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:

Women in grey coat sitting on black wheelchair

  • 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 Canada6)


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

graphic image of a briefcase

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


Below 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.

Research Studies & Government Resources:

Below we have listed a collection research studies and government resources that explore the benefits of accessibility & inclusion in the workplace and steps required to create an accessible & inclusive work environment.


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

  • RBC Future Launch Scholarship

    The RBC Future Launch Scholarship is a skills focused scholarship program that is open to any Canadian youth/young adults (aged 15 – 29) who are either currently NOT enrolled in school or only studying part-time, but have a desire to learn something new and build their skills.

    Click here to learn more.

  • Federal Student Work Experience Program

    The Federal Student Work Experience Program offers young adults in Canada paid employment opportunities with the Federal Government. The program is also inclusive of young people who are/identify as living with a disability.

    Click here to learn more.

  • Job Bank Canada

    Job Bank Canada has an excellent Summer Jobs Program that helps create quality jobs for young Canadians (15 – 30 years). The program offers inclusive job opportunities that aim to develop workplace experience and skills.

    Click here to learn more.

  • Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

    The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) is a national not-for-profit organization that provides support services for individuals with disabilities who are seeking employment as well as resources for those who are currently employed.

    Click here to learn more.

  • Discover Ability Network

    Funded by the Government of Ontario and powered by Magnet, a data-rich, job-matching technology platform. Discover Ability is a free online portal and resource that connects Ontario businesses directly to people with disabilities.

    Click here to learn more.

  • Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN)

    The Ontario Disability Employment Network is a professional body of employment service providers united to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability.

    Click here to learn more.

  • Work BC

    WorkBC is the provincial government’s access point to the world of work in British Columbia. It was created with one key goal – to help all British Columbians to successfully navigate B.C.’s labour market.

    Click here to learn more.

  • Government of Alberta

    The Government of Alberta’s Disability Related Employment program provides support to help people with disabilities succeed in school and find rewarding careers.

    Click here to learn more.

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…

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

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.

We will share the best ‘work station’ images on our newsletter!

© Copyright Since 2013 Easter Seals Canada. All Rights Reserved | Charitable Registration No. 12903 1118 RR0001
Hosted by IWD Canada, Proud Supporters of Easter Seals Canada