Tremendous Economic Potential Among People with Disabilities

first_imgDISABLED PERSONS COMMISSION–Tremendous Economic Potential AmongPeople with Disabilities Nova Scotia has one of the highest rates of disability in Canada,with about one in five Nova Scotians reporting a disability. Thisgroup represents an economic force of tremendous potential, saysHalifax resident Johanne Caron, a long-time advocate ofemployment for people with disabilities. “We’ve got a very valuable workforce. People with disabilitiesare our next small business people, or the people who will makethe next big scientific discovery.” Ms. Caron, a member of the Nova Scotia Disabled PersonsCommission says that removing barriers pays off for employers aswell as their employees. “Over the years, I’ve worked in different organizations in everysector — public, private, not-for-profit — and in every oneI’ve seen employment-related programs for people withdisabilities succeed,” she says. For Ms. Caron, removing barriers means becoming more open tohiring and educating people with disabilities. Indeed, it wasbecause of her interest in community economic development,employment and education for people with disabilities that Ms.Caron decided to get involved with the commission. Her involvement and dedication is a real-life example of thetheme for the 2004 International Day Of Disabled Persons –Nothing About Us Without Us. The International Day of Disabled Persons, Dec. 3, is set asideeach year to celebrate and acknowledge the experience andcapabilities of people with disabilities. The 2004 theme is areminder that effective policies and programs depend uponcollaboration among people with disabilities and all levels ofgovernment. The ideas and perspectives of community members like Ms. Caronenable the Disabled Persons Commission to influence governmentdecisions. Recently, for example, the commission provided inputon the framework for an updated federal-provincial employmentinitiative for people with disabilities. This framework willsupport people with disabilities in becoming employed, succeedingin their jobs and remaining in the workplace. It will also assistemployers as they get ready to hire people with disabilities. Federal and provincial governments are working together toimprove the employment situation for persons with disabilitiesunder the Multi-lateral Framework for Persons with Disabilities.The new multi-lateral framework was developed after almost twoyears of discussions and extensive consultations with people inthe disability community, including members of the DisabledPersons Commission. Ms. Caron’s work with the commission has focused on employmentand education, both in terms of physical accessibility andattitudes toward disability. Her participation on the DisabledPersons Commission is one way she, as a person with a disability,can inform and guide policies and programs for persons withdisabilities. The Disabled Persons Commission was created in 1990 to advise theprovincial government and educate Nova Scotians on issuesconcerning people with disabilities. -30-last_img read more