Employment

Here is Accessibility Standards Canada’s standard, along with funded grants and contributions research related to employment. Check here often for new information related to this priority area.

Standards

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CAN-ASC-1.1 Employment

CAN-ASC-1.1 Employment

Areas of focus

There are common areas where people with disabilities may experience barriers to accessibility in employment. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Information and awareness about available accommodations and training
  • Finding and keeping a job
  • Seeking workplace accommodations
  • Career and job development

This standard is in development

  • This draft standard is intended to provide preliminary information to help government departments and federally regulated entities as they continue their journey to improve accessibility in the area of employment.  
  • This draft standard is no longer open for public comment. The public review took place from July 19, 2023 to November 14, 2023.  
  • This draft standard will be replaced by the final standard once the standards development process is complete. The final standard is expected in Fall 2025.

Read the draft standard

Technical committee members

Mahadeo Sukhai (Chairperson), Vice-President of Research and International Affairs & Chief Accessibility Officer, Canadian National Institute for the Blind

Andrew Livingston (Vice Chairperson), Chief Executive Officer, Dexterity Consulting

Christine Lund, Policy and Program Analyst, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC)

Don Gallant, National Director, Ready Willing and Able, Inclusion Canada 

Emile Tompa, Senior Scientist, Population/Workforce Studies Program, Institute for Work & Health

Emmanuelle Lopez-Bastos, Human Rights, Equity and Diversity Co-ordinator, United Food and Commercial Workers Union 

Gary Malkowski, Director, Sign Language Institute Canada, Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, Deaf Culture Centre

Glen Hayes, Senior Human Resources Advisor, Treasury Board Secretariat

Jamie Burton, Chief Executive Officer, INNoVA 

Kelsey Baker, Compensation Consultant, Nova Scotia Education Common Services Bureau

Mark Wafer, Chair, Board of directors, Canadian Hearing services 

Monique Beaudoin, Consultant (semi-retired)

Norma McCormick, Founder and Principal, Corporate Health Works Incorporated

Rachel Desjourdy, Accessibility Lead, CBC/Radio-Canada

Seema Lamba, National Human Rights Officer, Public Service Alliance of Canada 

Steven Lewis, Manager, Senior Legal Counsel and Accessibility Advisor, Capital One Bank (Canada)

Wendy Lau, Chief Executive Officer, Leads Employment Services

Grants and Contributions Research

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Career Transitions and Accessibility in the Canadian Federal Public Service

Career Transitions and Accessibility in the Canadian Federal Public Service

This research project is completed.

Who is leading this research?

Carleton University

What is the goal of this study?

This study focuses on employees with disabilities within the Canadian federal public service. Its goal is to investigate the factors that facilitate or hinder career transitions at key points. These transitions are moments of significant change. They include the points where employees:

  • join the public service (for example, when they are hired);
  • move within it (for example, when they get promoted); and
  • leave the public service (for example, when they quit or retire).

Why does this study matter?

It is important for employers to know how they can help employees with disabilities have a successful employment life cycle. This can help these employees navigate the process and increase their job opportunities.

What are the key findings?

  • Employers need to fully address requests for accommodation. They need to do this promptly.
  • A co-worker “buddy” system improves onboarding.
  • Managers need to make conversations about accessibility the norm.

Managers share a common desire to accommodate employees with disabilities. When managers have the tools to support these employees, they gain confidence in their ability to provide accommodation.

If you would like a full copy of the report, please email us

Indigenous Communities and Federal Accessibility Standards: A Situational Review

Indigenous Communities and Federal Accessibility Standards: A Situational Review

This research project is completed.

Who is leading this research?

First Nations National Building Officers Association

What is the goal of this study?

This study will look at how programs and services aimed at removing barriers for people with disabilities can be improved in Indigenous communities.

Why does this study matter?

This study will provide a better understanding of Indigenous perspectives on disability and accessibility. This knowledge can then be applied to future standards.

What are the key findings?

  • Few studies exist on the barriers faced by people with disabilities living in Indigenous communities.
  • Many public buildings in Indigenous communities were not designed to be accessible. This is especially true for older buildings.

Designing public space in Indigenous communities needs to involve people from the community, especially people with disabilities.

If you would like a full copy of the report, please email us.

Future of Work and Disability

Future of Work and Disability

This research project is completed.

Who is leading this research?

Inclusive Design Research Centre - Ontario College of Art and Design University

What is the goal of this study?

This study will look at how artificial intelligence and other technologies affect people with disabilities. The goal is to determine whether these technologies limit or improve their employment opportunities and well-being.

Why does this study matter?

The use of artificial intelligence in employment processes is increasing. The impact of this on people with disabilities needs to be studied. This will ensure everyone is treated equally. It will also ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from the process as an unintended consequence.

What are the key findings?

  • Artificial intelligence cannot overcome certain employment barriers. These include job applications that are not accessible. It also includes systems that do not value the skills of people with disabilities.
  • Artificial intelligence could support inclusion by removing hiring barriers. Adaptive technologies that are based on artificial intelligence can be used to support people with disabilities. Data can be used to “train” artificial intelligence to recognize and support diversity.

Artificial intelligence can support inclusion. However, it cannot overcome attitudinal barriers. These continue to be the greatest barrier to employment for people with disabilities.

If you would like a full copy of the report, please email us.

The Future of Work: Equitable Digital Systems

The Future of Work: Equitable Digital Systems

This research project is completed.

Who is leading this research?

Inclusive Design Research Centre - Ontario College of Art and Design University

What is the goal of this study?

This study will review the digital tools and software used in federally regulated workplaces that present barriers to employees with disabilities.

Why does this study matter?

These tools need to be accessible to improve employment opportunities for people with all types of disabilities.

What are the key findings?

“For people with disabilities to be successful at work, it is important for them to have access to digital tools.”

  • When software and other digital tools are introduced in the workplace, people with disabilities need to be able to access them. Ensuring such access should be a priority.
  • Every employee should have access to and know how to use communications systems that support people with disabilities.
  • When considering the purchase of new digital tools and services, it is important for employers to prioritize accessibility.

If you would like a full copy of the report, please email us.

Advancing Equal Access for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Workplace

Advancing Equal Access for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Workplace

This research project is completed.

Who is leading this research?

Inclusion Canada

What is the goal of this study?

This study will gather information about barriers to employment for people with intellectual disabilities. It will do this by consulting with individuals and employers. It will use this information to develop best practices.

Why does this study matter?

Best practices can inform employers so they can improve employment access for people with intellectual disabilities.

What are the key findings?

Equal access to employment means everyone can work equally. It also means having employers treat everyone as equals, regardless of their disability.

  • Inclusive employment is when people with intellectual disabilities are treated and paid the same as everyone else they work with.
  • To be more inclusive, employment standards need to explicitly address intellectual disability.
  • Education on inclusive employment should focus on best practices and supports rather than awareness. This will promote inclusion more effectively.

If you would like a full copy of the report, please email us.

Employment Accessibility Standards for Recruitment and Retention of People with Disabilities

Employment Accessibility Standards for Recruitment and Retention of People with Disabilities

This research project is completed.

Who is leading this research?

Social Research and Demonstration Corporation

What is the goal of this study?

This study will review information on approaches, training, tool kits, and other employer resources. The goal is to identify and develop successful practices to hire and retain people with disabilities.

Why does this study matter?

Employers need successful strategies and approaches to hiring and retaining employees with all types of disabilities.

What are the key findings?

Employment must be accessible. This includes recruitment and retention processes. Employment that is accessible supports the success of people with disabilities.

  • A workplace that is inclusive of people with disabilities can create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees. 
  • Showing that an organization values accessibility and inclusion can help recruit people with, and without disabilities.
  • All employees should be responsible for equity, diversity, and inclusion. Promoting this message helps create a culture of belonging.
     

If you would like a full copy of the report, please email us.

Developing Recommendations and Guidelines for Augmentative and Alternative Communication to Enable Persons with Motor, Communication, and Speech Impairment to Participate in Employment

Developing Recommendations and Guidelines for Augmentative and Alternative Communication to Enable Persons with Motor, Communication, and Speech Impairment to Participate in Employment

This research project is completed.

Who is leading this research?

Queen’s University

What is the goal of this study?

Augmentative and alternative communication devices make it possible to communicate in ways other than speech. The goal of this study is to determine the requirements for such devices to enable people with motor control and communication disabilities to participate in employment.

Why does this study matter?

This research will help improve access to employment opportunities for people with motor control and communication disabilities.

What are the key findings?

  • Assistive communication devices improve the quality of life of people with disabilities. They also increase the participation of these individuals. Such devices can help in all areas of life, such as education, employment, and social participation.
  • Designing communication tools is complicated; it requires the participation of the people who will use them.
  • The application process for accessing assistive communication systems and programs must be clear and barrier-free.
  • The people who will use the communication tool must be trained. Their family members, employers, and employees must also receive training.

“Each person has the right to a voice of their own and a right to be heard.”

If you would like a full copy of the report, please email us.

Building an Evidence-Based Universal Design Framework for Employment Standards in Canada

Building an Evidence-Based Universal Design Framework for Employment Standards in Canada

This research project is completed.

Who is leading this research?

Canadian National Institute for the Blind

What is the goal of this study?

This study will gather information about universal design practices in the workplace. It will determine the best practices for people with visual  and other sensory disabilities.

Why does this study matter?

Best practices can inform employers on how to improve employment access for people with visual and other sensory disabilities.

What are the key findings?

  • It is important for people with visual and other sensory disabilities to have access to employment-related training support. This support needs to be provided from an early age and continue throughout adulthood. This will help them compete in the job market.
  • Job interviews are used to assess candidates. Employers need to ensure this process is accessible. This means they should provide proper accessibility tools and software to job candidates. It also means the people conducting the interviews need to know how to interview people with disabilities. For example, they should only ask questions that are relevant to the job.
  • Employers need better support and training to understand the needs of potential job seekers with disabilities. One solution might be for different employers to partner with other employers. The purpose of this would be to share best practices and provide mutual support.

“Creating accessible conditions for people with disabilities provides them with opportunities to assume roles of increasing leadership.”

If you would like a full copy of the report,

please email us.

Future-Focused Job Accommodation for the School-to-Work Transition

Future-Focused Job Accommodation for the School-to-Work Transition

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Institute for Work and Health

What is the goal of this study?

This study will investigate current and emerging barriers that young people with disabilities could face when they transition from school to work. It will identify how existing workplace policies and practices could be adapted to improve employment access.

Why does this study matter?

It is important to understand what young people with disabilities need to transition successfully from school to work. This will help inform employers on how they can support this transition.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

The Impact of Remote Work on Workplace Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

The Impact of Remote Work on Workplace Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

McMaster University

What is the goal of this study?

People with disabilities face barriers when working remotely. This study will identify the barriers to workplace inclusion in a remote work environment. 

Why does this study matter?

Ensuring inclusion in diverse work arrangements is important for people with disabilities. Broader efforts in this area are needed.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Quiet waves: Seeing Communication Barriers in Inclusive Design

Quiet waves: Seeing Communication Barriers in Inclusive Design

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Canadian Association of the Deaf

What is the goal of this study?

This study will identify best practices in communication that help remove barriers faced by the Deaf community. It will also include a review of technology-based solutions. This review will look at both policy-based and cost-sharing solutions.

Why does this study matter?

People who are Deaf and use sign language must have equitable access to communication. This will enable them to connect with others wherever they go.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Enhancing Social Cohesion by Creating Accessible Festivals and Events

Enhancing Social Cohesion by Creating Accessible Festivals and Events

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Independent Living Canada

What is the goal of this study?

This study will explore the accessibility of festivals and other events in Canada. It will also look at the experiences and job opportunities for youth with disabilities who want to work at such events.

Why does this study matter?

Arts and cultural activities are a part of everyday life. They also offer interesting employment opportunities. Such activities need to be accessible to everyone—regardless of ability.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

SURF: Sourcing Understanding Thru Research for Future Talent

SURF: Sourcing Understanding Thru Research for Future Talent

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work

What is the goal of this study?

This study will investigate what youth with disabilities experience when they transition from school to work. Specifically, it will look at how students with disabilities can be better supported during this period.

Why does this study matter?

Students with disabilities often face greater barriers when they leave school and enter the workforce. When students have the right supports, they can successfully enter the workforce.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Developing Principles, Guidance, and Good Practices for Community-Based Emancipatory Research on Accessibility Standards

Developing Principles, Guidance, and Good Practices for Community-Based Emancipatory Research on Accessibility Standards

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Council of Canadians with Disabilities

What is the goal of this study?

This study will identify how to add the voices and lived experience of people with disabilities to community-based research. This includes the experiences of those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

Why does this study matter?

The lived experience of people with disabilities is important to research. In the past, disability-related research has been “about” disability; it has not focused on the thoughts or experiences of people with disabilities. Including the perspectives of people with disabilities will inform research.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace: Barriers to Inclusion

Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace: Barriers to Inclusion

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada

What is the goal of this study?

Some people have disabilities that are not visible. This study will identify the barriers these people face in the workplace. It will also identify best practices for including and supporting them at work.

Why does this study matter?

When they are at work, people with invisible disabilities often experience different barriers than those faced by people with visible disabilities.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Mapping Accessible Employment Pathways for Youth with Disabilities: National and International Best Practices

Mapping Accessible Employment Pathways for Youth with Disabilities: National and International Best Practices

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

McGill University and the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning

What is the goal of this study?

This study will identify best practices in transitioning youth with disabilities from school to work. It will also look at the specific barriers faced by Indigenous youth with disabilities and youth living in non-urban communities.

Why does this study matter?

Youth with disabilities can have intersecting identities. For example, they could be Indigenous or located in a rural or remote area. This can increase the barriers they face when they transition from school to work.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Creating Inclusive Employment: Empowering Youth with Disabilities Through Inclusive, Accessible Skills Development

Creating Inclusive Employment: Empowering Youth with Disabilities Through Inclusive, Accessible Skills Development

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

March of Dimes Canada

What is the goal of this study?

Youth with disabilities need support to access employment. This study will focus on understanding how to better provide this support.

Why does this study matter?

Youth with disabilities may experience increased barriers as they transition from school to work. By removing barriers, these youth will have a better chance to make this transition successfully.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Brain Injury and Accessibility of the Electoral Process in Canada

Brain Injury and Accessibility of the Electoral Process in Canada

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Brain Injury Canada

What is the goal of this study?

People with brain injuries experience barriers to participating in election-related activities. This study will identify ways to remove and prevent these barriers.

Why does this study matter?

Every Canadian has the right to vote and be involved in the electoral process.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Inclusive and Accessible Skilled Trades Employment for People with Disabilities

Inclusive and Accessible Skilled Trades Employment for People with Disabilities

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

The Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

What is the goal of this study?

This study will explore what students with disabilities experience when they transition from college to work. It will focus on skilled trades. The study will offer best practices to support training and education for students with disabilities.

Why does this study matter?

The skilled trades sector employs a lot of Canadians. People with disabilities are an untapped labour market for this sector. They deserve equal access to these opportunities.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Accessibility and Inclusion Competencies as a Culture-Building Tool for Inclusive Workplaces

Accessibility and Inclusion Competencies as a Culture-Building Tool for Inclusive Workplaces

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Canadian National Institute for the Blind

What is the goal of this study?

This study will explore the best ways to create a workplace culture that supports accessibility and inclusion for employees with disabilities.

Why does this study matter?

To be successful, employees with disabilities need to work in an inclusive environment. All employees are responsible for creating an inclusive workplace.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Virtual Communication Project

Virtual Communication Project

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Wavefront Centre for Communication Accessibility

What is the goal of this study?

This study will identify the factors that make it harder or easier for people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf/Blind to communicate. This includes communication that takes place in person, virtually (online), or both (hybrid environment).

Why does this study matter?

Communication is essential for all Canadians, including people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf/Blind. Being able to communicate enables them to participate meaningfully in society.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Enabling Independence: Assessing Activities of Daily Living to Inform Safety Standards for Built Environments

Enabling Independence: Assessing Activities of Daily Living to Inform Safety Standards for Built Environments

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Carleton University

What is the goal of this study?

This study will create a set of best practices for integrating technology into built environments, such as buildings and other structures. This will help people with disabilities be more independent.

Why does this study matter?

Built environments that support independence can improve the quality of life of people with disabilities. It can also increase their participation in the community.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Accessible Canada, Accessible World: Co-creating a Global Standards Community

Accessible Canada, Accessible World: Co-creating a Global Standards Community

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Inclusive Design Research Centre - Ontario College of Art and Design University

What is the goal of this study?

This project will build resources for research informed by the experience of people with disabilities. These resources will be created through in-person and online events. 

Why does this study matter?

Including the lived experience and expertise of people with disabilities allows for a more inclusive approach to accessibility. Increased accessibility can be achieved when the people who face barriers are included in the research and standards development process.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Accessibility Futurisms: Analyzing Access through a Disability Justice Modality

Accessibility Futurisms: Analyzing Access through a Disability Justice Modality

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

The Youth Project Society of Nova Scotia

What is the goal of this study?

A disability justice framework centres the experiences of excluded groups. This study will explore the intersecting experiences of young 2SLGBTQIA+ people with disabilities. It will study the increased barriers they may face in their communities. The study will include recommendations to increase accessibility. These will focus on buildings, outdoor spaces, programs and services, communication, and transportation.

Why does this study matter?

Everyone deserves equal access and support within their community.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Advancing Accessibility Standards through Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit

Advancing Accessibility Standards through Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society

What is the goal of this study?

This study will gather information on how accessibility standards are used in Nunavut. It will identify barriers faced by people with disabilities from an Indigenous perspective.

Why does this study matter?

A better understanding of Indigenous perspectives on disability and accessibility is needed. This will make future standards more relevant to Indigenous communities.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Inclusive Airports

Inclusive Airports

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Université Laval

What is the goal of this study?

This study will explore what people with disabilities experience when navigating airports. It will also make recommendations to support the employment of people with disabilities at airports.

Why does this study matter?

All Canadians should have easy access to airports and the services they provide. This includes having access to employment opportunities at airports.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

New projects

Enabling Science: Accessible Infrastructure Through Knowledge Mobilization

Enabling Science: Accessible Infrastructure Through Knowledge Mobilization

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

University of Toronto

What is the goal of this study?

This study will gather data on the barriers faced by people with disabilities who work in federal science laboratories. Scientists with disabilities will be involved in assessing the research findings. This will improve our understanding of the impact of barriers. It will also inform the development of accessibility standards in the built environment. 

Why does this study matter?

People with disabilities are underrepresented in the scientific community. The physical environment and the equipment used in laboratories can pose many barriers to people with disabilities. These barriers could prevent students with disabilities from entering science programs.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.

Investigating the Development of Accessibility Standards in Canada and the Inclusion/Exclusion of Episodic Disabilities

Investigating the Development of Accessibility Standards in Canada and the Inclusion/Exclusion of Episodic Disabilities

This research project is still underway.

Who is leading this research?

Realize

What is the goal of this study?

Some disabilities come and go. These are known as episodic disabilities. This study will look at how accessibility standards can address the barriers faced by people with episodic disabilities.

Why does this study matter?

Most people think of disabilities as visible, permanent, and unchanging. Episodic disabilities challenge that belief.

There is a need for more focused action to address a broader range of conditions. Increasing our understanding of the types of episodic disabilities will help spur such action.

What are the key findings?

Key findings will be shared once the research is completed.