Toronto – November 28, 2017 – The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was first proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly. Globally, it is now estimated that there are over 1 billion persons living with some form of disability. Their challenges range from physical to mental to psychological and emotional conditions, and their signs of disability vary from being visible to invisible.
In Canada, approximately 3.8 million adults and children — about 14 percent of the population — are persons with a disability. The reality of living with a disability makes an individual further at risk of living below the poverty line, and people with a disability are more likely to be excluded from entering the workforce due to barriers to accessibility that still exist today.
At the same time, with Canadians increasingly working past the traditional age of retirement, and living longer lives, projections indicate that our workplaces will have more workers with disabilities over the coming years. Based on this, it is clear that workplaces which understand and implement policies and initiatives that support workers with disabilities will be the most productive and creative competitors going forward.
Regardless of your race, gender, gender identity, ethno-cultural background, or sexual orientation, you may face a disability at one point in your life. From this perspective, let us renew our commitment to breaking down barriers that persons with disabilities face, and ensure that each and every one of us works toward integrating persons with disabilities into every aspect of the Canadian workplace and society.
Paul R. Meinema