Building Bridges: Linking Employers to Postsecondary Graduates with Disabilities

    Ontario’s economy is undergoing transformation. Many sectors that were once Ontario’s strengths are now struggling. More than ever, Ontario’s businesses face stiff competition for investment, markets, and talent.

    To this end, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) recently released its second annual agenda, Emerging Stronger 2013, for the province and the economy. Building a 21st century workforce is one of five pillars of this agenda.

    The OCC is profoundly confident that the province has all the assets it needs to secure its position as the best place to do business, invest, work, and live. But we need to act collectively, strategically, and with purpose to leverage these assets.

    About 1.9 million people in Ontario, or 15.5 percent of the population live with a disability. Forty-three percent of this population has postsecondary accreditation. Yet, the unemployment rate among persons with disabilities in Ontario is 30 percent higher than that of the general population.

    With 46,700 students with disabilities currently enrolled in colleges and universities in Ontario, employers need to recognize the potential of a highly skilled yet underutilized labour pool of postsecondary graduates with disabilities.

    The purpose of this paper is to examine why skilled individuals with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed and how their labour market participation rate can be improved.

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    Building Bridges Report

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