Why You Should Consider Hiring People with Disabilities

Access Untapped Talent Pool by Hiring Disabled Workers

Across Canada, individuals with disabilities experience lower employment rates and earnings than the rest of the population. Despite being well-educated and eager to work, these individuals are often turned away by employers. There’s a misconception among employers that hiring workers with a disability involves expensive accommodation costs and a lower return-on-investment. This could not be further from the truth and employers are ignoring a hiring avenue that could catalyze their business’ growth.

The disabled community is an untapped pool of talent that businesses are missing out on. These individuals demonstrate strong performance, good attendance, and greater job retention. Recent studies indicate that the benefits of making workplace accommodations greatly outweigh the costs; businesses must start hiring disabled workers.

Throughout 2017, the Government of Ontario has actively promoted workforce expansion through hiring people with disabilities. Funding programs have been established to offset wages/salaries and encourage businesses to create an inclusive labour force.

Encouraging Businesses to Hire Disabled Workers

Canadians with disabilities face many challenges when trying to gain employment. However, provincial governments, such as the Government of Ontario are promoting inclusive work forces. In a recent call for action, the Government of Ontario is requesting that businesses with 20+ employees commit to hiring workers with disabilities to tackle unemployment rates.

40% of Canada’s disabled youth population has earned a post-secondary degree or diploma. Additionally, these young adults typically graduate at a higher per-capita rate than individuals without disabilities. It is important for businesses to acknowledge the intelligence and ability that these individuals can bring to the workforce.

Across the country, businesses need to commit to developing and retaining an inclusive workplace that supports all individuals.

Government Grants for Hiring Disabled Workers

Across Canada, there is a negative assumption that associates individuals that self-identify as having a disability with additional employment expenses. Some employers assume that hiring people with disabilities will end up costing the business additional time and financial resources to accommodate the candidate’s needs. However, recent studies show that 59% of accommodations cost nothing to make. On average, employers only incur approximately $500 in additional accommodation costs.

To encourage more employers to build an inclusive workforce, the government is providing grants and wage subsidies to offset the cost of hiring disabled workers.

Hiring grants address the low employment of Canadians with disabilities by offsetting the costs associated with orientation, integration, and skills development. 1 in 7 people have some form of disability and may face challenges when trying to gain employment. Employers that access this pool of talent can receive up to 50% coverage of employee wages/salaries to a maximum $13,500 in funding for 3-9 months.

Related Post: Ontario Government Funding for Hiring Workers with Disabilities

Eligible Candidates

To be considered for funding, eligible candidates must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada;
  • Self-identify as having a permanent physical or mental disability that restricts ability to perform daily activities;
  • Be legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial legislation and regulations;
  • Requires assistance to prepare for, obtain and keep employment or self-employment; and
  • Be underemployed (working less than 20 hours per week) or unemployed.

Please Note: Candidates cannot be eligible for assistance under EI employment benefits or have claimed EI benefits.

Eligible Disabilities

Government funding can be leveraged to offset wages/salaries of employees that self-identify as having one of the following disabilities:

  • Agility;
  • Hearing;
  • Mental health;
  • Visual;
  • Intellectual;
  • Developmental;
  • Learning;
  • Motor skills; and
  • Speaking.

Please Note: Additional disabilities may qualify as well. No medical records are required to apply.

Eligible Job Roles

Since the government’s focus is building inclusive workforces and encouraging businesses to hire disabled workers, all job roles are eligible.

Start Accessing Wage Grants for Your New Hires

Get started with hiring grants and wage subsidies to help grow and develop your workforce’s skillsets. Government funding can be used to attract and retain new, unique talent and your company’s access to expertise. Most programs will offset up to 50% of your new hire’s wages.

Tell us about your hiring plans and we will help determine your business’ eligibility and identify applicable funding opportunities for your workforce development initiatives.

Funding Funding Now, Contact Mentor Works


  1. Its 2019, I am disabled. I was on ei yesrs ago back in 2015.. does that mean I am i not eligible. Many Canadians have at one time or other claimed ei so we are all screwed?

    1. Hi Doug – This program is specific to employers hiring new employees with self-identified disabilities, however at this time, the program is not currently accepting applications. I would recommend that you explore Startup Resources Page if you’re interested in starting your own business or if you live in Ontario, Employment Ontario could be able to help with your employment needs. All the best.

      1. Hi Chris – As an employer, where can I found more up to date information about this program, including when the program will begin accepting applications again?

        1. Hello Joshua,

          Thank you for reaching out with your interest in this program. When information is available on a refresh of this program, or a similarly scoped program, we will publish additional information on our website, so please stay tuned. If you would like to explore if there are any other hiring programs that your company can leverage, please connect with us by filling out a contact form on our website using this link and we will have a team member connect with you.

          Kind regards,

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