Many Canadian companies are beginning to feel the pinch when it comes to labour shortage. Recently some businesses went abroad  to recruit  people from such places as the Philippines, India and Ireland.

Due to inconsistency in hiring locals first several corporations such as McDonalds suffered a backlash. The Federal Government halted the program and then quickly modify the recruitment polices from abroad.

Businesses will continue to face uphill battle with labour shortage due to low birth rates and baby boomers beginning to retire.

But there is one sector of the Canadian population that companies have geneally overlooked – people with disabilities. Just because a person has  some limitations does not mean he/she cannot be employed.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, in most cases individuals with disabilities are just as educated as individuals without disabilities. However, they are  more likely to be underemployed or not in the workforce at all.

Here are some the highlights according 2012 report – The Business Benefits of Accessible Workplace

  • Close to 3.8 million or 13.7 percent have disabilities.
  • People with disabilities are constantly overlooked.
  • People with disabilities struggle to find employement.
  • Strategies and tools are available for companies to make their workplace more accessible to people with disabilities.

I can recall working at a local radio station where this person who was legally blind was given an opportunity to work on the weekends. He showed up extremely early  and did all the necessary preparation for his shift . And through magnifying glass he read the news headlines, and spin records. (He sounded damn good on the air!)

He was professional, courteous and never late. The most striking thing I remember about this person was that he never complained  about ANYTHING unlike other staff members.

It is given that recruitment from other countries will become norm for many Canadian companies, but they also need to do a better job hiring people with disabilities.  The benefits for both parties could be enormous.