Addressing knowledge gaps about skills of persons with disabilities

Reasons for the study

Little to no information is available on the foundational and transferable skill levels of persons with disabilities. For example, the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—the main source for statistically reliable data on population skill levels—does not include this group. This project aims to fill this knowledge gap.

Objectives of the study

  • Determine what we do and do not know about the foundational and transferable skill levels and employment outcomes for persons with disabilities and recommend ways to fill the knowledge gaps
  • Conduct a literature review of existing research contained in demographic profiles developed by the Office of Skills for Success
  • Determine the main barriers faced by persons with disabilities in increasing their skill levels and further integrating into the labour market
  • Determine if women with disabilities face additional barriers and, if so, what these barriers are
  • Find proven or promising practices or avenues to increase skill levels of persons with disabilities and to reduce the barriers they face in doing so
  • Understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the skill development and labour market barriers of persons with disabilities, including the long-term implications of the pandemic on the future of persons with disabilities and their skill development and labour market barriers

Anticipated results/impact

The results of this project will be of value to Canadian work disability policy system stakeholders, including injured worker and disability community representatives, employers, policy-makers, disability program administrators, service providers and educators.

Project status

Ongoing

Research team

  • Emile Tompa, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health
  • Amir Mofidi, Institute for Work & Health
  • Basil Southey, Institute for Work & Health
  • Alexis Buettgen, McMaster University
  • Rebecca Gewurtz, McMaster University

Participating organizations

Employment and Social Development Canada

Funded by

Employment and Social Development Canada