Government of Canada highlights National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 5, 2017            Ottawa, Ontario            Employment and Social Development Canada

This October, the Government of Canada joins organizations across the country to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month. During this important month, employers are encouraged to think about how they can make their business practices more inclusive and accessible for Canadians with all abilities.

People with disabilities have a great deal to contribute to our society. While the Government of Canada is continuing to support initiatives that improve accessibility and the participation of people with disabilities, there is still work to be done. According to a study from Statistics Canada released in 2014, the employment rate of Canadians aged 25 to 64 with disabilities was 49 percent in 2011, compared with 79 percent for Canadians without a disability.

Through government programs such as the Opportunities Fund for People with Disabilities and the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, Canadians have better access to skills and training needed to find and keep good jobs. More opportunities for people with disabilities to save for their future are made available through the Registered Disability Savings Plan. The Enabling Accessibility Fund helps employers to improve workplace accessibility and safety for people with disabilities. The Government of Canada is also developing new accessibility legislation to create a truly accessible and inclusive Canada.

Let’s make finding, hiring and supporting employees with disabilities part of the everyday.


“National Disability Employment Awareness Month encourages us to think about and celebrate the positive contributions that people with disabilities make to our workplaces and to Canada. I’m looking forward to introducing new accessibility legislation which will improve accessibility and increase quality opportunities for Canadians with disabilities.”
– The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“Our government is focused on growing the economy in a way that doesn’t leave anyone behind. When our workforce is more representative of our society, our economy thrives and our country prospers. An inclusive and equitable Canada is good for workers and good for business.”
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“It gives me great pleasure to see employers coming together to strengthen areas of social inclusion for people with disabilities. All Canadians should be given the right tools and resources to succeed and embracing inclusion is a step in the right direction to help more Canadians to join the middle class and stay there.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 14 percent of Canadians aged 15 years or older reported having a disability that limited them in their daily activities. There are approximately 411,600 working-aged Canadians with disabilities who are not working but whose disability does not prevent them from doing so; almost half of these potential workers are post-secondary graduates.
  • In 2015–16, the Opportunities Fund served 4,509 Canadians with disabilities; helped 1,950 find work; supported 289 to return to school; and helped 3,133 enhance their employability.
  • The Government of Canada provides $222 million each year through Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities to improve the employment situation for Canadians with disabilities.
  • Since the creation of the Enabling Accessibility Fund, the Government of Canada has funded over 2,890 projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain access to employment opportunities and their communities’ programs, services and workplaces.

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Ashley Michnowski
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
819-934-1122 / TTY: 1-866-702-6967

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
[email protected]


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