“Wake up, Canada," says Rick Hansen, Founder and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation. New research from the Conference Board of Canada suggests that failing to make accessibility for people with disabilities a higher priority for would cost the country billions of dollars in lost economic growth.
The Conference Board says consumer spending by Canadians with disabilities currently contributes about 14 per cent to Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and adds “that figure could be much higher if people with disabilities faced fewer barriers to participating in the workforce.”
“If businesses were to make a concerted effort to become more inclusive, both by making physical environments accessible and adjusting their attitudes towards the disabled, the economic impact for the country would be significant. The number of people with physical disabilities in the workforce could climb by 15 per cent, which could add $16.8 billion to Canada's GDP by 2030.”
"We keep talking about labour shortages, how companies are having more and more difficulty finding qualified staff," said one of the researchers. "This is a group that is underemployed and can make a significant contribution to the economy."