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Alberta tech employers are keen to hire people with disabilities but need better understanding of key issues: new report

Published: April 8th, 2021 By:

Ottawa, April 7, 2020—Maintaining the momentum of Alberta’s growing digital economy requires tapping every available talent supply stream, including people with disabilities. Employers, however, are often unclear of their responsibilities when reaching out to this segment of the talent pool. Access to accurate, up-to-date, and validated information and resources is needed.

Despite years of economic challenges in Alberta, further exasperated by the impact of COVID-19, the province’s digital economy is growing. In fact, at its height it added more than 30,000 jobs in 2020, and tech talent demand outstrips available supply. This shortfall threatens the continued growth of the digital industry, which is a promising cornerstone of Alberta’s post-pandemic economy.

This new study, Inclusivity and Accessibility at the Core: Pathways to Employment in the Digital Economy for Albertans with Disabilities, provides critical insights into disabilities in the workplace and accessibility and inclusivity in hiring practices.

Drawing upon interviews with subject-matter experts and a survey of Alberta’s digital economy employers, the study overturns mistaken perceptions about workplace accommodations that are needed for people with disabilities (usually minor in scope and cost) and explains how to effectively access this segment of the workforce, which in many cases has the right skills and education for the digital economy.

This study also provides the following:

  • Statistical snapshot of Albertans with Disabilities in the tech sector and the general economy
  • Understanding the importance of workplace culture
  • Available resources and supports for creating diverse and inclusive workplaces

“Expanding the employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Alberta makes strong business sense. It meets the demand for critical roles while building an inclusive and creative work culture and heightening the capacity for innovation in existing and new markets,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

This study was done in partnership with the Alberta Ministry of Labour and Immigration. The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services.

To arrange an interview with the lead researcher on this paper or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at p.stastny@ictc-ctic.ca or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

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