Job hunting in today’s tough labour market is hard enough as it is. However, those job seekers with disabilities may have an extra few hurdles to overcome. Here are some tips that may help you or someone you know who has a disability succeed on your job search.
What is a disability?
The Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Code contain a section on disability: Section 10 (1) of the Code defines “disability” as follows:
“because of disability” means for the reason that the person has or has had, or is believed to have or have had, any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device, a condition of mental impairment or a developmental disability, a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language, a mental disorder, or an injury or disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
What you need to know
Disclosing your disability
You are not legally liable to disclose your disability to employers either on your resume, your cover letter, or anywhere else in your application that you submit for a position.
Answering interview questions
Be aware that the interviewer is not legally allowed to ask you direct questions about your mental or physical disability. Try not to focus on your disability, weaknesses, or negative points. The best way for you to shine in an interview is to draw attention to the point that you can in fact do the job and that you are genuinely interested in the company and opportunity.
Asking for accommodations
If the interview process allows, you may ask for any accommodation necessary to get to your interview. Other accommodation required to actually do your job should be requested once you receive a job offer from the employer.
Other helpful resources
Service Canada has more helpful information, and the Toronto Central Health Line has a great listing of various programs offering employment and job retention assistance for people with disabilities. Remember this quote by Martina Navratilova: “Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you’re needed by someone”.
Shaheerah Kayani is a Technical Recruiter at Planet4iT within the Finance, Capital Markets and Wealth Management domain. She formerly worked as a Professional Resume Writer. Connect with her on LinkedIn.