The occurrence of a disability can have a profound impact on every aspect of workers’ lives including their connection with the workplace, their ability to make a living, their role in the family and their overall health and well-being. Here are the sobering statistics:
- After a six-month absence, there is only a 50% chance the worker will return to the job. After one year, that chance declines to 20% and after two years, to 10%.
- Once a person with a disability loses the connection with the pre-disability employer, the prospect of finding work is very dismal. Only 1% of new hires in Canada in 2022 (down from 1.2% in 2001) were people with disabilities (Labour Canada Annual Report Employment Equity Act, 2003).
- While almost 16% of the population of Canada has a disability (Statistics Canada, 2001), the representation of persons with a disability in the Canadian labour force is only 2.3%, far less than their estimated 6.5 – 8% availability (Labour Canada Annual Report Employment Equity Act, 2002).
- A Canadian study found that over 50% of persons with a disability living in a large urban centre live on less than $15,000 a year, i.e., below the poverty line for a single person.
- 50% of workers lose their homes following the onset of a disabling condition.
- Lifestyle changes resulting from a disability can be extremely challenging, leading to secondary disabilities such as depression. Minimizing the number of life changes by offering accommodations that allow workers to quickly and safely return to work leads to better health outcomes than convalescing entirely at home.