Thursday, August 9, 2012

Research Paper on Disabled People

Employment Equality for People with Disabilities in Canada

We all are fully aware of different kinds of discriminations, both from school and just from our every day life. We have read loads of articles in newspapers and have heard a lot of stories about racial or ethnic discrimination against Black, Asian, Native American, and Arabic people. Moreover, most of us are educated in the fields of the Holocaust in which over six million of European Jews were killed, and Armenian, Ukrainian, Gregorian and many other genocides. We seem to know what discrimination is, what forms in comes in and who suffers from it. Moreover, we seem to think that today it does not exist at all, or, if it does, then in a very light form.

One other misconception that most of us have is that in today’s world the discrimination can be only racial, on the base of gender, religious, or finical. Conversely, this is not the full list of possible groups that suffer from discrimination and inequity. Yes, we were told stories at school and/or by our parents about those who suffered from acts of sanctioned discrimination, such as racism, anti-Semitism, anti-feminism, and other evil biased tactics. Even so, a group that is now exceptionally disadvantaged has been left out in the lectures of our teachers and parents, history books and television shows. That discriminated and deprived at all times group are disabled people. As sad as it is, people, as well as the government tend to forget about this group of their counterparts. Such fact is shameful and serious actions should be taken in this field in order to change the living and working conditions disabled people have to suffer today.


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In my essay I would like to discuss the problem of equal employment for people with disabilities in Canada. To begin with I will briefly expound the history of advocacy movementa of disabled people in Canada, that is, in fact, quite remarkable. Later on in the paper I will talk about the current situation of the employment of disabled people in the country. Afterward I will try to find the solutions and actions that should be taken in Canada to put in force full equity of employment of disabled people.

When speaking about the current situation of disabled people on the Canadian labor market, the attitude of Canadian people to that group must be described. It can be seen today that Canadian attitudes toward people with disabilities have improved greatly. Having looked through some older posts of disabled people from Canada on the Internet I realized that not that long ago disabled people in Canada were basically expelled from the mainstream society (Benchmark Survey, 2004). Young parents, whose children happened to be born disabled, were getting refusals from the daycares and kindergartens, because it was not desired to have disabled children next to their healthy coevals. This seems too evil to be true, though it is, according to the recollections of those who particularly suffered from it.

The time has passed, the society today is more liberal and people are more accepting and equitable, so more and more disabled people get employed and achieve great success. As it is for every critical issue, it is very inspiring to see that the changes for the better have been successfully done (Benchamark Survey, 2004). In the present day not only there are “equal rights and the provision of services for Canadians with disabilities” on paper, but also in real life. Though, the situation with disabled people is not perfect yet, and without a shadow of doubt, when it comes to this issue “overall perfection” and not just “visible improvement” must be required.

Now I would like to take a closer look at the history of advocacy of equity employment of people with disabilities in Canada. According to the article of D’Aubin, in Canada people with disabilities have a long advocacy practice (2004). Moreover, advocating the overall equality of disabled people is an imperative part of “the Canadian public policy framework” (D’Aubin, 2004). Of course, all the efforts of independent advocates and advocacy organizations were and are to completely eliminate discrimination in the country. The main goals of these groups were to eliminate the obstacles still existing on the way of disabled people and prevent the appearance of new obstacles in the future (D’Aubin, 2004).

Of course, all issues that deal with labor market tend to be difficult to solve. Consequently, the issue of improving the participation of people with disabilities in labor market was hard indeed. It was one of the most difficult projects undertaken by the advocacy groups of people with disabilities. Various Canadian associations tried a lot of strategies in order to diminish and, in the best case, obliterate the unemployment and underemployment of disabled people. In addition to that, disabled individuals acted independently trying to achieve better life for them and their counterparts (D’Aubin, 2004). Of course, the response to such a strong appeal from the Canadian government was “to secure the necessary legal protection that would have the scope to tackle the discrimination rampant in the labor market” (D’Aubin, 2004).

After some time mutual advocacy efforts of the disability community were successful. In order to strengthen all the changes that had to be made in the positions of the disabled people of Canada the Human Rights Act was signed in 1995. This Act offers protection to people with disabilities of all kinds. Yes, the equity for disabled people had made a huge break-though, though later in the paper we will see whether all the points mentioned in Canadian Human Rights Act are held in real life.

Besides, later on in addition to Canadian Human Rights Act another document was signed that is Disability Discrimination Act (DDA or DD Act). The Disability Discrimination Act (1995) has been subject to a number of amendments. It was modified in 2003 and 2005 because, of course, at different times different obstacles appear on the way of disabled people. At first place this act was composed to emphasize that even though disabled workers share the same general employment rights as other workers, they also possess some special provisions and benefits.

These provisions are cautiously stated in Disability Discrimination Act and every disabled employee should be aware of all his/her rights and possible provisions stated in the act. For example under the Disability Discrimination Act it is illegal for employers to “discriminate against disabled people for a reason related to their disability, in all aspects of employment, unless this can be justified” (Disability Discrimination Act, 1995). Also there are such helpful points as application forms, interview arrangements, job offers, terms of employment, and information about work-related benefits in the Act (Disability Discrimination Act, 1995). Thus, all the possible things that a future or a current disabled employee may need are available for him/her.

The facts stated above make it seem that the discrimination on the base of physical disability does not exist in Canada anymore. It seems that two such strong and serious documents as Canadian Human Rights Act and many times reviewed and modified Disability Discrimination Act should take care of all the problems and discrimination that may occur when looking for a job or at the work place. Though, we know that the employment inequity of disabled people still persists.

Lower I would like to point out the obstacles that The Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities considers being in the way of people with disabilities. The Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities was formed to identify, address, and embody issues facing Canadians with disabilities on labor market. The organization was formed because there was some kind of a structure needed to put an end to the inequity existing. The Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities considers that there are a lot of barriers on the way of disabled people to equal employment. I will mention some of these reasons/obstacles that prevent equity employment for disabled people lower.

To begin with, after all these years of advocacy there is still little consciousness and support on the subject of workers with disabilities. The Association holds an opinion that the employment situation cannot be improved until people with disabilities are fully accepted and until there is full awareness on the matter of their state (The Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities, 2007). Unawareness leads to another problem that was also stated by the Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities. As the surrounding people are ignorant they make it impossible for disabled people to find employment. Even in our times there is still a disgraceful stigma attached to being an employee with a disability. This leads to the fact that many disabled employees simply don not make known, if it is possible, that they have some particular disabilities. They are just afraid to loose their job, if already accepted, and are afraid not to ever be hired, if applying for a job (The Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities, 2007).

A further reason is that the support services directed to help disabled workers are not given enough resources and support to in fact help them. Therefore people with disabilities do not receive adequate and appropriate education, rehabilitation, and employment services. Of course, not all professionals with disabilities require disability supports to help them in their work, but a lot of them do and their needs must be satisfied (The Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities, 2007).

The last but one reason for undemocratic employment of disabled people I would like to state is as follows. Even if a professional with disabilities is a great worker, standard at every skill, there is still prevention for the employer. If choosing to hire a disabled professional, the employer should not forget about the amount of “real or perceived accommodation costs” that devolve from hiring him/her (The Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities, 2007). Last of all, professionals with disabilities, seeing that the situation with employment for disabled people is rather displeasing and discouraging may not even want to try to get employed. They prefer to struggle but try to survive receiving only the disability/health benefits.. Of course, they would be poorer though they find it better than being humiliated trying to find employment (The Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities, 2007).

Another sad thing is that even today in Canada people with disabilities cannot get decent education. Thus less people with disabilities get university and college degrees. Of course, employment and earnings depend on the education received. Therefore, it is not surprising that Canadians with disabilities do not fully participate in the country’s labor force, and earn less (Learning Disabilities, 2007). In addition to all stated above, in Canada, according to the Canadian Council on Social Development, those disabled people who did get university/college education and did get employed are usually less likely to receive training from their employers. Thus, considering that training usually leads to promotion and promotion leads to receiving more money, employees with disabilities are also less likely to be promoted and receive higher salaries (D’Aubin, 2004).

While doing my research I noticed that it is rather hard to find accurate up-o-date statistical facts on the issues concerning employment of disable people. Still, the facts that I have already mentioned in my paper give some indication of the problem. In my opinion, the best way to increase the number of public employees with disabilities is to make it so people fit the job, not that a job fits people. We live in the world of complete availability of all possible technologies. Therefore, it should be possible that every job, every position can be easily adjusted to a disabled person (Public Service Human Resource Agency, 2003).

From my point of view, the only way to fight the employment discrimination of disabled people is creating specialized associations and of course taking up some actions. Some things in this area are already done. A good example is the Canadian Association of Professionals with Disabilities that is a federal non-profit organization. This organization supports professionals with disabilities no matter who they are and where they come from, their career fields, current employment statuses, or degrees they have received at college.

In conclusion I would like to say that discrimination against the disabled takes place in all the countries and in Canada in particular on every-day basis. Of course, it is an ugly, disgracing and lamentable truth, but even that kind of a truth is still a truth that requires sharp and critical attention. In 1948 couple of years after the World War II the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. One of its passages stated that “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” Today fifty-nine years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed, it is disappointing to review the issue people with disability are still faced with. It is also sad to realize that principally we all still have to fight for basic human rights.

What employers should understand is that like any employee, a worker with disabilities wants to find a good, morally satisfying and of course well-paid job. Like anyone else, people with disabilities want career choices and opportunities and not career boundaries and restrictions. These professionals want to work in the bright and light office surrounded by other employees who also work for the wellbeing of the company. These professionals do not want to be hidden in the backrooms in solitude. These professionals are highly energetic, have plenty of innovative ideas and are open for cooperation (Heumann, 2006).

Today like never disabled people should stand up and speak out as they already start to be doing. As for me, I just simply do not understand how it is possible that in our developed and modernized society, where there seems to be “freedom and liberty for all” such issues as discrimination against disabled people may exist. It is shameful, it is disgracing and this situation must be changed.

The issue of equal employment for people with disabilities is not addresses by various organizations, thought it should be addressed by each and every of us as well. We should not simply take it for granted that we can go shopping, get serious, adequate education at school, college, and university, use banks, post offices, and libraries. We should not forget that there are people who are not capable using services we are so used to using. We should think more about these people and do everything possible to encourage their equal employment.

The health conditions of disabled people should be respected. Though, at the same time, sometimes it is better to shut the eyes when looking at these conditions and give disabled people a chance to show all their abilities and talents. Disabled members of our society must be treated like those without any special conditions and only this way we will help them feel that they are the mainstream members of our society.
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