September of 2020 marks the sixth annual Disability Employment Month in British Columbia, and WorkBC said it presents an opportunity to celebrate the diverse abilities of many employees, as well as recognizing inclusive employers and communities.
According to WorkBC, the COVID-19 pandemic has led record-high unemployment rates in B.C. and across Canada, and people with disabilities more likely to feel the impacts of job loss.
“Research has shown that individuals with disabilities face higher than average rates of unemployment, and are more than twice as likely when compared to the general population to be living in poverty,” said WorkBC. “People with disabilities also have difficulty finding work, and when they do it is often in the retail and food sectors– both of which have shed the most jobs during the pandemic.”
WorkBC added that employers are searching for long-term, reliable employees who bring innovative ideas and multiple perspectives, and individuals with disabilities are able to meet this need.
“Diverse and inclusive workplaces are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, six times more likely to be innovative and six times more likely to effectively anticipate change,” said WorkBC.
As well, staff retention was 72% higher among employees with disabilities and employers noted that performance equalled or exceeded that of co-workers 90% of the time.
WorkBC Employment Services offers resources through its website for people with disabilities and employers looking to hire them.
“When people with disabilities are placed in positions that play to their interests and expertise they excel in their work, have greater independence, increased purchasing power, and fuller engagement. In turn, the community benefits from the ingenuity and resourcefulness of an inclusive employment community,” explained WorkBC.
Those looking for employment resources locally can contact a WorkBC Centre in Cranbrook, Fernie or Invermere.