Saturday, 6 December 2014

Meaningful Employment For People With Disabilities

Recently I attended a workshop called "Employment 101" this workshop discussed the importance of meaningful employment for people with disabilities.  Having a few children in this category that struggle finding and keeping employment I am looking for all the ideas that I can get.

First the Facts
52% of people with disabilities are unemployed while the Canadian unemployment rate is 7.6%

87% of people with intellectual disabilities are unemployed

56% of people with disabilities yearly income is less than $10,000 with women the hardest hit earning 50% receiving less than $5000 per year

People with disabilities can work, if they have the appropriate supports

Why employment is important to people with disabilities?
Work has a central role in most people's lives, offering rewards beyond that of an income.  Employment provides not only a monetary compensation but also social identity and status: social contacts and support; a means of structuring and occupying time; activity and involvement; and a sense of personal achievement.  Work is linked to social inclusion, and gives people with disabilities opportunities to participate in society as active citizens.  The barriers to work are linked to stigma, prejudice and discrimination.

One of my sons works with a landscape company and it has taken years finding the right balance for him.  If he works full time it is too much and everyone suffers from the crazies he presents when overwhelmed, however 2-3 days a week is great.  He puts in his time, comes home feeling he has achieved something, earns some cash and has stories to tell when others are talking about their work.  He recently had his work Christmas lunch and came home with a Christmas bonus, this part of his life feels normal to's similar to his adult siblings and society.

What are the benefits to the employer hiring people with disabilities?
Employees with disabilities tend to be loyal, reliable and hardworking.  Studies show that people with disabilities have low absenteeism rates and long tenures.  Hiring people with disabilities adds to diversification in the work setting, something that leads to an overall positive work environment.

We have a close relationship with the person that employs our son so we get feedback on his work.  Over the years she has commented on our sons reliability and consistency, saying he might not work fast but he is extremely consistent.  She also never had to worry about whether or not he would show up on time and ready to work.


  1. This is a problem in the US too. I really hate that disabled people are generally paid much less than minimum wage when they do manage to find work. It's because if they earn too much they will lose essential government benefits. Recently a bill was passed allowing disabled people to have more than $2000 in assets. I guess that's a step in the right direction.

  2. We are fortunate here that minimum wage is $10.25 per hour and that people collecting provincial disability cheques can earn an additional $800 per month. Also if the earn over $800 in a month their medical benefits remain which is a huge benefit. Unfortunately with all these perks are disabled people are still living in poverty.

  3. This is such an important topic for parents raising kids of all ages. Thanks for the reminder that parents need to be pro-active and prepare kids of varying abilities for the workforce. Thanks, also, for posting this link at's Tuesday special needs link share!

  4. It must be humiliating to be paid less than the least.