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Ontario Making Businesses More Accessible for Employees and Customers

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Ontario Making Businesses More Accessible for Employees and Customers

Supporting Inclusive Hiring in the Retail Sector

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility

KITCHENER — People with disabilities have the potential to create value for every business, yet remain a large, untapped talent pool. At the same time, many businesses in Ontario have difficulties finding qualified employees. When barriers prevent people with disabilities from taking part in everyday life, businesses and communities lose out on potential qualified talent, customers and higher profits.

That is why Ontario is investing $100,000 in an inclusive hiring project with the Retail Council of Canada, through the EnAbling Change Program. 

Today, Daisy Wai, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, announced this investment at Goodwill Industries Ontario Great Lakes. The funding will support and promote accessible recruitment and retention in retail businesses across the province and educate retailers on the economic advantages of hiring people with disabilities.

"Our government knows the value of hiring people with disabilities, and the talent they bring to all workplaces," said PA Wai. "This funding will go a long way in helping all retail businesses be more inclusive and accessible for everyone. It is especially exciting at this time, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, to highlight the importance of hiring people with disabilities, which enables them to reach their full potential, and helps businesses reach their economic goals."

The Retail Council of Canada is using the funding to:

  • Create four webinars to promote the importance of hiring people with disabilities, including tips on how to make the hiring process more inclusive, and provide information on how to remove the stigma around mental health for employees and customers in retail stores.
  • Develop a guidebook that helps retailers of all sizes in Ontario make their stores more accessible.

"For almost a decade, Retail Council of Canada has had the privilege of working closely with the Minister's Office in helping to educate retailers of all sizes on accessibility, hiring people with disabilities and ensuring that all persons receive the kind of service at retail that is respectful and inclusive," said Sonny Brar, Vice President of Member Relations and Education at Retail Council of Canada.

Ontario is committed to protecting what matters most to people with disabilities and their families.

Quick Facts

  • There are 2.6 million people in Ontario with a disability, roughly a quarter of the population, and that number continues to increase.
  • In Canada, about 50 per cent of people with disabilities have post-secondary education credentials.
  • In Ontario, the employment rate for people with disabilities is 58 per cent, compared to 81 per cent for people without disabilities.
  • Through the EnAbling Change Program, the government is working with partners to help businesses understand the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, and to promote accessibility tools and resources.

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