Disability and the Workplace: Challenges, Trends and Best Practices among SMEs in Canada

The goal of the study was to better understand emerging trends, best practices, systemic barriers for people with disabilities as well as the impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

8 employer focus groups were conducted with 30 employers across Canada and two surveys were delivered nationally.

The surveys were completed by:

people with lived experience of disability

View data

small to medium sized businesses

View data

78% of employers indicated they were either somewhat or very likely to consider hiring people with disabilities in the future.

Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) across Canada are very interested and engaged in hiring people with disabilities. However, despite a strong willingness to hire people with disabilities, employers reported several challenges and barriers to hiring and retaining diverse talent.

63% of people with disabilities had at least one period of unemployment in the last five years.

Many respondents did not report having a strong attachment to the labour force and this has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was particularly true among people with disabilities belonging to other equity-deserving groups. Equity deserving groups were more likely to report that they face challenges and that supports would be helpful.