Disability Supports and Employment Policy

Submitted by Anne Makhoul on October 14, 2016 - 3:38pm
By Sherri Torjman and Anne Makhoul

Published by the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, the primary objective of this study was to explore the issue of access to disability supports and links to paid employment.

The presence of a policy typically involves a commonly accepted or understood set of procedures, which are often made public on a website, in a booklet or in some other widely accessible format. Anyone involved with that system – whether as user or provider – can readily describe how the processes work. They can articulate the nature of the good or service, the eligibility criteria to qualify for those provisions, the application procedures, and the associated expectations or requirements

This is not the case when it comes to work disability policy. Unfortunately, there are no such distinctly defined provisions within the diverse set of programs and measures that comprise the work disability landscape. Rather, there are several major streams into which individuals fall depending upon their relationship – in, temporarily out or none at all − with the paid labour market. The work disability policy ‘system’ (the term is used advisedly) consists of various programs and services whose purpose is to enable persons with disabilities to find a job, maintain their employment or re-enter the labour market.

In short, the way in which individuals came to the world of disability and their link − or not − to the paid labour market are major factors in determining access to disability supports. The system is complicated but perhaps far more so than it needs to be. The way in which the system of disability supports is constructed and organized seriously impedes access to its provisions.

The findings of this report are presented in the following sections:

  • disability overview
  • barriers to employment
  • pathways to employment
  • disability supports
  • key problems
  • policy strategies
  • selected federal and Ontario programs (Appendix C)

Access the full report here


disability_supports.pdf201.35 KB