First released for sale a little over a decade ago as a DVD, the CERIC-funded “A Difference of Ability: Recruiting, Hiring and Employing People with Disabilities” documentary can now be viewed for free online. While awareness of this talent pool has grown, the employment rate for people with disabilities remains low. The employment rate of Canadians aged 25 to 64 with disabilities is 49%, compared with 79% for Canadians without a disability (Statistics Canada, 2012).

“A Difference of Ability” examines the daily challenges facing people with disabilities and reveals the reasons why job-seekers and employers experience difficulty connecting and how that can change. People who have found employment success offer insights, practical solutions and strategies.

Produced by Robert Burt, the documentary received positive feedback following its 2006 release screening at the Toronto Board of Trade. Steven Fletcher, then Parliamentary Assistant to the Federal Minister of Health and the first quadriplegic to serve in the House of Commons, said:

“The time is right for this documentary to be seen by employers, service agencies, prospective employees, the government and the public. Its messages are poignant and empowering and gives all groups concerned a blueprint for navigating their way to full engagement. When there is equity in employment practices and full participation from all sectors of our society, Canadians everywhere benefit. There is no reason why Canada should not be leading the way on fully maximizing the work potential of all of our entire citizenry.”

The 50-minute documentary has been broken down into four shorter segments to facilitate its use among career professionals, clients or employers. By making the documentary available as a free resource, it is hoped that it will continue to serve as a catalyst for dialogue and change towards more persons with disabilities finding and maintaining meaningful paid employment.

You can access the documentary through CERIC’s ContactPoint website, an online community dedicated to providing multi-sector career development professionals with resources, learning and networking opportunities. Note that you will need to register for a free ContactPoint account to view the videos. A version of the documentary with French voiceover and sub-titles can be found on CERIC’s OrientAction website.

Recognizing that some recruitment, hiring and employment practices will have evolved since the documentary was produced, you are encouraged to share your observations on what has and has not changed in the online comments section.