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Accommodations for people with low vision include providing seating where the lighting best meets their individual needs; making brochures, job announcements, and other information available in electronic format; and equipping computers with large monitors and screen enlargement software.

Most Recent Jobs

Employment Counsellor – Bilingual (French/English)

Agilec - Oshawa,
Posted Friday February, 9th

Part-time Audio Visual Technician

Town of Ajax - Ajax,
Posted Friday February, 9th

Part-time Culinary Instructor

Town of Ajax - Ajax,
Posted Friday February, 9th

Community Roadmap to Employment

WE LISTENED - Community Roadmap


Key to the strategy is that the plan is co-created. A multi-pronged approach was developed to engage as many stakeholders as possible and to provide them with the information they needed to make informed choices.

Community Roadmap Summit:

In November 2016, DREN put out a call to action to the Durham Region community for 100 community members to come together to co-create a Community Roadmap to Employment for Youth with Barriers to Employment.

The Community Roadmap to Employment opening circle comprised of over a 100 community members from employment service providers, community agencies, educators, employers, persons with disabilities, municipalities, funding organizations, parents/caregivers. Participants signed up voluntarily and had to only meet one criteria: be passionate about increasing the economic participation for youth with disabilities in Durham Region.

Opening circle for the Community Roadmap to Employment for Youth. Photo courtesy of ODEN network.

By the end of the day utilizing an open space technology format facilitated by Michelle Chambers, a plan of action was in place, action teams formed and a commitment was solidified to increase the economic participation for youth in Durham.

From those 24 conversations six priority topics were voted on by the participants. Participants created action teams and developed next steps. 

Working group information sessions, consultations, surveys and online submissions were held between December 2016 and August 2017 to gain another 150 more community voices.

This Employment Ontario project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.  

Employment Ontario Logo 


WE HEARD - Community Roadmap


Elementary and Secondary Schools

  • There are six school boards in Durham Region and each has their own approach. There is no consistency across Durham Region in school to work program offerings.
  • The two larger elementary and secondary school boards in Durham Region provide information to parents at each transition stage and host community transition events.
  • The Durham District School Board facilitates quarterly Transition Advisory Committee meetings and has a Community Work Experience Program that allows some students with special needs to experience the world of work. Not available at all schools though.
  • There is no provincial employment strategy for youth with special needs from the Ministry of Education. 

Lived Experience

  • Regardless of educational achievement and career choice,  persons with disabilites in Durham Region remain unemployed and underemployed.
  • Higher education and employment experience are seen as markers for successful transition to adulthood.
  • Job seekers with disabilities want flexibility, choice and opportunity.
  • Specialized employment supports for youth with disabilities are limited, non-existent or project-based. Those that are available youth are not aware of. 

Engaging Employers

  • Employers respond best to the business case and how it will increase their bottom line as per ODEN, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Business SenseAbility.
  • Local government as an employer can influence change.
  • Employers identify soft skills and work ethic as lacking in young workers.
  • Employers are inundated with calls from competing employment service providers and recruitment agencies.
  • Employers need help navigating the system of employment programs, services and incentives:  Employment Ontario, ODSP, Skills Link, temporary and private recruitment agencies, federal/provincial programs
  • Employers cannot find suitable candidates with disabilities in their area in an easy, convenient method.


  • Navigation assistance is needed for both employers and job seekers for employment services ie. Provincial programs (ie. Youth Job Link), Federal programs (ie. Career Focus) and specialized services (ie. ODSP, Skills Link) as well as fee for service programs.
  • Service Coordination is needed between educators, pre-employment programs, employment services, community supports, employers and job seekers.
  • One point of access for youth with disabilities looking for work and employers wanting to hire persons with disabilities.

Lack of resources

  • Need more specialized employment services for youth with disabilities for ages 15 to 30 (longer transition period).
  • There are no specialized employment service providers by industry or career choice.
  • Youth employment programs not consistent in capacity to serve youth with multiple exceptionalities.
  • Lack of transportation and resources in municipalities and rural areas.
  • Need early employment interventions in school.


  • Employment supports perceived as an add-on to income supports. Messaging "not a priority".

Available Jobs

  • Durham has a low job to population ratio with 1 job to every 3 residents.[1]
  • High overall youth unemployment rate with low job population squeezes out opportunities for youth with disabilities.


  • Many government programs and services have eligibility requirements that limit access to students.
  • Those not seeking income support programs are left unaware of government funded employment services.
  • "Criteria" - Too young, too old, not disabled enough, too disabled, in school, out of school, etc.

[1] The Regional Municipality of Durham Region. Committee of the Whole Report #2017-COW-116 p. 6

Employment Trends for Persons with Disabilities

  • 2.8% increase in 12 years of ODSP cases received employment earnings
  • In 2014-15, approximately one per cent of the Ontario Works caseload left the program for employment, on average, each month
  • Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) Youth Job Employment Programming: 18% of the 18,707 service plans started in the Youth Job Connection program are youth with disabilities (No data on placements and completion rates)
  • By March 31st, the Youth Job Connection had 253 youth with reported income from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) (No data on completion rates)
  • According to Stats Canada employers not aware of limition of 1 in 4 workers with disabilities (stigma) 
  • For youth with multiple barriers, especially those with mental, intellectual and physical disabilities, their experience after exiting the education system is high unemployment and reliance on income supports.
  • A third of persons with disabilities in Canada rely on non-employment income.

Policy Alignment

Federal Government Policy Alignment: Pan National Commitment from the Government of Canada to develop new accessibility legislation with a focus on employment

Ontario Government Policy Alignment: Access Talent: Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities

This Employment Ontario project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. 

Employment Ontario Logo 


WE DELIVERED - Community Roadmap


While co-creating the Community Roadmap short term goals were developed and actioned from the Community Roadmap Summit reports. These short term goals were completed by project participants as we simultaneously developed the Community Roadmap strategy with medium and long term goals.

Table of Short Term Goals for the Community Roadmap
Action Completed Priority Outomes
Meet with Regional Chambers/Baord of Trade to engage small business in Durham June 15/2017 Employer Development

- Educated local Chambers/Boards on Youth Employmnet/Roadmap

- Provided avenues for input

- Invited partnerships

Hire summer students to engage youth voices August 2017

Fear Factor Barrier-Free Hiring

Engaging Schools

- 81 youth with disabilities provided feedback on challenges/barriers transitioning from school to work. Click to Download survey responses. 
Scan Durham Region to map existing school to work programs/services for youth with disabilities September 2017 Fear Factor

- Limited choice in Durham Region. Many programs are project based and not consistently available. Need constant scanning to share current information. Click to Download list

- Service coordination is needed between educators, pre-employment programs, employment services, community supports, employers and job seekers

Research Canadian models of www.askjan.org the American Job Accomodation Network that provides online accomodation information to employers. August 2017 Employer Development

- No Canadian model but potential national orgs identified to host such a service - Canadian Business SenseAbility https://senseability.ca/ for a business perspective. March of Dimes for national perspective with disability expertise.

Scan to identify networking models that engage youth with disabilities August 2017 Networking

-List of national, provincial and post-secondary events.Click to download list.

-List of influencers with disabilities as potential speakers. Click to download list.

-List of successful annual leadership summits for best practices potential models. Click to download list.

Scan and identify successful marketing campaigns for youth/employers August 2017

Employer Development


-Successful campaigns identified around awareness, engagement and education. Click to download list.
Identify models of government leadership at the municipal level April 2017 Role of Government - Sarnia model
Identify and introduce employment training/models for educators April 2017 Engaging Schools

- Sarnia Community Living presented JobPath program in April

- DDSB School to Work Program presented 

- Interviews with DDSB parents, students, educators of DDSB School to Work program

One Point of Access for Hiring Youth with Disabilities for Summer Jobs June/July 2017 Employer Development -DREN piloted posting Canada Summer Job positions recruiting youth with disabilities in Durham - preliminary results were favourable



This Employment Ontario project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.  

Employment Ontario Logo