Printer icon Print Page
An opened door revealing a blue sky behind

Accessible Employment Practices

Upcoming Workshops

Making Accessibility Real in Your Organization

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Kitchener/Waterloo, ON

The Conference Board of Canada, in partnership with leading employers and service providers of the Kitchener/Waterloo area, invite you to attend a half-day workshop for employers on making workplaces more accessible for people with disabilities.

This workshop is designed to provide organizations with a deeper understanding of strategies and practices for making workplaces truly accessible, approaches to nurture a culture of inclusion, and techniques for productive conversations around accommodation. It will leave you with actionable ideas on how to bring an inclusive and accessible philosophy to life in your organization, while leveraging the business benefits of accessibility.


  • Regular Rate: $75
  • Small Business: $50 (Please contact us for more details on registering as a small business)

Questions? Contact:

Waterloo A/B Room
Holiday Inn Kitchener-Cambridge Conference Centre
30 Fairway Road South, at Highway 8
Kitchener ON

This workshop is sponsored by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario under the EnablingChange Program.

Accessibility Innovates

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Toronto, ON

The Conference Board of Canada, in partnership with thought-leaders and innovators from the Greater Toronto area, invite you to attend a one-day workshop for employers on making workplaces more accessible for people with disabilities and leveraging technology to make Ontario barrier free.

Having a strategy to address accommodation through all stages of employment is essential. This workshop is designed to provide organizations with a deeper understanding of strategies and practices for making workplaces truly accessible, and approaches to nurture a culture of inclusion. The program will include actionable ideas on how to adapt the workplace for employees with mental health needs and disabilities so that they can be productive and contribute to the success of your organization. Participants will have the opportunity to explore emerging technologies that connect highly skilled and motivated job seekers to employers and new tools to open your business to the growing consumer market of people with disabilities.


  • Regular Rate: $100
  • Please contact us for more details on registering as a small business.

Questions? Contact:

Ryerson University
The Peter Bronfman Learning Centre
7th Floor, 297 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON

This workshop is sponsored by the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario under the EnablingChange Program.

Now Released

The Business Case to Build Physically Accessible Environments

Making work spaces and facilities more accessible would allow people with physical disabilities to participate more fully in the workforce, lifting overall economic activity by $16.8 billion by 2030, according to a new report by The Conference Board of Canada.

The report, The Business Case to Build Physically Accessible Environments, provides results of a survey of Canadians with physical disabilities to identify barriers for workforce participation and calculates the economic impacts associated with increased labour participation.

This research was undertaken by The Conference Board of Canada on behalf of the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Welcome to The Conference Board of Canada’s website on accessibility. Accessible workplaces and employment practices that support people with disabilities are an emerging priority as our population ages and employers seek new sources of skilled, highly motivated employees.

About 11% of working-age Canadians have disabilities. Most disabilities are mild to moderate and levels of educational attainment are quickly catching up to the general population.1 Yet persons with disabilities are far more likely than the general population to be unemployed or underemployed. Barriers to employment range from negative attitudes and incorrect assumptions about the abilities of individuals, to job application procedures that are often difficult for those persons with disabilities.

Accessibility Practices

Ontario has introduced standards concerning employment of people with disabilities. Ontario’s unique approach focuses on good practices as opposed to numerical targets, and other jurisdictions may soon follow with similar regulations. The bottom line, however, is that accessible employment practices are simply fundamentally sound practices that benefit businesses and the economy. Some benefits include better job retention, higher attendance, lower turnover, enhanced job performance and work quality, better safety records, and a more innovative workforce. The full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life and the workplace opens the door to their full participation in the economy as customers, entrepreneurs, and employees.

This website contains educational material and resources to help you and your organization create an accessible and inclusive workplace for people with disabilities.

Hot Topics on Accessible Employment Practices 

For up-to-date information on news and developments in accessible organizations please visit the Accessible Employment Practices LinkedIn Group.

Leveraging Community Partners to Connect Employers and Job Seekers

Mar 14, 2016
Brad Spencer
Brad Spencer
Executive Director
PATH Employment Services

I’m Brad Spencer, Executive Director with PATH Employment Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities get jobs. I would like to tell you about how community service providers, such as PATH, can help your business hire people with disabilities. Chances are there is an organization like mine providing employment placement services for people with disabilities in your community.

Let’s assume that you’ve already come to realize what you have to gain from hiring a person with a disability. You’ve already been sold on the employee retention statistics and productivity studies. And you appreciate that people with disabilities represent 15 per cent of the population and that there is a lot of talent there. Maybe you have a person with a disability working for you and notice that your customers react positively. Demonstrating diversity in your workforce can strengthen your public profile persona, which helps to create an accessible and inclusive workplace. (“See Accessible Employment Practices.”)

But perhaps you’re wondering: How can my business bridge the gap? Like most employers, you would like to add to the diversity of your workplace, but you don’t know how to connect to job seekers with disabilities who can perform in the jobs that are available in your organization?

Fortunately, there is a network of service providers in many communities across Ontario that are dedicated to helping businesses hire people with disabilities. Many can be found through their membership with the Ontario Disability Employment Network. Many of these organizations are government funded, which means their services are available to businesses like yours free of cost.

These organizations will want to learn about your business and understand the kinds of roles you have and the characteristics of the specific job that you are looking to fill. They can work with you to break down the job by the tasks to be performed and draw out the skills and abilities required. Here is an example. PATH has worked closely with Gold Cross Home Care Inc. With an aging population and growing need for home care services, this business has been growing rapidly. It is hard work to attract and screen talent, and Gold Cross has been pleased with the enthusiasm, dedication, and positive attitude of the new recruits we have helped place—many of whom just happen to have a disability.

Hiring the wrong person can be costly. Organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities get jobs appreciate that the performance of your employees determines the success or failure of your organization. We know our clients and will be looking to match them with you on the basis of their ability to perform the job. They can also add value by challenging you to consider a broader view of what makes a good hire. The essential skills of the job are typically where people with disabilities shine. Essential skills include interpersonal skills, communication (both oral and written), critical thinking (problem-solving), personal development (eagerness to develop and learn), and numeracy and IT skills. To learn more about employability skills, check out “Employability Skills 2000+.”

As an employer you don’t have the right to ask if a person has a disability, but you do have the right to ensure the person you hire can do the job. If workplaces have restrictions that impede mobility or other limitations, the specialists are able to assess the work environment and suggest appropriate accommodations. They can even offer advice on how to access funds to cover some of those costs. Typically, accommodations can be made with minimal cost and inconvenience.

If appropriate, a job coach can be assigned to help with initial training and orientation. Ultimately, if the individual is not well-suited to the job, the specialists can help with the transition, ensuring that your business finds an alternative candidate and the individual is provided with a more suitable opportunity. Relationships with the local business community are very important to agencies that provide placement services for people with disabilities. If you are challenged with finding great talent for your business, I encourage you to look into the resources available in your community.

The views and/or opinions expressed in this article belong to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect The Conference Board of Canada’s position. Responsibility for content accuracy also rests with the author(s).

1    Statistics Canada, Canadian Survey on Disabilities, 2012 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, December 3, 2013).

Contact Us

For more information on accessibility research by The Conference Board of Canada, please contact us by e-mail.


We’d love to hear your feedback on the accessible practices resources available on our site.

Follow our work on Accessible Employment Practices

Image of Twitter logo   Image of LinkedIn logo

Compliance Questions

For any questions regarding compliance or legislation, please contact the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

An EnAbling Change Project with The Government of Ontario

Government of Ontario logo