Ontario Expanding Employment Supports for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities

$3 million investment over three years will help build a skilled and inclusive workforce


OTTAWA – The Ontario government is investing an additional $3 million over three years in the David C. Onley Initiative to build capacity of postsecondary institutions across Ontario to prepare students with disabilities to transition into the workforce. This investment will help extend supports to more learners through the creation of an online toolkit, providing a comprehensive roadmap that more institutions can use to help students with disabilities.


“On this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we recognize that the pandemic has heightened barriers for an already vulnerable population who face increased difficulties connecting with employers and the job market,” said Goldie Ghamari, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Colleges and Universities. “This investment will help take the valuable learnings from the original David C. Onley Initiative and support institutions in localizing resources to help transition students with disabilities into employment – contributing to a skilled, more inclusive workforce.”


The David C. Onley Initiative launched in 2018-19 as an applied research project led by Carleton University, in partnership with the University of Ottawa, La Cité and Algonquin College. Their work has helped employers become more inclusive and strengthen their businesses by leveraging diversity as a competitive edge in the marketplace, setting students with disabilities on a path towards fulfilling careers. Actions have included:


  • Launching the AbleTo campaign to encourage employers to make workplaces accessible for employees with disabilities and support students and graduates with disabilities as they move into the workforce
  • Coordinating workshops and accessible career showcase events for students with disabilities so they can explore job options with inclusive employers
  • Facilitating recruitment opportunities and providing online resources like guidebooks, tip sheets and webinars to support job seekers, service providers, students and employers
  • Piloting innovative strategies at postsecondary institutions to actively foster the growth and accessible opportunities for students with disabilities in career preparation and employability skills

Click here to read the full news release

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