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Canadian Hearing Society encourages government and employer efforts to break down employment barriers for Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians

TORONTO , Dec. 1, 2017 /CNW/ - On the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Hearing Society is shining a spotlight on the employment barriers facing Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians.

It is estimated that there are 357,000 culturally Deaf and 3.21 million hard of hearing Canadians. According to Statistics Canada, in 2011 less than half (47.9 per cent) of working-age adults (between the ages of 25 to 64) who are Deaf or hard of hearing found employment compared to adults without a disability (73.6 per cent).

"International Day of Persons with Disabilities is about recognizing the diverse skills, talents and contributions made by individuals with disabilities," said Julia Dumanian , Canadian Hearing Society President and CEO. "This day also provides a platform to highlight that Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians face significant barriers in seeking meaningful employment, which impacts their ability to participate fully in society."

Last year, the Canadian Hearing Society released a position paper highlighting the difference in employment rates between hearing and non-hearing Canadians. The paper refutes common myths and misperceptions about hiring Deaf or hard of hearing individuals related to productivity, sickness, staff turnover and costs associated with providing accessibility. The paper found the following:

  • Studies showed that employees with disabilities are often more productive than their able-bodied peers, with lower rates of absenteeism and turnover.
  • One study found that in 57 per cent of cases, no workplace accommodation was required for people with disabilities.
  • There is no evidence that shows that there are higher safety incidences with employees who are Deaf or hard of hearing compared to their hearing counterparts.

"It's frustrating that many employers and other individuals don't always see the potential in the Deaf and hard of hearing or put in the effort to help them to succeed at work. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals have a lot to offer," said Meghan Murray , a young adult who was diagnosed with a disease that causes hearing loss in the majority of those affected.

In recognition of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian earing Hearing Society's Gary Malkowski will participate in a panel discussion highlighting innovative employment programs, resources, partnerships and individual success stories. The panel will include representatives from provincial and municipal governments, employment agencies, and the private and not-for-profit sectors. For more information about the panel event, visit: http://enables.me/event/international-day-persons-disabilities-toronto/.

"The Canadian Hearing Society is committed to working with our clients, government, employers and others to implement changes that ensure a more inclusive, barrier-free society for all," said Dumanian.

Since 2014, the Canadian Hearing Society has supported more than 3,800 Deaf and hard of hearing clients in finding employment and placed more than 235 individuals in jobs each year.

The Canadian Hearing Society's Employment Services – the largest of its kind in Canada - provides specialized, free services to adults (aged 16 and over) to support them in seeking employment including arranging interpreters at job interviews and helping them to succeed at work. Employment Services also advise employers on how to implement workplace accommodations for a barrier-free work environment.

About International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992, International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated on December 3 rd to promote awareness of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

About the Canadian Hearing Society
Trusted since 1940, the Canadian Hearing Society provides industry-leading services and products that enable Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians to overcome barriers to participation. It is an independent, registered non-profit organization that reinvests proceeds from product and program sales back into community services, the focus of the organization. For more information about CHS services, visit https://www.chs.ca/

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SOURCE The Canadian Hearing Society

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