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Grace’s stepping stones to full-time employment

3 July, 2023 — While both Canada and Australia have laws and policies aimed at promoting the employment of people with disabilities, there are some differences in their approaches. Here are some key points to consider.


  • Disability Discrimination Act: Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act, enacted in 1992, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in various areas, including employment. It requires employers to provide reasonable adjustments or accommodations to enable people with disabilities to participate fully in the workforce unless it would impose unjustifiable hardship.
  • Disability Employment Services: Australia has a dedicated national network of Disability Employment Services (DES) that provide support to job seekers with disabilities. These services offer job search assistance, training, and ongoing support to help individuals with disabilities find and maintain employment.
  • Australian Human Rights Commission: The Australian Human Rights Commission oversees the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act and promotes disability rights and inclusion. It provides guidance to employers and individuals on disability discrimination issues.


  • Accessible Canada Act: In Canada, the Accessible Canada Act was passed in 2019. It sets out a framework for achieving accessibility and removing barriers in various sectors, including employment. The Act aims to create a more inclusive and accessible society for people with disabilities.
  • Federal Employment Equity Legislation: Canada has federal employment equity legislation (the Workplace Equity Program) that requires federally regulated employers to promote equal opportunities for four designated groups, including people with disabilities. Employers are expected to implement affirmative action measures to increase the representation of people with disabilities in the workforce.
  • Provincial/Territorial Legislation: In addition to federal legislation, individual provinces and territories in Canada may have their own laws related to disability employment, which can vary in terms of scope and provisions. Ontario is an example to follow, with policies and programs implemented such as:
    • The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) provides assistance to individuals with disabilities in various aspects of employment, including finding employment, maintaining a job, progressing in their careers, and establishing a business. Participants in this program can anticipate receiving guidance, support, and access to work-related disability accommodations like assistive devices, adaptive technology, interpreter services, intervenor services, as well as reader and notetaker services.
    • The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is an Ontario law mandating that organizations must follow standards to become more accessible to people with disabilities. The goal for the province is to be fully accessible by 2025. All levels of government, private sectors, and non-profits must comply with this legislation.

These are the efforts made at a provincial level that hope to tie in with the federal efforts of Canada’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The five main goals that the Canadian government aims to achieve include:

  1. Improving the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities
  2. Reducing poverty among persons with disabilities
  3. Achieving the Accessible Canada Act goal of a barrier-free Canada by 2040
  4. Developing a consistent approach to disability inclusion across the Government of Canada and making it easier for persons with disabilities to access federal programs and services
  5. Fostering a culture of disability inclusion

These policies strive to make tangible impacts by improving the employment prospects of those living with disabilities, such as Grace.

Grace’s story

Grace, a determined young woman impacted by autism, faced a challenging journey during the COVID-19 lockdown. She faced significant challenges in finding employment in the hospitality industry.

However, with the support of Anna, her employment advisor, they shifted to online meetings and explored alternative job opportunities. Anna reassured Grace that her skills were transferable, leading them to consider customer service roles. Grace eventually secured a position as a temperature tester at a local hospital, applying her hygiene management skills.

With Anna’s continued guidance, Grace expanded her role in the hospital’s food services department and received positive feedback from patients. Grace’s ambition led her to study medical terminology on the job and transition into an administration role within the hospital.

After a year of diverse experiences, Grace secured a full-time position as an Operations Co-ordinator with a radiology company. With increased self-confidence and independence, Grace is now thriving in her desired career path. Jobfind’s Disability Employment Services provided ongoing support throughout her journey.

In the near future, we can expect an increase of stories similar to Grace’s as these policies and programs gain wider utilization.