Myths and Misconceptions

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As noted in the 2013 Ontario Chamber of Commerce report, there are many myths and misconceptions that continue to exist that present barriers to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the labour market:

Myth 1: Employees with disabilities are less productive than their colleagues.

Fact: Research shows no job performance difference between employees with disabilities and their non-disabled counterparts.

Myth 2: Employees with disabilities are harder to dismiss for underperformance.

Fact: Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, employees with disabilities fall under the same legislation and provisions as employees without disabilities when it comes to lawful termination, and are therefore no more difficult to dismiss than any other employee group.

Myth 3: The costs associated with hiring and accommodating employees with disabilities are too high.

Fact: Research demonstrates that cost is a minimal issue, and given high job performance indicators, hiring employees with disabilities makes good business sense. In fact, 65% of employees with disabilities do not require an accommodation.  The average cost for those who require accommodation is $500.

Myth 4: Employees with disabilities will be a burden to other employees without disabilities.

Fact: Research shows that inclusive workplaces are better, more energizing places to work and are actually more profitable over the long-run. It has been found that 70 percent of young individuals aged 18 to 26 say a company’s commitment to the community, including the hiring of a diverse workforce, has an influence on their decision to work there.

Myth 5: Employees with disabilities have a high absentee rate.

Fact: Studies have shown that employees with disabilities do not miss work any more than their colleagues without disabilities. Rather, it has been found that employees with disabilities tend to have a better attendance record than their non-disabled co-workers.

Myth 6: Candidates with disabilities don’t have the skills, training or education required.

Fact: Over 50 percent of individuals with disabilities have high school diplomas and over one third have completed post-secondary educational programs. In fact, according to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, individuals with disabilities are two thirds as likely to have a post-secondary diploma as adults in Canada without a disability.

Myth 7: Another team member will always have to help an employee who has a disability.

Fact: Employees with disabilities who receive the necessary training should not require any more help than their non-disabled counterparts. For the most part, individuals with disabilities have adapted to the challenges that their disability might bring to their lives and are able to complete their work without any assistance.

Myth 8: Worker’s compensation rates will increase if persons with disabilities are hired.

Fact: An employer’s insurance rates are based exclusively on the comparative risks associated with the organization’s accident history, as opposed to whether or not some of their staff members have a disability.

Myth 9: Most people with disabilities use wheelchairs (and we couldn’t accommodate that in our workplace)

Fact: The wheelchair usage rate among people with disabilities is just 6% or about 1% of the general population, according to the 2010 U.S. census. The “wheelchair” icon used on signage has prompted a general belief that most people with disabilities use wheelchairs. (source: Rethinking DisAbility in the Private Sector Report 2013). 70% of disability in Canada is non-visible.