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Myths about Hiring People with Disabilities


Did you know that 15.4 percent of Ontarians aged 15 and over live with a disability? Almost 41 percent of this population has postsecondary accreditation. Yet, the unemployment rate among persons with disabilities in Ontario is about 8 percent higher than that of the general population, according to data from Statistic’s Canada’s 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability

Myth: Employees with disabilities have a higher absentee rate than employees without disabilities.

Fact: Studies by firms such as DuPont show that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities. In fact, these studies show that on average, individuals with disabilities have better attendance rates than their non-disabled counterparts.

Myth: Considerable expense is necessary to accommodate workers with disabilities.

Fact: In reality and with proper planning and knowledge, most job accommodations are simple and inexpensive. According to the Job Accommodation Network Canada, 80% of accommodations cost less than $500. In addition, the 1991 Health and Activity Limitations Survey (HALS) found that fewer than 30,000, or 4% of the 890,000 working Canadians with disabilities required accessible washrooms, ramps or other building modifications. There are government programs which can defer some or all of the cost of the accommodation.

Most frequently reported accommodations were changes in job duties and modified hours of work. Accommodations mostly have more to do with creativity, flexibility and sound management practices than expensive structural modifications or specialized technology. Accommodations like ramps, automatic door openers, widened doorways, and wheelchair accessible washrooms make the employers workplace more accessible to other potential employees with disabilities. Clients and customers like parents with baby strollers and people making deliveries also enjoy the comforts of a less cumbersome environment. Therefore, it is misleading to consider the cost of these changes as the cost of accommodating just one employee.


[THIS NEEDS TO BE EDITED AS THIS WAS FOR A WORKSHOP. Chelsea to share her story of how she informs employers of grants they can apply for to cover technology costs, and discuss options for technology that are free/low cost.  Related to this topic, is the notion that employers may have surrounding an inability to do the job because PWD’s cannot use/access mainstream computer technology. Dispel this by bringing assistive technology to interviews, and showing employers how you use various technologies in your work.]

Myth: I can’t fire or discipline an employee with a disability.

Fact: While there are laws in place to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities by providing equal access in the areas of employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, and telecommunications, there are no special procedures for firing or disciplining employees with disabilities. Establish clear performance expectations from the start. If a performance problem does occur, follow your company’s usual guidelines: discuss the problem with the worker, look for solutions, document the situation and, if necessary, terminate the employment agreement.

Myth: It’s almost impossible to interview individuals with disabilities because it’s so easy to break human rights laws.

Fact: Interviewing is easy. The key is to focus on abilities rather than disabilities. Ask the same job-related questions that you ask other applicants. And once you’ve hired someone with a disability, there’s a good chance they’ll stay. Pizza Hut Corporation finds that workers with disabilities are five times more likely to stay than people without disabilities.


Myth: Candidates with disabilities don’t have the skills, training or education required.

Fact: Over 50 percent of individuals with disabilities have high school diplomas and over one third have completed post-secondary educational programs. In fact, according to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, individuals with disabilities are two thirds as likely to have a post-secondary diploma than adults in Canada without a disability. Chelsea to talk here about how she uses her volunteer work as basis for discussing prior experiences and citing examples of skills she’s learned while completing unpaid work.  Due to barriers in locating steady work, volunteering a good way to maintain skills and fill work gap.


Myth: Another team member will always have to help an employee who has a disability.

Fact: Employees with disabilities who receive the necessary training should not require any more help than their non-disabled counterparts. For the most part, individuals with disabilities have adapted to the challenges that their disability might bring to their lives and are able to complete their work without any assistance



Ontario Chamber of Commerce, 2015

New Brunswick Employer Support Services


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