Disabilities undermined during company hires

Study finds women living with disabilities have less favourable views of the workplace
Thursday, November 4, 2021

An estimated 40 per cent of people living with disabilities said companies fall short when it comes to hiring those who are disabled. The new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF), found that barriers also persist within the workforce. Another 39 per cent, said Canadian companies have a way to go when it comes to supporting their employees who have a disability.

Those with more severe disabilities had the least favourable views. Nearly half of this group stated that companies are bad at hiring those with disabilities, while 46 per cent said the same about the supports corporate Canada offers.

A ways to go

Previous studies in partnership with the RHF have found that there is broad-based support for improved accessibility within Canadian society. A 2019 study found that seven-in-ten think universal accessibility should be the goal for newly constructed buildings.

However, despite this support, disability advocates have highlighted that many barriers to accessibility persist and that there remains much room for improvement across Canada. The majority of Canadians in this study highlight that disability should be included in equity, diversity, and inclusion policies in the workplace.

There are also variations in opinion by age and gender. More disabled women said companies are doing a poor job of hiring those with disabilities (45 per cent) than their male counterparts (35 per cent). Of note, those at earlier stages of their careers have the most negative assessments: over half (of those with a disability between the ages of 18 and 34 said companies do either a bad or terrible job when it comes to hiring disabled Canadians.

Further challenges within the workplace can range from inaccessible workplaces (cubicles or offices not having enough space for wheelchair users, no elevators, etc.) to an absence of  appropriate tools for the job (screen readers, modified workstations, etc.). Men living with disabilities seemed more complimentary of such job supports than one-third of women who felt the same.

Meanwhile, 62 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to give their business to a company or organization  if they knew that they had specific policies to support those living with disabilities.

Read the full report including detailed tables and methodology here.

Read an accessible version of the report here.







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