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Skills gaps, underemployment and equity of labour-market opportunities for persons with disabilities in Canada

This article provides information on the labour market participation of Canadians 25 to 64 years of age with a physical or mental disability related to seeing, hearing, mobility, flexibility, dexterity, pain, learning, development, psychological/mental disorders or memory. The factors associated with the employment participation of persons with disabilities are discussed, along with their job characteristics. In 2011, the employment rate of Canadians aged 25 to 64 with disabilities was 49%, compared with 79% for Canadians without a disability. The employment rate among persons aged 25 to 64 with a mild disability was 68%, compared with 54% of those with a moderate disability, 42% of persons with a severe disability and 26% among those with a very severe disability. The difference in employment rates between persons with disabilities and those without a disability was lower among university graduates. This difference was non-significant in the case of university graduates who had a mild or moderate disability. Approximately 1 in 2 university graduates, with or without a disability, held a professional occupation. However, graduates with a disability were less likely to hold a management position and earned less than those without a disability, especially among men. Among Canadians with a disability, 12% reported having been refused a job in the previous five years as a result of their condition. The percentage was 33% among 25- to 34-year-olds with a severe or very severe disability.