Ontario Moves Forward on Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities

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Accessibility is a huge issue across Ontario, in part for those with disabilities trying to access and develop a rewarding career.

The province has developed a strategy that aims to connect people with disabilities to more rewarding jobs.

"People with disabilities are underrepresented in Ontario's labour market and that needs to change. By accessing the diverse talents of people with disabilities, businesses and our economy as a whole will become more competitive," said Tracey MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Accessibility. "That's why this strategy is so important."

The strategy is called Access Talent: Ontario’s Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities. According to the province, Access Talent will help increase employment for people with disabilities and connect businesses to talent in a few different ways.

First, the strategy will launch a new pilot through the Ontario Disability Support Program to provide individualized and coordinated services and supports for students and young people.

The strategy also aims to engage employers as partners and champions through an online platform that will connect businesses, people with disabilities, and the public to share advice.

Further, it aims to streamline employment and training services to better meet the needs of job seekers and employers through the introduction of a new Supported Employment program at Employment Ontario.

Finally, the province aims to raise awareness and change attitudes towards rewarding jobs for people with disabilities through public education.

This would be hugely beneficial for the unemployed population - if every Ontario employer with 20 or more employees hired at least one more person with a disability, about 56,000 more people would have jobs.

It remains to be seen to what extent the strategy will help people with disabilities access more rewarding careers.

However, opening up discussion on this issue is a huge step in the right direction.

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