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Disabled unemployment may exceed 15% in Canada
Disabled unemployment in Canada is 53% higher among disabled workers – where are the Federal HRDC programs to address this issue?
By: Stephen Pate
"With the recession, unemployment among the disabled is estimated to have soared to 14.7%," said Stephen Pate director of PEI Disability Alert.
"With $80 billion spent on infrastructure, how much has the Federal government spent to address unemployment among the disabled?" he asked.
"The disabled are usually the last hired and the first fired in a downturn."
"Even those numbers are low since they only represent the disabled actively looking for work. The real unemployment rate among the disabled approaches 30%," Pate said.
In the US, estimates are higher – more than a 30% unemployment rate among American disabled workers.
The current 8.7% unemployment rate is based on 800,000 people qualifying for employment insurance while 1.6 million Canadians were estimated to be out of work in August 2009.
As of the last survey in 2006, Statistics Canada reported unemployment for Canadians with disabilities at 10.4%. The rate for those without an disability unemployment is 6.8% as of 2006.
See: Participation and Activity Limitation Survey 2006:Labour Force Experience, Statistics Canada
"That represents a 53% higher unemployment rate if you are one of Canada’s 4.4 million disabled," said Pate.
The disabled represent the 2nd largest demographic group in Canada, apart from male or female. In 2006, there were 6.1 million immigrants, 4.4 million disabled and 4.3 million seniors.
On PEI in 2006, the rate of unemployment for the disabled was 16.6% versus 11.1% without a disability.
"Today unemployment among the disabled who are looking for work is estimated at 22.6% on Prince Edward Island," added Pate.
Only Newfoundland and Nunavut have higher rates of disabled unemployment.
"Government programs to assist employment of persons with disabilities have failed to even the playing field. The Province of PEI has no effective program to ensure employment equity for the disabled," Pate said.
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PEI DIsability Alert
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PEI Disability Alert is a not-for-profit PEI corporation publicly advocating on behalf of the disability community.