Canadians with disabilities and their families are often excluded from the labour market because of a lack of access to the skills they need to succeed, writes Canadian writer Jennifer Stoll.
“It’s not just the fact that Canada’s job market is still segregated.
It’s also that Canada still has the most under-represented groups in our society, including aboriginal peoples, the disabled, and the economically disadvantaged,” writes Stoll in a new article for The Globe and Mail.
Stoll argues the “diversity gap” in the labour force can be narrowed by focusing on people who need the most support.
“If we focus on people with disabilities, they’re more likely to have a job than those who don’t, and those who do have a more stable income stream.”
Stoll also highlights how Canadian employers need to invest in their workforce to ensure it can remain competitive with the rest of the world.
“Employers need to build a more diverse workforce and hire more women and people of colour,” she writes.
“And they need the tools to do that.”
The article is a response to a recent op-ed written by Canada’s Employment Minister, Patty Hajdu.
The article, titled “Canada’s diversity gap is huge,” comes as the federal government announced $200 million for a national hiring campaign that will include the recruitment of 1,000 more Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workers to fill key positions across the country.
The minister also said the government is also looking at ways to create more accessible and accessible spaces for people with disability.
However, the article is not the first time Canada’s employment system has struggled to attract and retain talented people with varied backgrounds and experiences.
The Globe previously reported that the Canada Labour Code, as it stands, only allows employers to hire someone based on a range of factors including race, gender, sexual orientation, age and disability.
The code, which dates back to the early 1970s, has been criticized by advocates and even former federal ministers, who have argued that the lack of diversity has made it harder for employers to compete with the US.
According to the Globe, Canada is the only country that does not have a national minimum wage, meaning that the federal minimum wage of $10.10 per hour does not apply to most workers.
“The federal minimum is not just a tool for those who are making minimum wage.
It is also a tool that is needed to ensure that those with less resources are able to afford to buy the best things in life,” says Stoll, who is a former student at the University of Toronto.
“Many people with learning disabilities, who often lack the resources to buy goods, are left behind when the government subsidizes housing, clothing and transportation for people who do not have the resources or resources to purchase these things.”
In an interview with The Globe, Stoll said that while Canada’s system is in need of a facelift, the government has a “clear, proven path to fixing the diversity gap.”
The federal government is now focusing on making hiring more inclusive and diverse, Stolt said, by providing training to employers to help ensure that their staff have the skills and knowledge they need.
“I think it’s time for a new national strategy to improve access to employment, so that Canadians are better positioned to succeed in this challenging economic climate,” she said.
“We can’t just say that this is a problem, it has to be fixed.”