(Quebec) The disorganization of state aid services is hampering the integration of young people with disabilities into the labor market, denounces the Commissioner for Sustainable Development, Paul Lanoie.
In a report tabled in the National Assembly on Wednesday, he blames the ministries of Health, Education, Employment and the Office for Persons with Disabilities. Their ‘leadership […] is insufficient to ensure the coordination of the services necessary for the integration into employment of young people with disabilities, which compromises the progression of certain young people towards the job market ”, he maintains.
According to him, “the continuum of services has significant gaps”, while “the transition from school to working life is poorly planned”. Departments do not follow up after graduation.
The accessibility of support services varies greatly from one region to another, which raises an issue of equity. Services are not even accessible in some areas.
“Services are not clearly defined and rarely evaluated or reviewed to ensure they meet needs,” adds Lanoie.
The three ministries “do not have a picture of what is happening on the ground, which prevents them from organizing their services properly”. Their strategies for integrating and keeping disabled young people in employment “are not accompanied by the implementation of effective and efficient measures”. Measures are “too timid to achieve real improvement” and there are few indicators to assess their effectiveness. The awareness-raising and information activities carried out with employers on the potential of these young people have “limited” effectiveness, according to him.
Not only are there few financial incentives for young people with disabilities to do paid work, the social assistance program and certain tax benefits can “discourage them from entering the labor market”. The social assistance check is reduced as soon as a person earns more than $ 200 per month. “Consequently, the additional income enjoyed by a disabled person who works for minimum wage is not very significant when he works between 4 and 25 hours per week,” explains the Commissioner. He specifies that employment incentives are more attractive in other provinces.
“Budgets are limited for employment integration measures while their cost is lower than the payment of the social assistance benefit,” he adds.
In July 2019, 1,149 young people were on a list to obtain a service from the Ministry of Health or community organizations. For some services, the delay is 17 months on average (26 months in Montreal).
In 2018-2019, there were nearly 50,000 students with disabilities in Quebec schools, including 20,000 in high school. The transition to the job market at the end of their studies is an important issue, recalls the Commissioner.
According to a Canadian survey carried out in 2017, more than three-quarters of Canadians aged 15 to 24 who declared a disability, who were not attending school and had no job, were nevertheless potential workers, notes Paul Lanoie. .