Towards an Understanding of Effective Practices in Employment Programs for People with Disabilities in Canada

About the study

Through a review of programs and interviews with government officials, this study provides promising practices in labour market programs for people with disabilities.

What can be learned from this study?

•  Community service organizations that employed caring and experienced staff, provided opportunities for people with disabilities to develop self-confidence, engaged in holistic counselling to assess and monitor their clients, and worked to find a good match between employers and clients were most effective in helping people with disabilities find employment.

• These organizations also provided ongoing support to their clients and educated employers about hiring and accommodating people with disabilities.

• Employment programs, especially those in rural and Northern communities, were faced with challenges such as lack of public transportation and lack of employment opportunities. Organizations also experienced difficulty in finding employers who would be willing to support people with mental illness and severe disability.

• The most effective programs took a holistic approach to analyze their clients’ employment interests and needs, as well as a long range approach to career planning.

• It was important for programs to be employment-focused to ensure that people with disabilities find employment.

• Wage subsidies were effective in encouraging employers to hire people with disabilities and provide them with on-the-job training.

• Organizations took measures to increase access to post-secondary education for people with disabilities and raise further employer awareness.

• Organizations networking with employers and employment agencies helped people with disabilities find jobs.

What method(s) did the study use?

Review of EAPD-funded programs and analysis of interviews