Pan-Canadian Strategy for Disability and Work Released

Moving Forward Together, a Pan-Canadian Strategy for Disability & Work was released this month and offers a strategic framework for increasing the sustainable employment of persons with disabilities in Canada. A vision, objectives, initiatives, core values and measures are articulated as a guide for action by persons with disabilities, injured workers, businesses, employers, labour, community service providers and all levels of government.

The Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP), the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW), Inclusion Newfoundland (InclusionNL) and the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups (ONIWG) came together to support the development of this strategy, calling the collaboration the Disability and Work in Canada (DWC) Initiative.  The vision for the strategy is articulated- Employment throughout Canada is inclusive. Persons with and without disabilities have equality of opportunity and choice in careers, jobs and work.

Successful outcomes of the strategy will include;

  • Disability-confident and inclusive workplaces 
  • Employers will understand the value of, and be committed to, hiring, managing, accommodating,
    supporting and retaining persons with disabilities. And they will be confident in their ability to
    successfully do so. 
  • Comprehensive supports for persons with disabilities will exist.  Persons with disabilities will be supported in their pursuit of meaningful employment, while
    assured of income and benefits that provide a life with dignity above the poverty line.

View the Moving Forward Together Strategy.

Implications for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists are concerned that persons with disabilities are under-employed ( 59 per cent of working-age adults with disabilities are employed, compared with 80 per cent of adults without disabilities), that they have lower incomes and are more likely to live in poverty.   Knowing that at the same time, Canadian businesses and employers are facing a labour shortage that is not expected to ease for 10 years, occupational therapists have skills and competencies to lend to efforts to bridge the gaps.

OSOT encourages members to review the strategy and to consider where the profession of occupational therapy can lend support, strength and expertise.