Government of Canada highlights National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 11, 2016                 Ottawa, Ontario                 Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the Government of Canada highlighted that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month across Canada. A more active and inclusive Canada is good for business. Employers are being challenged to think about how they can make their business more inclusive during this important month.

While the Government of Canada continues to work to ensure equal opportunity for all Canadians in their communities and workplaces, there is still a gap in the employment of Canadians with disabilities. According to the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, Canadians with disabilities were employed at a rate of 47 percent compared with 74 percent for Canadians without disabilities.  The survey also shows that there are more than 400,000 people with disabilities who have the potential and willingness to work but who are not employed. This evidence confirms that employers are not fully engaging Canadians with disabilities.

The Government of Canada continues to support Canadians with disabilities in developing skills and accessing training to help them prepare for, find, and maintain meaningful employment through programs such as the Opportunities Fund for People with Disabilities and the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities. The Government also helps improve opportunities for Canadians with disabilities through the Enabling Accessibility Fund and the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

In addition, the honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities encouraged all Canadians and Canadian employers to participate in the consultation which will inform planned accessibility legislation. Input can be shared either at an in-person session or online. Canadians are encouraged to visit to find a session near them or to participate.


“I am excited by the progress we are making to improve the lives of Canadians with disabilities. We are working hard to ensure all Canadians have equal access and opportunities in their communities and workplace. An inclusive Canada is good for employers and good for business, and by working together, I know we can improve the lives of all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“I am very proud of the work we are doing to ensure greater accessibility and opportunities for Canadians with disabilities. Working together, we will develop a more prosperous and inclusive middle-class. We are working hard to remove barriers for Canadians who are trying to make a meaningful contribution to Canada, and the employment of people with disabilities is an important way to do just that. ”
– The Honourable Jean Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“Workplace diversity is good for business. It provides opportunities to capitalize on the unique talents and contributions that diverse communities offer; it’s essential to growing our economy, strengthening our middle class and helping those working hard to join it. Our Government works hard to remove barriers to employment for Canadians with disabilities through the Employment Equity Program and other strategies.”
– The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 14% 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.     
  • Since 2005, the Opportunities Fund has helped over 48,000 people with disabilities across Canada.  In 2014-15, the OF served 3,473 Canadians with disabilities, of which 1,455  found employment, 192 were able to return to school and 3,075 had their employability enhanced.
  • 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 2,300 projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain access to their communities’ programs, services and workplaces.

Associated Links

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities

Enabling Accessibility Fund

Registered Disability Savings Plan

Consultation on Planned Accessibility Legislation

Twitter: @AccessibleGC

Facebook: AccessibleGC


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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
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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Awareness Month,  held in October was established to increase awareness of the positive outcomes of hiring persons with disabilities in Canada. Employers will be invited to support and be a part of a nationwide campaign, with a celebratory and planning month proposed for October.

Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities was introduced in 1997 and provides $40 million annually in funding to organizations to assist persons with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment, thereby increasing their economic independence and participation in the labour force. The program is designed to help Canadians with disabilities who have little or no labour market attachment and, therefore, would not normally be eligible for the programs offered under Employment Insurance Part II.  The program has both a national and regional stream.

Enabling Accessibility Fund

The Enabling Accessibility Fund is a federal grants and contributions program that supports capital costs of construction and renovations related to improving physical accessibility and safety for people with disabilities in Canadian communities and workplaces.

From initiatives such as installing screen reader devices, hearing induction loop systems or automated door openers, to constructing a universally designed office or retrofitting a washroom with an accessible toilet, grab bars and taps, the Enabling Accessibility Fund works to enable Canadians with disabilities to participate in their community and the economy.

Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities

The Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPD) represent a federal investment of $222 million per year in the provinces and territories. The LMAPDs are the single largest federal government investment to help Canadians with disabilities to get jobs. With increased employer engagement and a stronger focus on demonstrating the best possible results for Canadians, the new generation of agreements will better connect Canadians with disabilities with available jobs. Under the LMAPDs, provinces and territories have the flexibility to determine how to best address the needs of Canadians with disabilities, while helping Canadian businesses benefit from their skills and talent.


A Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a savings plan intended to help parents and others save for the long term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit.

Contributions to an RDSP are not tax deductible and can be made until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59. Contributions that are withdrawn are not included in income for the beneficiary when they are paid out of an RDSP. However, the Canada Disability Savings Grant, the Canada Disability Savings Bond, investment income earned in the plan, and rollover amounts are included in the beneficiary’s income for tax purposes when they are paid out of the RDSP.

Consultation to inform the development of accessibility legislation

Minister Qualtrough, Canada’s first Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, was mandated by the Prime Minister to lead an engagement process with stakeholders—including Canadians with disabilities, provinces, territories and municipalities—that would inform planned legislation to transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.

The consultation process is now open, until February 28, 2017.

Starting in September, Canadians across Canada will be able to participate in the in-person consultation engagement process. In-person public consultations are planned to take place in the following cities:

  • Whitehorse, Yukon / September 22, 2016.
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut / September 24, 2016
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories / September 26, 2016
  • Regina, Saskatchewan / September 28, 2016
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba / October 3, 2016
  • Edmonton, Alberta / October 7, 2016
  • Thunder Bay, Ontario / October 11, 2016
  • Calgary, Alberta / October 13, 2016
  • Moncton, New Brunswick / October 20, 2016
  • St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador / November 3, 2016
  • Victoria, British Columbia / November 7, 2016
  • Québec, Quebec / November 10, 2016
  • Montréal, Quebec / November 16, 2016
  • Vancouver, British Columbia / November 26, 2016
  • Ottawa, Ontario / November 30, 2016
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island / December 8, 2016
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia / December 9, 2016
  • Toronto, Ontario / February 8, 2017

For the most up-to-date information on in-person venues and dates, and to participate online, please visit

Minister Qualtrough will also participate in roundtable discussions, as well as a National Youth Forum that will engage Canadian youth with disabilities in the policy discussion.


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