Province lagging behind in employment of people with disabilities

NDP Service NL critic George Murphy

NDP critic for Service NL George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) is calling on government to fix a program that is not working for the people it is supposed to help. Opening Doors is the government’s employment equity initiative for persons with disabilities, and is supposed to help find appropriate work for clients on the registry of the Office of Employment Equity for Persons with Disabilities of the Human Resource Secretariat.

Representatives of people with disabilities have told Murphy that Opening Doors is not delivering as originally expected. This information also came forward during Budget Estimates meetings in 2013.

“Employment of people with disabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador is low by Canadian standards. Government’s Opening Doors Program has a long wait list because departments aren’t using it,” Murphy said the House of Assembly today.

“Last year In Estimates the Minister of Finance said he was not satisfied with this and that the program would be reviewed. When is government going to fix the Opening Doors Program as it promised in 2013?”

Murphy notes that fewer than of college graduates who identify as having disabilities are in the work force at all, and “Opening Doors is placing highly educated people into entry-level jobs with no future.

“We’ve heard from the disability community that Opening Doors isn’t working. What is government going to do?” he said.

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