Among Canadians With Disabilities, Unionized Men Earn Best
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 25, 2004
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--Canadians with disabilities have a better chance of earning the same salaries as workers without disabilities, if they are men and if they are members of unions, according to a study released Tuesday by the Canadian Council on Social Development.
The research found that the majority of Canada's estimated 3.6 million people with disabilities still earn wages below the average. However, male workers with disabilities have earnings profiles which are similar to other workers, as long as they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. In fact, 41 percent of these workers earn salaries in the top one-fourth of the earnings range.
Most women with disabilities, however, who are members of unions earn salaries in the bottom half of the earnings range, with only 18 percent receiving salaries in the one-fourth.
"These results suggest that unions help to level the playing field for male workers with disabilities," said Senior Researcher Gail Fawcett, in a CCSD statement. "But unionized women with disabilities lag far behind. Certainly, unionization appears to pull them out of the really low levels of earnings, but few of them make it to the upper income brackets."
"And non-unionized workers with disabilities of both genders still lag behind their counterparts without disabilities, with women being particularly disadvantaged."
Fawcett said the government needs to make a firm commitment to improving the situation for workers with disabilities.
"A few ramps aren't going to do the trick," she said. "Helping people get their high school and post-secondary education is crucial -- because education has a great impact on the salaries of persons with disabilities. Finding ways to enhance the workplace rights of people with disabilities would help as well."
The research also revealed that working-age Canadians with disabilities are more than twice as likely as their counterparts without disabilities to experience additional health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, diabetes and migraines.
"This means Canada's struggling health system needs to get in gear to provide for their needs, especially in the territories, where less than 60 percent of people with disabilities have a regular doctor," Fawcett explained.
"Disability Information Sheets" (Canadian Council on Social Development)