A Blueprint for Action to Achieve Equitable Access to Employment Opportunities for Persons With Disabilities in Nova Scotia

Halifax, March 31, 2014 - For Immediate Release -

The Persons with Disabilities Employability Table has completed its final report: “A Blueprint for Action To Achieve Equitable Access to Employment Opportunities For Persons with Disabilities in Nova Scotia”.

You can read or download a copy of the report in Microsoft Word Format or Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Format on the Persons with Disabilities Employability Table website:

“The choice before us is not whether to change, but how. Do we let the forces around us play out, and adjust our expectations accordingly? Or do we actively engage in shaping the future?”
Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy

The Nova Scotia Persons with Disabilities Employability Table was established by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education to make recommendations on strategies to increase the number of persons with disabilities successfully entering and remaining in the Nova Scotia workforce.

This report is the culmination of the research, dialogue, personal and professional understanding of the Table members as they worked towards the fulfillment of the Tables mandate. The labour force participation rate for persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia stands at 52 percent, a full 27 percent lower than the participation rate of non-disabled Nova Scotians. This is 55,000 citizens with disabilities of working age who are not employed. This is both an opportunity to help build Nova Scotia’s “new economy” and a social and economic imperative that must be urgently addressed.

In embarking on building the Blueprint the Table has adopted the following “core assumptions”.

  • The health, well-being and economic prosperity of Nova Scotia require the presence and active participation of all its citizens;
  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Acts and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) guarantee equal rights, respect and dignity in all aspects of life, without discrimination on the basis of disability and require all sectors to take measures to assure that equality;
  • The Province of Nova Scotia provided its full-support to the Government of Canada to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and thus has committed itself to its responsibilities under the Convention particularly as they pertain to employment;
  • Labour market participation should be the expectation for all working age adults with disabilities irrespective of the nature and/or severity of their disability; and
  • Addressing the challenges facing persons with disabilities to enter the workforce requires leadership and a commitment to work together from: Government: federal, provincial and municipal; Employers: private, public and not-for-profit sectors; Educators: at the secondary and post-secondary levels; Community Organizations: employment service providers and advocacy organizations as well as persons with disabilities and their families.
  • The Table has articulated a vision. We envision a Nova Scotia where:

    • Every Nova Scotian with a disability, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability, has equitable access to a network of services that offer supports to help achieve their individualized employability aspirations;
    • Employers in Nova Scotia have access to information, tools and supports to help them build inclusive and welcoming workplaces for persons with disabilities and to become disability confident organizations; and
    • Nova Scotians with disabilities participate fully in the labour market and have increased economic independence and enhanced well-being.

The Table, in the Blueprint, has proposed specific outcome indicators that would provide a means of measuring the success of the Blueprint implementation. These outcome indicators are:

•    The labour force participation rate of Nova Scotians with a disability increases from 52% to 65% by 2019;
•    Persons with disabilities representation in the Nova Scotia Public Service increases from 2.9% to 10% by 2017;
•    Each year, over a five year period, an average of 750 persons with disabilities in receipt of income assistance achieved labour market attachment;
•    1,000 parents of students with disabilities in Nova Scotia attend targeted “Parents As Career Coaches” training by 2017;
•    70% of students with disabilities who graduate from high school with an Individualized Program Plan have paid employment, are attending training  or are in attendance at a post-secondary institution within a reasonable timeframe by 2019;
•    The number of Nova Scotian youth with disabilities who have a post-secondary certification grows from 38.1% to 48% by 2019;
•    The number of Nova Scotians with disabilities graduating from University with an undergraduate degree, diploma or certificate grows from 2.6% of those that graduate to 7% by 2019

Charlie MacDonald, Coordinator
Nova Scotia Persons with Disabilities Employability Table

c/o TEAM Work Cooperative
7071 Bayers Road, Suite M278
Halifax, NS B3L 2C2
Telephone at (902) 422-8900 Ext. 113