Disability Unemployment Statistics – David C. Onley Initiative

People with disabilities make up over 15%
of Ontario’s population, but when you take into account the immediate family members
of those people, it grows to over 53 percent of our population affected by disability either
directly or indirectly. That’s the country in which we live today. There are unemployment
statistics in the disability community that are beyond shocking. I’d ask you to consider
for just a moment the Great Depression. The national unemployment rate here in Canada
in the Great Depression reached an unthinkable 24 percent. Today for persons with disabilities,
the unemployment rate is at least 25 percent and that doesn’t include those who have given
up looking or can only find part-time work. For persons with disabilities, it’s not a
Great Depression, it’s a perpetual depression. So what is it that we can do? Well today,
the launch of this initiative is one of the big things that is about to be done. In addition
to this initiative, we all have to speak out whenever we can. We have to discuss and confront
the hidden bias and disabiliphobia for what it is, and that is, an excuse to keep talking
but not take any action. In doing so, we would be all working together for a fully inclusive
workplace here in Ontario and indeed eventually across Canada.

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