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Employment and Entrepreneurship Committee

Contact: Marcia Yale (yale@blindcanadians.ca)

There is an unacceptably high rate of unemployment among blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians living in Canada. It is estimated that 70 percent of working age blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians are currently not in the work force. There are a number of reasons for this devastating picture including attitudes of employers, lack of affordable technology and associated ongoing cost of technology, and lack of funding for technologies already proven to be accessible but not approved for purchase by provincial and territorial programs designed to get blind Canadians online. Programs exist to get blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians into Canada's work force but to date, none have succeeded in securing jobs which also have a career development component outside of Governments.

The Employment and Entrepreneurship Committee was established to advise the AEBC Board and our membership about available resources which could assist blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted Canadians to prepare for the job search, best practices in employment, ultimately help blind Canadians find rewarding jobs or start businesses as paths to meaningful employment. In order to determine existing barriers, both attitudinal and physical, it is the committee’s intent to seek funding to engage a large research company to conduct a nationwide survey which will target different participant groups such as blind job-seekers, social assistance agencies, employers, and entrepreneurs, with specific questions aimed at uncovering underlying issues and current practices. For example, employers will be asked what competencies are required in today’s job market and whether blind Canadians could be expected to demonstrate these competencies. The study will seek to determine barriers to employment, prevailing attitudes, existing programs and their positive and negative results. The Committee will endeavour to hire a grant-writer to go after funding, preferably someone with a high degree of enthusiasm for the task at hand due to its relevance to his/her own life experience. Such a study would be of great importance to many organizations such as provincial and federal Human Rights Commissions and other government agencies.

Committee Minutes

(No minutes posted)
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