Reimagine Employability - Easter Seals Canada


People living with disabilities often face many barriers when trying to enter the workforce. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes these barriers to employment as “Factors in a person’s environment that, through their absence or presence, limit functioning and create disability.”

According to the CDC, common barriers that people with disabilities face when trying to enter the workforce include:

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  • Attitudinal Barriers (prejudice, stigma & stereotyping).
  • Communication Barriers (lack of communication procedures for people who experience difficulties with hearing, speaking, reading, writing, etc.).
  • Physical Barriers (structural obstacles that prevent or block mobility).
  • Policy Barriers (lack of awareness or enforcement of existing laws and regulations).
  • Social Barriers (barriers related to the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, learn, work and age).
  • Transportation Barriers (lack of access to accessible or convenient transportation).

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that it is possible for companies to adjust working conditions/environments, to suit unique needs, quickly and effectively. We urge all employers to #ReimagineEmployability and to continue to adjust working conditions/environment to meet the needs of employees, of ALL abilities, past the pandemic.

“Improvements to workplace access would allow 550,000 Canadians with disabilities to work more, increasing GDP by $16.8 billion by 2030.”

Conference Board of Canada


We’ve highlighted some of the key facts, figures and statistics regarding the employment of persons with disabilities in Canada. You can download the full fact sheet here.

An estimated one in five Canadians (or 6.2 million) aged 15 years and over have one or more disabilities that limit them in their daily activities.¹

In a study of small businesses that have hired employees with a disability, 77% said these employees either met or exceeded their expectations.²

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Only 20% of people with disabilities require any special installations in the workplace and more than half of those who do were able to get custom installations for less than $1000.³

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An estimated 59% of working-age adults with disabilities are employed. The employment rate is significantly higher amoung persons with no disabilities (80%).¹

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Persons with very severe disabilities are two-and a-half times less likely to be employed than those with mild disabilities.¹


If you are an employer, HR manager, or business owner who is looking to hire and welcoming of applications from candidates who may be living with disabilities, and interested in taking steps to create a more accessible and inclusive work environment, send us your job postings and we will circulate them among our networks to help you find the right hire for your organization.

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We have gathered a collection of resources, studies and articles to help educate employers about accommodating employees with disabilities and how to create an inclusive and accessible work environment for all.

LEARN MORE: Tap into research on professionals living with disabilities, inclusive employment and workplaces

Graphic image with the headshot photos of two light-skinned women, one with short dark hair and the other with long, red hair. Text reads: Webinar: What does Disability Inclusion Bring to the Workplace?

Have a listen to the webinar, What Does Disability Inclusion Bring to the Workplace, which covers preliminary results from qualitative research conducted by the Proud Project at the University of Toronto Scarborough in a study that seeks to understand the conditions that foster the integration of qualified adults living with disabilities in the workplace.  The research focuses on success stories of employees living with physical disabilities, through interviews with the employees themselves, their employers and co-workers and aims to develop a guide or “best practices” for inclusive employment through the research.

Photo of a white microphone in foreground, and two pairs of clapsed hands in the backgroundBroadcastAbility Podcasts

The BroadcastAbility Podcasts is a series of interviews by persons with disabilities about  inclusive employment and workplaces. The podcasts are a collaboration between Easter Seals Canada and researchers from the PROUD Project at the University of Toronto.

The first episode of the BroadcastAbility podcast series features an interview with Taylor Lindsay-Noel, a successful young entrepreneur and founder of a luxury tea brand that has been featured in O, The Oprah magazine. She talks about her life journey, diversity in workplaces and more.


Canadian work programs that are inclusive of persons living with disabilities.

Easter Seals: Job/Skills Training & Employment Programs

Easter Seals provides a variety of job training programs and employment services, across Canada, that help people living with disabilities find meaningful employment.


The Horizons Program, offered by Easter Seals Newfoundland & Labrador, provides comprehensive skill enhancement and work experience to youth and adults living with disabilities. Participants of the program develop important workplace skills that facilitate personal growth and independence, enabling them to compete for meaningful employment opportunities. Learn More…


The New Leaf Enterprises Program, offered by Easter Seals Nova Scotia, provides a wide variety of workplace skill development opportunities for Canadians living with disabilities. The program takes place in a collaborative and social environment. Learn More…


The Compass Program, offered by Easter Seals British Columbia/Yukon, offers persons with disabilities an opportunity to develop a personal roadmap to employment in British Columbia and Yukon. The program is designed to help address industry labour shortages and ensure youth and young adults with diverse abilities have access to these employment opportunities. Learn More…


The Partner in Employment Program, offered by Easter Seals Saskatchewan – SaskAbilities, provides supported employment services that assist both job seekers with hidden and visible disabilities and employers. Learn More…


In April 2019, Easter Seals announced a partnership with the RBC Foundation to empower youth who are living with disabilities for future success in life and the workplace. The Easter Seals – RBC 21st Century Skills and Leadership Program will provide youth with opportunities to participate in skills development and training, coaching, mentoring, work placements and volunteer activities in five provinces. Learn More…