The BC and Canadian governments must stop using wage subsidies to market the hiring of persons with disabilities
Wage subsidies in Canada do not work in providing long term employment for persons with disabilities and improving attitudes towards hiring them. For the most part, the job ends when the subsidy ends. Supposedly, there are safeguards to prevent employers abusing subsidies, but they are rarely enforced.
Apart from it being disturbing that employers are paid to hire qualified and often experienced workers simply because they have a disability, offering these inducements to employers to sweeten the deal to hire them has a tendency to cross ethical boundaries not to mention a tendency to attract employers who want to abuse the system and not be accountable in giving proper experience.
There is already a segment of the general population that believes that people with disabilities should be paid less than the general workforce, because they believe they are not as apt as others. So wage subsidies are a type of compensation. In a way, a subsidy is also like saying to employers “here we don’t want you to lose money in hiring the disabled” and thus this reinforces the wrongful perception that they are not as able and productive as other workers – that they are risky hires.
Still, despite all this, wage subsidies are still being used to market the hiring of persons with disabilities in Canada. They have been used here for decades without showing that they improve employment for persons with disabilities.
I was the “beneficiary” of a broken system that rarely had any checks and balances to hiring persons with disabilities. I began my career with 5 consecutive wage subsidies. [Two with the same disability agency. I also had 2 subsidies with government departments after they had just done a mass layoff of government workers. I was the cheap temp and was told that I was just keeping the seat warm until the next subsidy hire. The other subsidy was with another disability agency that was caught with wage subsidy fraud by a proactive employment caseworker (I found out there were a handful of caseworkers before this one who saw the fraud going on but did nothing.), and I was pulled out and placed elsewhere. Most times, I was only paid the subsidy portion and the employer never topped it up.] Wage subsidies were my option of last resort when I couldn’t get anything else. I hated them because they did not work, and because I felt I was being used by the employers who got them. However, I was out in the workforce for a period which allowed me to put something on my resume and money in my pocket, gave me a sense of purpose and dream about the future, be independent and contributing, have a social life and meet people, and to collect unemployment afterwards. However, having too many short term jobs right from the start had hurt my future career prospects because many employers saw red flags from a job applicant with too many short term jobs and long gaps in unemployment. I had found that having a patchwork career history from an outsider’s viewpoint did not match up to how a degreed professional’s work history should have looked like – a progressive career stream. Further, because of where I had worked, my resume screamed out disability and made employers even more suspicious. Disability discrimination created this but my red flag career history did not help me to get interviews. You can only hide or minimize so many red flags in career gaps and underemployment as well as explain so many short term jobs before drawing unwarranted suspicion — that is if you get an interview. Now with applicant tracking systems (online applications) that can screen out applicants with too many short term jobs and long employment gaps, experiencing underemployment, or not having the “right” current and previous job titles, securing employment has become that much harder for many persons with disabilities.
Many persons with disabilities will accept wage subsidy jobs as a job of last resort because the alternatives may be worse – employment gaps, financial problems, and welfare. There really is not much out there when you need to put food on the table and a roof over your head. They cannot wait for change to happen in improving the employment situation for people with disabilities. Life must go on.
Many of them may never be the beneficiaries of long term sustainable programs to get employers wanting to hire persons with disabilities. They will be too rusty, too old, and perhaps will not even be around while they wait for employers to change their attitudes towards hiring them.
It has been well known in the disability employment services community that, for the most part, wage subsidies do not lead persons with disabilities to securing long term and meaningful employment. When some disability employment service professionals have to apologetically say they can only offer you wage subsidies, you know that they even do not believe in them.
Attitudinal barriers from employers is the number one barrier facing persons with disabilities in employment. Offering subsidies to persons with disabilities is only reconfirming their misconceptions that persons with disabilities are not worth it or as capable as those without disabilities. However, the government, employers, and other influential stakeholders have not offered any effective alternative so that many persons with disabilities do not feel forced to continue to use wage subsidies in order to survive.
#BCElxn17 #BCPoli #BCPoverty #NotRealWorld #VanPoli #PovertyReduction #RaiseTheRates #EndTheClawbacks #AffordableHousing #LivingWage #FoodSecurity
Prepared by the BC Disability Caucus
BC Disability Caucus
Imagine you’re either a person of colour, a woman, non Christian, LGBTQIA, an indigenous person, etc., and a prospective employer acknowledges that you’re qualified for the job, but won’t hire you “unless they get a wage subsidy”.
You would probably scream “HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION!” right?
But as you’re reading this, there’s an employment program for people with disabilities that seems okay with this. https://www.facebook.com/BCDisability/posts/1988799498032018:0
Research shows Wage Subsidy’s don’t work http://ow.ly/QExc30dE0V5
BC Liberals Disability Jobs Plan – A Joke? https://www.facebook.com/notes/bc-disability-caucus/bc-liberals-disability-jobs-plan-a-joke/1839309299647706
Online Applications Are More Likely to Screen out Job Seekers with Disabilities https://www.facebook.com/notes/bc-disability-caucus/online-applications-are-more-likely-to-screen-out-job-seekers-with-disabilities/1809502839295019
Beware of fake job postings https://www.facebook.com/notes/bc-disability-caucus/beware-of-fake-job-postings/1832875820291054
Is it offensive to sell persons with disabilities as great workers because they work harder as they are grateful to have a job? https://www.facebook.com/notes/bc-disability-caucus/is-it-offensive-to-sell-persons-with-disabilities-as-great-workers-because-they-/1812688175643152
The Mental and Financial Cost of Being Perpetually Marginalized and Excluded from Employment As Persons with Disabilities https://www.facebook.com/notes/bc-disability-caucus/the-mental-toil-of-being-perpetually-marginalized-and-excluded-from-employment-a/1812276292351007
Wrongfully Screening Out Job Applicants with Disabilities https://www.facebook.com/notes/bc-disability-caucus/wrongfully-screening-out-job-applicants-with-disabilities/1808691592709477
Many B.C. disabled job seekers have no opportunity to access disability employment services funded by the Opportunities Fund https://www.facebook.com/notes/bc-disability-caucus/the-bc-and-canadian-governments-must-stop-using-wage-subsidies-to-market-the-hir/1902225193356116/
How would you respond as a reference if an employer called you up to ask if a job applicant had a disability? https://www.facebook.com/notes/bc-disability-caucus/how-would-you-respond-as-a-reference-if-an-employer-called-you-up-to-ask-if-a-jo/1839865192925450/