The Business Case for Inclusion: People 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 a disability. These Ontarians could be your next employee, colleague or a potential customer.
  • 40% of Ontario’s small and medium sized businesses report difficulty filling job vacancies. These shortages are expected to continue for at least a decade. People with disabilities are part of a virtually untapped talent pool that can help fill these labour shortages right now.
  • 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.
  • Workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities are not as expensive as many employers believe. 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.
  • Accessible workplaces lead to higher employee retention and productivity. According to a 2018 UBC study, employees with disabilities performed as well or better than average on productivity and had a 93% retention rate.
  • 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. (version August 2019)

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