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Hiring Persons with Disabilities: A Sound Business Decision

The best reason to hire anyone, with or without a disability, is because they’re the right person for the job.

If you’re like many Alberta employers, you may find that the best person to fill your next opening is someone who happens to have a disability.

As you consider hiring a person with a disability, you may have questions about the benefits as well as concerns about the impact on your current staff, customers and bottom line.

Defining disabilities

Statistics Canada defines a disability as an "activity limitation or participation restriction associated with a physical or mental condition or health problem." Disabilities can include a wide range of conditions, both visible and invisible, from spinal cord injury to heart disease.

There are more than 15% of Albertans, 15 years of age and older, living with a disability.

A disability may require a person to approach a task differently than someone without a disability would, but the person may still be able to get the job done.

For more information about specific disabilities, visit the Information on Disabilities section provided by Viable Calgary.

Getting the job done

People with disabilities bring their commitment, motivation and effectiveness to work every day:

  • Most people with disabilities perform as well as or better than other employees.
  • Most employees with disabilities do not need accommodations, or the accommodations they do need—such as flexibility—are no-cost. 70% of accommodations cost less than $500. Most accommodations are tax-deductible expenses.
  • Most employees with disabilities match or exceed their co-workers’ productivity and have similar retention rates.
  • Most employees with disabilities work as safely as, or more safely than, their co-workers.
  • Employment standards apply to all employees, regardless of ability. People with disabilities are hired, paid, promoted, trained and released just like other employees.

The business case for hiring people with disabilities

  1. Increase your talent pool.
    • Job seekers with disabilities are a sizable untapped labour source.
    • Better access to post-secondary education and new technologies are allowing even more people with disabilities to reach their full potential.
    • Nearly half of the 795,000 Canadians with disabilities who could be contributing to the economy (but currently are not) have post-secondary education.

  2. Gain a competitive edge.
    • Research shows that companies with a strong commitment to hiring people with disabilities tend to outperform their competitors in revenue growth.
    • Responding to the needs of employees with disabilities will put your business in an excellent position to expand that awareness and access new customers of all abilities.

  3. Boost your reputation.
    • Businesses that hire people with disabilities say it improves their reputation as well as their culture.
    • Hiring people with disabilities demonstrates good corporate citizenship.
    • Companies that hire people with disabilities enhance their public image with many customers, who view it as “the right thing to do."
    • Customers expect to see diversity in the organizations they do business with.
    • Companies that hire people with disabilities report a feel-good result that affects both customers and staff.

  4. Drive Motivation
    • People with disabilities must find creative solutions to challenges on a day-to-day basis. They bring that competency to your business when you hire them.
    • People with disabilities often have advanced problem-solving skills and unique perspectives on overcoming obstacles—qualities that can drive the creation of new products, services and ways of doing business.

  5. Boost loyalty and retention rates among all employees.
    • Extending reasonable accommodations to everyone will help integrate employees with disabilities. All employees appreciate having a more flexible workplace. The payback to your business is retention and loyalty.
    • You may want to work with a community service provider that specializes in recruitment, placement and workplace support for people with disabilities. For information about working with service providers, visit the Recruiting page at

  6. Prepare for change.
    • As your workforce and customers age, you will benefit from the knowledge you’ve gained about how to support their changing needs in mobility, work arrangements and communication.
    • Your employees with disabilities will be able to lead your organization through this change.

Your decision to hire people with disabilities connects your business to a pool of individuals of all skill levels. They bring a range of abilities to the workplace that often includes innovative ways of meeting challenges. Hiring people with disabilities is not only the right thing to do—it’s a sound business decision for all the right reasons.

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