Breaking barriers: Project aims to connect disabled job seekers with employers
Published Sunday, March 27, 2016 10:11PM EDT
Tim Rose has an honours bachelor degree from Carleton University and a masters of law and human rights from the University of Nottingham. But for four years, he couldn't land a job.
Rose also has cerebral palsy, and he says that his movement disorder may have put off many employers.
"I think there is a lot of stigma, so when I showed up for interviews, even something as simple as shaking hands, which I do in a bit of a different way, people get uncomfortable," Rose told CTV News.
However, Rose now has a job that he hopes will help other disabled Canadians who are facing the same struggle.
Rose is the diversity lead for Ryerson University's new online project called Magnet, which aims to connect employers with disabled job seekers.
An estimated 3.8 million adult Canadians are disabled, according to Statistics Canada data from 2012. A 2011 study by the federal agency also found that only 49 per cent of working-age Canadians (25 to 64) with physical and mental disabilities have a job. That compares with a 79 per cent employment rate among the general working-age population.
Mark Patterson, the executive director of the project, says the goal is get to qualified job seekers who have disabilities hired.
"We needed to make it easier for employers to find people with skills and qualifications, and again, if they want to engage with hiring persons with disabilities, being able to find them faster as well," said Patterson.
More than 70,000 jobs seekers and 6,000 employers have registered for the service.
Mark Wafer owns six Tim Hortons franchises and has 46 employees with disabilities on staff.
He says he may turn to Magnet to hire more disabled workers.
"That is why innovation is high. That is why productivity is higher. That is why absenteeism is lower. Because they are not going to give a boss an opportunity to look at me and say: 'You know what? Your disability is an issue here. We need to let you go.'"
Rose hopes to get more companies and employers thinking the same way.
With a report from CTV's medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip