In 2014, the Government of Ontario introduced the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). AODA is about making accessibility a regular part of finding, hiring and supporting employees with disabilities.
Companies are finding that hiring people with physical and mental disabilities is actually good for business.
Myth vs Reality
- Good qualifications.
It turns out that more of the disabled have trade certificates that the regular population, at 11 percent of the disabled population versus 9 percent for the regular population. Also, 17 per cent of adults with disabilities have a college degree or diploma, which is exactly the same as the general population.
Rick Hansen, the renowned wheelchair athlete, always gets off his van by himself, without assistance. How does he do that? He has a cable attached to the van’s hatchback door so he could pull it closed, because it was well out of his reach while open. You can’t get more innovative than that!
Take a moment to think how innovative those in wheelchairs must be in order to get through their day.
- Low absenteeism.
Tim Horton franchisee owner Mark Wafer said he has never made an insurance claim for a work-related injury to an employee with disability despite employing 110 people with disabilities in two decades.
Studies have shown that employees with disabilities work 97 percent safer, have 86 percent better attendance records, stay on the job up to five times longer and increase morale to the point that non-disabled staff stay longer—which is a huge win for me.
Young professionals today haven’t placed manufacturing careers at the top of their dream job list. Much of this stems from a stigma that has followed the skilled trades for a couple generations, imposed by their parents and reinforced by society. Attending technical school to learn a skill has instead been waylaid by the promise of status and money after graduating from a four-year college or university.
Persons with disabilities want to achieve greater independence for themselves and their families. They want to contribute to their communities by volunteering or working, as they are able. They represent this untapped market left vacant as a result of boomers retiring.
There are many benefits in hiring people with disabilities. Other than allowing you to hire from a much bigger talent pool, hiring disabled workers can create a more positive image for your business from a public relations standpoint. From a legal perspective, hiring disabled workers can help prevent certain legal problems for your business, particularly charges of discrimination in the workplace.