Myths & Misconceptions: People with Disabilities

MYTH:  Canadians with disabilities are less educated than their non-disabled peers and therefore they cannot compete in the 21st century knowledge-based labour market.
REALITY: Even given the well-documented barriers to an accessible education many still face, Canadians with disabilities are well-educated. 56% have completed post-secondary education.

MISCONCEPTION: When conducting outreach for recruitment, employers believe they are accessing the full talent pool in our local economy.
REALITY: In a 2016 Ontario Chamber of Commerce survey 82% of employers cited their top challenge in recruitment was not being able to find qualified candidates. People with disabilities are part of an untapped talent pool that could help meet these recruitment challenges.

MISCONCEPTION: It’s difficult to find qualified people with disabilities to fill job vacancies.
REALITY: In today’s job market, traditional methods of recruitment by job postings alone are no longer effective. Proactive and targeted outreach is required to reach underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities. EARN is a resource that can help put you directly in contact with qualified job seekers with disabilities.

MYTH: Safety is a serious concern when hiring people with disabilities because they have more accidents on the job than their non-disabled peers.
REALITY: Safety is at least equal if not better with employees with disabilities in the workplace because they are more aware of their surroundings and more likely to follow safety directions and protocols.

MYTH: It is very expensive to accommodate an employee with a disability.
REALITY: Often employees with disabilities do not require accommodations any more frequently than other employees do. Many accommodations, such as flexible hours, cost nothing to implement. The one-time cost of an accommodation is on average $500.00 or less.

MYTH: Employers fear that people with disabilities are less productive and less dependable than other employees.
REALITY: Accessible workplaces that include employees with disabilities have higher rates of productivity and retention. According to a 2018 UBC study, employees with disabilities performed as well or better than average on productivity and had a 93% retention rate.

MISCONCEPTION: Most people with disabilities are physically disabled and use a wheelchair.
REALITY: Although the most commonly recognized disability symbol is a wheelchair, only 10% of Canadian have a mobility disability. Disabilities can be visible or non-visible. They can be physical, sensory, pain-related, and include mental health, learning and cognitive disabilities, just to name some of the broad categories. Among youth with disabilities, aged 15 – 24 years, 60% have a mental health disability

Original sources are available through EARN.  v. August 2019

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