The Minister of Employment had to develop a strategy to improve the workplace integration of people with disabilities. The strategy had to include clear targets. The Minister had to report on the effects of the strategy in 2009.
People with disabilities were also added to the groups targeted by the Act respecting equal access to employment in public bodies. Quebec’s Human Rights Commission (Commission des droits de la personne) oversees this law. The law applies to public organizations with at least 100 employees.
These organizations must develop equal access employment programs aimed at increasing the representation of certain groups, including people with disabilities. Programs must include clear targets and deadlines. Organizations must report to the Commission every three years on the measures they’ve taken and the results they’ve achieved.
The government adopted a strategy for the workplace integration of people with disabilities in 2008 (Stratégie nationale pour l’intégration et le maintien en emploi des personnes handicapées – in French). The strategy aimed to reduce the gap between the employment rates of people with and without disabilities by 50% by 2018. It includes 61 commitments from a dozen ministries and government agencies.
According to the report on the first phase of the strategy (2008 to 2013), 46 commitments had been or were being met (Bilan 2008-2013 – Stratégie nationale pour l’intégration et le maintien en emploi des personnes handicapées – in French). However, the lack of reliable data on the employment rate of people with disabilities made it impossible to determine whether the strategy’s goal had been met. The government didn’t track the number of people with disabilities who had been affected by the measures taken so far.
The second phase of the strategy still hasn’t been developed. It is already five years behind schedule.
The overall goal of the organizations subject to the Act respecting equal access to employment in public bodies is to ensure people with disabilities represent 3% of their staff. In 2012, on average people with disabilities represented 1.3% of the staff of these organizations. In 2016, the Human Rights Commission stated that these organization must triple the representation of people with disabilities on their staff to achieve their goal.
The second phase of the government’s employment strategy for people with disabilities is already five years behind schedule. The government must implement it immediately.
The law should include clear targets for the hiring and retention of people with disabilities.
*For more information about Quebec’s disability law, click here.