Access to Success: A Guide for Employers

The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies

By Gary Annable

The Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS) is a consumer-directed, university-affiliated centre dedicated to research, education and information dissemination on disability issues. Through our activities, we promote the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of society, working in partnership with the disability community, the corporate sector, the academic world and governments.

CCDS is guided by the philosophies of independent living and community living, emphasizing human rights, self-determination, interdependence, equality, a cross-disability focus, and full and valued participation in the community. Members of the disability community are key participants in directing CCDS policies and activities. Our offices are located in Winnipeg, but much of our work is at the national and international levels. (Major international CCDS projects exist in Russia and the Ukraine.)

CCDS’s research program has conducted studies on a range of disability issues since 1996, including youth employment, home-based employment, self-employment, literacy and healthcare. Descriptions of our current and past research projects (including many downloadable reports) can be found at

One particularly exciting current research project is a longitudinal study examining the school- to-work transition experiences of post-secondary students with disabilities. This study will follow a group of university and college students with disabilities from graduation to one year post- graduation. During the first phase of the study (2002), students with disabilities who attended universities and colleges in Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Halifax were interviewed just before or after graduating.

During the second phase of the study (October 2003 to September 2004), recent graduates with disabilities—including those who participated in the first phase—will be interviewed about their experiences making the transition from university or college to the labour force. A report that will be published in the Fall of 2004 will describe the participants’ experiences seeking employment, starting new jobs, the responses of employers to requests for workplace accommodations, what career and job search supports the participants found most and least useful, etc.

We are using a participatory research process that includes the study participants in the data analysis and report writing process. An advisory committee that guides and advises the project is made up of representatives of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) and the Canadian Association of Disability Service Providers in Post-Secondary Education (CADSPPE), as well as employers, and university and college career and employment advisors. This study is funded by Human Resources Development Canada’s Office for Disability Issues. Funding from the Royal Bank Financial Group supports the work of CCDS’s Royal Bank Research Chair on this and other CCDS projects.

If you would like more information about CCDS’s Research, International, Education, or Disability Information Network programs, please visit our web site ( For further information about the school-to-work transition study, contact:

Royal Bank Research Chair
Canadian Centre on Disability Studies
56 The Promenade
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3B 3H9
Tel: (204) 287-8411
TTY: (204) 475-6223
Fax (204) 284-5354