The Government of Canada remains focused on creating jobs and economic growth by implementing Budget 2012. Since the end of the recession in July 2009, the government’s Economic Action Plan has helped create nearly 760,000 net new jobs, and we maintain the strongest fiscal position in the G-7.

We recognize that the future of growth and prosperity in Canada is dependent on getting more people into the labour force, including Canadians with disabilities. Building on a commitment made in Budget 2012, the government recently announced the creation of the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

Over time, society’s understanding of the term disability has broadened to include physical, mental and intellectual, visible and invisible, permanent and episodic disabilities, as well as disabilities of gradual and sudden onset. People who experience these various types of disabilities may require appropriate support and accommodation to ensure that they can fully participate in the workplace.

Many Canadian businesses have already adopted innovative approaches to the employment of people with disabilities that are both effective and affordable, and it is important to build on this experience and expertise.

The mandate of the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities is to identify private sector successes and best practices with regard to labour market participation of persons with disabilities. In addition, the Panel will identify barriers and disincentives to their employment.

The Panel is interested in hearing about the various ways employers have recruited and supported employees with disabilities at various stages in their careers, and how these best practices have benefitted their businesses. The Panel would also like to hear about the challenges that businesses may have faced in trying to hire or retain persons with disabilities.

Mr. Kenneth J. Fredeen, General Counsel with Deloitte & Touche LLP, will serve as Chair of the Panel. Other members include executives from the Neil Squire Society, Loblaw Companies, and Megleen Inc. (operator of Tim Hortons franchises).

An online consultation process will start in early September, and the Panel encourages Canadians to participate. They can be reached at The Panel has already begun to meet, and it will prepare a report on its findings by December 2012.

This initiative will allow the government to work with our partners to remove barriers and improve the quality of life for all Canadians. Creating inclusive and accommodating workplaces also enhances the government’s plan for jobs and growth across Canada.

For more information on Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, including the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, please visit You can also contact me by phone at (866) 878-5556 or by email at