Ontario’s unemployment rate for those with disabilities is 16%, which is more than double the general rate. According to David Onley, special adviser on accessibility to the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, barriers to those with disabilities seeking employment include bias and persistent myths, including concerns about higher absenteeism, job retention, liability risks, and workplace morale, when in actuality, there is actually lower absenteeism, higher job retention, non-existent accident claims, and high morale. Statistics have shown that in the last five years, 500,000 Canadians with disabilities graduated from college or university but 270,000 have never worked, and unfortunately some people with disabilities may have to live on government assistance due to this. Workplaces need to be more accepting, which can be achieved through education and advocacy. A new initiative called, We Are Able, Diversify Your Workforce, has recently received a Trillium Grant to educate business owners and local leaders about the benefits of hiring those with a disability. They are starting to offer information sessions in the city about the process of hiring.
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