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. These include aspects such as:

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

  • 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.”

6Conference Board of Canada

Speech bubbles with text saying Share Your Story

We want to hear from you!

As part of our #ReimagineEmployability initiative, we want to hear employment stories from people in the disability community. Whether you are currently working or actively seeking employment, share your insights, experiences or hopes for the future. Together we can bring change! Please submit your story to gmcintyre@easterseals.ca

If you are currently working, applying for jobs or studying from home, then please share your ‘work station’ images with the Easter Seals Canada Community on Facebook and Twitter! Tag Easter Seals Canada and use the hashtags #ReimagineEmployability and #WorkingOutsideTheBox.


Below we have highlighted some of the key facts, figures and statistics regarding the employment of persons with disabilities in Canada.

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

bag with dollar sign on the front

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

graphic image of uneven weighing scales

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.

Email us at partnerships@easterseals.ca!

Making Your Business Accessible for People with Disabilities: Guide for Small Businessesby Conference Board of Canada


Below we have listed a collection of media articles, that discuss how accessibility for all, in the workplace, is easily achievable and highly beneficial for employers/companies as well as their employees. #ReimagineEmployability


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…


How Easter Seals is making a difference.

“All of the training and support from the coordinators and staff who help run the Horizons Program was key… [they helped me secure] a work term which has now become a full-time job. This is where I use not only what I have learned from my formal education, but also the lessons and skills I was taught throughout the program, and I will always be grateful for that.”

– Kyle Kearney
Easter Seals Horizons Program Alumni, NL

Click here to read Kyle’s full story.

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