Issue Five: Unleashing Employment Potential

Disability Matters Vote is committed to providing Manitobans with detailed information to help eligible voters make informed voting decisions. We asked all four of Manitoba’s political parties to answer questions on the five priority disability issues in focus during this campaign. Here are the questions, and the parties’ answers in alphabetic order of the party:

Issue Five: Unleashing Employment Potential

  1. What is your party’s commitment to ensuring equity in employment and in outcomes for Manitobans with disabilities within the government and broader economy?
  2. How will you ensure that Manitobans with disabilities are actively and continuously promoted to the business community as valuable contributors to the workforce and economy?

Green Party of Manitoba

1. The Government can and should enhance its disability hiring practices. For instance, it is clear that enforcement officers would need to be hired to ensure standards under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act are being met. It would make sense to give priority to those with lived experience with a disability to serve as the enforcement officers.

This is just one way in which we could make use of the diverse skills and assets that Manitobans with disabilities within the government.

2. An increase in public education is needed in order to ensure that Manitobans with disabilities are promoted as valuable contributors to the workforce and the economy. The reality is that hiring someone with a disability is one of the best decisions that a business can make, and we need to make that message loud and clear.

We also need to look at reforming current EIA programs that discourage people with disabilities from seeking employment or participating in volunteer activities.

More than anything, we need to realize that the ultimate marker of a successful society is how well we include everyone. Humans are a social species, and regardless of ability, we all rely on each other. A truly great society is one that makes use of people’s unique strengths so that all people have the opportunity to contribute, and works together to remove barriers so that all people can flourish. Greens are committed to working with all Manitobans to build a more inclusive community and a better world.

Liberal Party of Manitoba

1. Manitoba Liberals have committed to a basic minimum income model for EIA recipients to remove barriers from seeking or having employment while receiving benefits. We need to ensure that the province is an active partner in developing awareness and programs supporting employment of people with disabilities, and breaking down barriers.

2. Raising awareness of the opportunity that exists within the disability community should be a government priority. Unfortunately, funding for these programs has stalled and vacancy rates have risen steadily under the PC government. Manitoba liberals will reinvest in Disability support programs that promote employability.

New Democratic Party of Manitoba

1. An NDP government is fully committed to equity in employment for persons with disabilities. We would work with the Civil Service Commission to improve existing standards and practices to attract, recruit and retain persons with disabilities to work in the public service.

We would create the conditions for gainful employment in dignified work. To this end, we would work to reduce barriers to finding work and provide the necessary supports required for success in the workplace.

The NDP believe that government practices with respect to public sector employment should serve as a model for all employers in the province and to this end we will seek to lead by example.

2. Persons with disabilities have much to contribute to our province and we are committed to working with them to ensure all businesses are aware of the benefits and skills they have to offer. We know stigma and prejudice must be combatted and we know there can be a lack of awareness regarding the skills and contributions people with disabilities make to our communities. That is why we would engage in educational and awareness campaigns to ensure the facts of the valuable contributions and potential Manitobans with disabilities can make to our communities is promoted and highlighted. We will also commit to partnering with the business community through educational institutions on co-op placements which will provide important links for training between education institutions and businesses. We know these programs could be a bridge and benefit people with disabilities and business alike. And that is one reason why we are committed to supporting them.

Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba

Our PC team knows it is good business to employ Manitobans with disabilities; research shows accessibility in hiring leads to low absenteeism and turnover, as well as high loyalty and talent levels. The new Accessible Employment Standard Regulation will come into effect for government in early 2020.

A re-elected PC government will prioritize the development of employer handbooks, checklists, fact sheets, and other resources to ensure that government is fully compliant by May 2020. These tools and resources will also help other sectors meet compliance requirements in 2021 and 2022. In government, we have worked to enhance employment-focused services and improve labour market participation rates among CLDS participants. One way we will continue working towards this goal is by integrating more supports that enable individuals to find, obtain and retain community-based employment.

Our PC team is committed to actively and continuously promoting Manitobans with disabilities to the business community as valuable contributors to the workforce and the economy. One way we will do this is by creating an advisory group of employers and advocates who will help unleash the employment potential of Manitobans with disabilities; This group will be tasked with creating a framework for employment initiatives that will lead to new opportunities.