News Release – Statistics show vital opportunity for companies to review recruitment practices for diversity and inclusion during NDEAM

October 1, 2019 — National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is significantly more than just the time of year for celebrating workplace contributions of people who have a disability and business successes stemming from diversity and inclusion.

It represents a critical opportunity for all businesses to review their recruitment practices. Statistics show many companies are still missing out on an untapped talent pool — skilled people who have a disability.

The 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability showed the employment rate of adults who have a disability is 59% compared to 80% of those without a disability. Although the disability employment rate has increased from 48% since the 2012 survey by StatsCan, there’s still a lot of opportunity for improvement.

“There’s a huge pool of educated, skilled people who are still too often overlooked. This is the month to really think about whether your company is as diverse and inclusive as it could be,” says Jeannette Campbell, CEO of The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN). “Progress is being made in business, but there’s still more opportunity. And it usually starts with recruitment and company culture.”

Says Ingrid Muschta, a Diversity & Inclusion Specialist with ODEN, “There are many benefits for companies when they hire from this hidden talent pool. These include increased profitability and productivity; more efficiency; less employee absenteeism; and better employee engagement.”

This year, ODEN is focusing on five weekly themes centered around recruitment and  onboarding:

“We’re kicking things off with ‘how to find the talent’ because that’s really the first thing that a business owner needs to know, and one of  the most common things they struggle with,” says Campbell.

In 2017, a research survey by the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work found 71% of businesses haven’t hired staff who have a disability because they’re unaware of the job skills of people in this talent pool.

The highlight of ODEN’s 2019 NDEAM campaign will be on October 24. A moderated panel discussion on hiring for diversity and inclusion will be livestreamed nation-wide from ODEN’s Annual Rethinking Disability Conference at the Sheraton Parkway Hotel in Richmond Hill, ON.

The 75-minute session features four business leaders from the public, non-profit, manufacturing and retail sectors. They will share their experiences in inclusive hiring. The leaders will talk about not only their successes and how diversity and inclusion has positively changed their businesses, but also about the challenges they worked through to achieve those successes.

“We decided to livestream this conference panel because we believe the experiences being shared can help inspire more businesses across Canada to focus on increasing diversity and inclusion within their hiring practices,” says Campbell

As part of its NDEAM 2019 campaign, ODEN has created an interactive Myth Quiz for business owners, hiring managers and HR professionals. It tests their knowledge of common disability myths and recommends knowledge-building strategies depending on their quiz results. The Myth Quiz is available at


About ODEN:

The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN), created in 2008, is a professional body of more than 130 employment service providers united to increase employment opportunities for people who have a disability. Members are from every corner of the province and support people of all disability types. Beyond Ontario, ODEN ( has connections with organizations in most provinces and territories of Canada.

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Dave Bennett, Xposure PR