Cross Country Checkup·Checkup

Are employers doing a good job of hiring and supporting people with disabilities?

Landing a job is sometimes tricky if you have a disability, and keeping it can be a challenge too. Are employers doing a good job of hiring and supporting people with disabilities? With host Duncan McCue.
According to Statistics Canada, about 3.8 million working-age Canadians live with a disability. (Brandi Simons/Getty Images)

Working with disability.

Cross Country Checkup producer Sheyfali Saujani is partially blind. She uses screen reading software to do her work here at Checkup. It turns text into speech. CBC installed the program after she disclosed her disability. All good...except the days it's not. She wrote an essay for our website describing one of her bad days — the kind of day disabled workers have to endure, even in a supportive work environment.
Host of Cross Country Checkup, Duncan McCue.

According to Statistics Canada, about four million Canadians report having a disability, either mental or physical. Some can't work because of their disabilities. For the vast majority, having a productive job is possible.

However, landing that job can be tricky sometimes if you have a disability. Keeping it can be a challenge too.

It wasn't that long ago, people with disabilities knew getting a job meant downplaying your disability. Not asking for special treatment. Getting the job done no matter what. But the law in Canada has changed and society has too. These days, employers are expected to accommodate disability. That might mean providing physical access to the office, or the option to work remotely. Maybe it means technological aides, or co-operation from staff who are aware of the needs of the employee. And workers are supposed to be clear about their needs.

Yet, inequalities persist. Less than half of people with disabilities in Canada are employed. In most provinces, people living with disabilities earn far less than people without disabilities.

Our question: "Are employers doing a good job of hiring and supporting people with disabilities?"

Guests

Demetra Nikolakakos, Job coach for people with disabilities

Bruno Guevremont, 2016 Invictus Team Canada captain, entrepreneur

Lindsay Hextall, Director of Employer Services at Prospect Human Services Society

Mark Wafer, Disability rights advocate, former Tim Hortons franchise owner 

Michael Lynk, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at Western University

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