to candidates, payroll administration and HR expertise to help employers recruit, hire and retain quality talent.

Some of the over 1 000 employers who have participated in the internships include: Bell Canada, BMO Financial Group, Canadian Heritage - Ontario Region, Canadian Tire Corporation, City of Toronto, FedEx, GE Canada, General Motors of Canada Ltd., Government of Ontario, RBC Financial Group and Scotiabank.

Public Administration Internship Program for Persons with Disabilities - The Public Administration Internship Program for PWD of the Manitoba Government provides an opportunity to prepare for a career in public service. This two-year-program provides a series of ongoing job placements, training and orientation.

Employment Accessibility Exchange - This Toronto District School Board Program's mission is to provide unemployed individuals, including PWD, with an opportunity to improve their job search skills and provide a platform to gain practical, hands-on work experience.

Under the Youth Employment Strategy program, the Skills Link program helps youth facing barriers to employment, such as single parents, Aboriginal youth, young PWD, recent immigrants, youth living in rural and remote areas and high school dropouts, obtain the knowledge and develop the broad range of skills and work experience they need to participate in the job market.

Skills Link offers a range of programs and services that can be tailored to meet individual needs and provide more intensive assistance over longer periods of time.

Health Canada Persons with Disabilities Opportunity Program (PWDOP). The PWDOP provides self-identified indeterminate PWD at Health Canada greater career mobility through assignment opportunities. The PWDOP offers participants lateral positions, but is also open to acting provisions and deployment, at the discretion of the host manager. The main purpose of the PWDOP is to enable PWD employees to acquire the right skills and competencies for career advancement in their preferred field.

D. Practical tools and resources

In this section, you will find tools and resources developed by the federal government, as well as provincial governments and the private sector, to assist in providing barrier-free and inclusive appointment processes and workplace supports for PWD:

Guide for Assessing Persons with Disabilities - How to Determine and Implement Assessment Accommodation - Public Service Commission. The purpose of this document is to provide those in charge of determining and implementing accommodation, with practical guidance on decisions about the changes or modifications to assessment tools and procedures that can be made to accommodate the needs of PWD within an appointment process.

Accessibility, Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology Program. The Accessibility, Accommodation and Adaptive Computer Technology (AAACT) Program's mandate is to assist in the integration into the workplace of employees with disabilities, injuries and ergonomic requirements who require access to systems, programs, information, computers and computer resources.

The AAACT Program provides Environment Canada and other government departments and agencies with a range of services, offered on a cost recovery basis.

Persons with Disabilities On-line. PWD On-line provides integrated access to information, programs and services for PWD, their families, their caregivers, service providers and all Canadians, through the use of information technology.

PWD On-line Employment. Provides career information, employment trends, career profiles, career centres, job listings and tools to help get a job or start a business.

The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW). The CCRW is a Canada-wide network of organizations and individuals. Its mission is to promote and support meaningful and equitable employment of persons with disabilities, build partnerships, develop skills, share knowledge and influence attitudes.

A comprehensive information source for disability and employment resources, CCRW works with businesses of all sizes in all industries through its Job Accommodation Service (JAS)®, Partners for Workplace Inclusion Program and the eLearning Disability Awareness Series®, and support to individual job seekers through its WORKink® site that provides job search tools, career guidance and resources pertaining to education and employment.

Job Accommodation Service (JAS) JAS® is a Canada-wide industry-leading service for workplace accommodation solutions. This bilingual service offers public and private sector companies of all sizes advice, consultations and assessment services in order to assist them to comply with their legal duty to accommodate.

Access Guide Canada. The mission of Access Guide Canada is to bring the most accurate listings on accessible resources possible, a pool of information from which we may all benefit.

Thinking Outside the Box - a Resource Tool for Accommodating Employees with Disabilities. This site is for employers, job-seekers, employees and union representatives looking for information about making workplaces more accessible and inclusive. The site was created in Ontario but the principles apply across Canada. The Canadian Abilities Foundation's Web site is for job seekers to gain exposure to employers who are committed to diverse work places. It is also a place for employers to recruit and hire people with disabilities all across Canada.

LinkUp Employment Services Link Up, a non-profit employment services agency, is committed to providing the highest standard of service to job seekers with disabilities through coordination of the access of persons with disabilities to the full range of available employment programs, services and opportunities in the greater Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg communities and development and delivery of programs and services to address gaps and meet consumer needs and demands.

WorkAble Solutions. An initiative to connect BC employers to PWD by providing valuable employment resources and support. The goal of the initiative is to help employers turn potential challenges into workable solutions and increase the recruitment and retention of PWD.

The Web site offers employers an exclusive site to post-employment opportunities for PWD and search through lists of skilled job-seekers with disabilities. Employers and job-seekers with disabilities can also use the site to access resources and connect with community agencies that work with employers and persons with disabilities.

WorkAble Solutions also provides employers and HR professionals with various tools to support recruitment and retention.

Disability Impact on Career/Employment (D.I.C.E). D.I.C.E. is a self-assessment tool that explores how disability affects career choice and work performance and what accommodation is needed in the workplace. It is available to PWD of all types to determine, through a process of reflection and self-discovery, the nature of the disability and its physical/psychological effects; their abilities, skills and qualities; types of jobs in which the disability affected their work performance; types of jobs in which their aptitudes and strengths minimized the impact of the disability; their occupational preferences and preferred working style, based on the National Occupational Classification System and appropriate accommodation that would enable them to perform their tasks effectively.

Barrier-free E-recruitment: Recruiting Disabled People On-line. This interactive Web site provides information regarding what an organization needs to do to achieve barrier free E-recruitment for everyone. It contains concise and practical guidance for human resources, Information Technology and recruitment personnel, as well as other senior managers, making it easier for companies to recruit talented disabled people.

E. Other useful links and resources

1. Canada

Opportunities Fund for PWD. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada provides contribution funding to individuals, employers and organizations.

A place for All: A Guide to Creating an Inclusive Workplace. The Canadian Human Rights Commission encourages all employers to develop, in consultation with their employees, their own workplace accommodation policies and procedures. The implementation of such policies and procedures allows employers to provide an inclusive workplace, respond effectively to individual accommodation needs, fulfill their responsibilities under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Employment Equity Act and minimize the likelihood of complaints of discrimination.

Manager's Guide to Multiple Format Production. The Council on Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadians, Library and Archives Canada.

Manager's Guide to Multiple Format Production On-line Tutorial. The Manager's Guide to Multiple Format Production provides updated guidelines on how to develop and deliver accessible published government materials. The guidelines have been developed under the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada that states government information must be broadly accessible throughout society.

The Accessible Procurement Toolkit, Industry Canada. The Accessible Procurement Toolkit is a Web-based application that delivers accessibility requirements and standards to apply to a purchase of mainstream products and services. Applying these standards will ensure that products meet "Universal Design" principles.

The Workplace Accommodation Toolkit. This toolkit can be used by those who need to purchase or learn about technology, equipment or services to accommodate the specific needs of a PWD.

Releasing Constraints: Projecting the Economic Impacts of Increased Accessibility in Ontario, June 2010. This study, commissioned by the Government of Ontario, examines the potential economic impact of achieving substantially higher levels of accessibility. In 2010, the Province will introduce five proposed standards through which the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 will be implemented.

National Strategy for Labour Market Integration and Maintenance of Handicapped Persons Québec. The Strategy is designed to achieve employment equity and enhanced labour market participation for people with handicaps. The Strategy proposes a balance between labour market stakeholders' responsibilities in areas such as hiring and workplace adaptation and areas requiring government contributions or involvement.

In Unison 2000: Persons With Disabilities in Canada. This report sets the stage for governments, PWD, disability advocates, communities, employers, labour and the non-profit sector to jointly focus on disability issues. It aims to provide Canadians with a broad view of how adults with disabilities have been faring in comparison with those without disabilities, using both statistical indicators and examples of personal experiences. Examples of effective practices that have been implemented across Canada are also in the report.

Disability-Related Policy in Canada: Employment. This Web site contains papers and articles from disability and research organizations and government documents pertaining to employment and people with disabilities.

Advancing the Inclusion of People with Disabilities. This report furthers knowledge on disability issues in Canada by fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the problems people face accessing disability support. The report also assists in the development of a longer-term strategy on disability investments.

Work-related Learning & Labour Market Inclusion. This article commissioned by the Canadian Council on Learning is on issues related to disabilities. The goal of this series is to raise awareness of the particular learning challenges facing Canadians with disabilities and identify practices that enhance their opportunities to learn.

2. United States

Federal Employment of People with Disabilities, National Council on Disability, March 2009. The purpose of this paper is to examine the status of employment of PWD in the federal government and to make recommendations for improving federal hiring and advancement of employees with disabilities. The paper summarizes the legal authorities and policy guidance, the responsibilities of various federal agencies charged with ensuring equal opportunity in federal employment, barriers to hiring and advancement, provisions for reasonable accommodation and agency initiatives.

Improving the Participation Rate of People with Targeted Disabilities (PWTD) in the Federal Work Force, January 2008, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The purpose of this report is to educate the public about recent disability initiatives in the federal sector, highlight data showing the declining participation rate of PWTD in the federal government and provide recommendations that may improve employment opportunities.

Final Report on Best Practices for the Employment of PWD in State Government. This report highlights best practices of nine states that promote the hiring, retention and advancement of individuals with disabilities in state government jobs.

Tips for Designing Accessible Web sites, by Beth Loy, Ph.D., and Lyssa Rowan, B.S. This technical series gives a brief overview of ten vital tips to consider when designing a Web site, including testing and design tips for certain aspects of a Web site to ensure that applications are accessible.

Tapping Employment Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities by Engaging Effectively with Employers, by Richard G. Luecking and Marianne Mooney, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition. This research brief provides information on the employment of PWD and identifies that early exposure to the workplace can improve the employment outcomes for PWD by enabling youth to develop employment skills and identify a career direction.

National Council on Disability. The National Council on Disability is an independent federal agency, responsible for promoting policies, programs, practices and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities. It also helps to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.

Disability Gov: Connecting the Disability Community to Information & Opportunities. This Web site contains disability-related resources on programs, services, laws and regulations to help PWD lead full, independent lives.

Office of Disability Employment Policy. The Office of Disability Employment Policy provides national leadership on disability employment policy by developing and influencing the use of evidence-based disability employment policies and practices, building collaborative partnerships and delivering authoritative and credible data on employment of PWD.

Jobs for People with Disabilities - Government Jobs in the Federal Sector. This Web site explains the various hiring options for PWD by encouraging individuals seeking appointments with the federal government to be proactive and begin networking with local agencies and contacting listed resources.

Federal Jobs Network Overview of Federal Government Jobs Career Center. This career center was created to help federal government job hunters find, apply for and land government jobs. It was expanded to assist federal employees seeking upward mobility, career progression and retirement planning assistance.

A Recruitment Guide to Outreach to Americans with Disabilities to Increase Diversity in Your International Exchange Programs. Adapted from ”Building Bridges: A Manual on Including People with Disabilities in International Exchange Programs”, this guide provides tips on how to recruit students.

3. United Kingdom

The Disabled Workers Co-operative. This charitable organization helps raise the independence of disabled people by enabling them to take an active role in the economy and achieve a greater sense of self-worth. It also helps to raise awareness of the contribution that disabled people can make to society.

They have also developed a sample Policy on the Employment of PWD.

Equality Act 2010 - Provides a new cross-cutting legislative framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all; to update, simplify and strengthen the previous legislation; and to deliver a simple, modern and accessible framework of discrimination law to protect individuals from unfair treatment and promote a fair and more equal society.

4. Ireland

Advancing the National Disability Strategy - Building on Comparative and International Innovation - The purpose of this study aims to highlight the goals of the National Disability Strategy and to embed tools for success in the implementation process.

5. United Nations

Overview of International Legal Frameworks for Disability Legislation - This document provides information on the role of disability legislation, international legal frameworks and the application of international conventions, standards and norms to domestic law.

6. European Union

EU-US Seminar on Employment of PWD, Brussels, 5-6 November 2009 - This report summarizes discussions on important aspects of the position of PWD in the United States and European Union, the assessment of progress in tackling disabling barriers to employment and meeting the terms of the United Nations Convention.


  1. Defining Disability: a Complex Issue”, Office for Disability Issues (ODI), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC),
  2. Definitions of Disability in Europe: a comparative analysis
  3. Defining Disability
  4. From In Unison: a Canadian Approach to Disability Issues”, Appendix: D, Previous Initiatives
  5. Royal Bank of Canada Careers
  6. Lime Connect Canada Scholarship & Internship Program for Students with Disabilities
  7. Motion by the New Democratic Party for a major disability study into the multiple challenges faced by PWD, including their participation in the labour market in the House of Commons.