The Business Case for Inclusion: Youth, Students and Graduates with Disabilities


Youth, students and graduates with disabilities

  • People with disabilities are a demographic you cannot afford to ignore. Over 1.7 million people in Ontario or 1 in 5 Ontarians, aged 15 to 64 years, identify as having one or more disabilities. There are also over 228,000 youth with disabilities, in the age range of 15 to 24 years, who could be your next intern, new hire or colleague.
  • In fact, according to 2017 data from Statistics Canada, nearly 645,000 Canadian youth with disabilities are neither employed nor in school, and have potential to work. This youth demographic offers employers a unique opportunity to access a virtually untapped talent pool as new approaches to how we work are tried in recovery from the 2020 pandemic.
  • There are over 10,000 students with disabilities enrolled in East Ontario’s four post-secondary institutions (La Cité, Carleton University, Algonquin College, and University of Ottawa). With support from these institutions and inclusive employers, students with disabilities can fill summer, co-op, and work integrated learning roles to meet your current talent needs and acquire competencies required for your future workforce.
  • Research demonstrates that higher rates of education are associated with higher rates of employment. Canadians with disabilities are well-educated: 56% have completed post-secondary education, graduating in a wide range of college and university programs.
  • Workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities of all ages are less expensive than many employers think. A 2016 CIBC online survey found that 30% of Canadians with disabilities do not require any workplace accommodation. The average cost of accommodation for those who do is less than $500.
  • Employers who foster a culture of accommodation reap many benefits. Research shows these can include improved interactions amongst co-workers; greater company morale; lower training costs; increased workplace safety; and a larger customer base. In fact, 47% of millennials take workplace diversity and inclusion policies into consideration when deciding on a new job, and in a 2018 global study, members of Gen Z expect organizations to embrace diversity and inclusion and are more likely to stay with employers that do.
  • Getting to Equal: The Disability Inclusion Advantage (2018) found that: “Persons with disabilities have to be creative to adapt to the world around them. As such, they develop strengths such as problem-solving skills, agility, persistence, forethought and a willingness to experiment—all of which are essential for innovation.”
  • The same study concluded that inclusive workplaces are more energizing places to work and companies that embraced inclusion became more profitable in the long-run with 28% higher revenues and a 30% higher profit margin.

Original sources are available through EARN. v. October 2020

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