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Wendy's female employee with Down syndrome smiling with her supervisor.


There are approximately 500,000 working age individuals with an intellectual disability in Canada – but only one in four, or 25% of, people with an intellectual disability are employed. Currently in Canada the most common response to the employment needs of people with an intellectual disability is placement in a ‘sheltered workshop’ or day program, where people are typically paid only a small weekly stipend of about $5-$10, if anything at all. This results in exclusion from meaningful paid employment in the community, leaving most Canadians with an intellectual disability unemployed or significantly under-employed.

Outdated and incorrect perceptions of intellectual disabilities tend to focus on the ‘disability’ rather than the ‘ability’ of an individual. Too often, we fail to recognize the strengths and talents of this unique and specialized group, leading to misconceptions about capabilities. In reality, experience-based evidence from employers around the world is proving that these assumed barriers are incorrect. People with an intellectual disability are ready, willing and able to work in paid, meaningful employment. However, people with an intellectual disability are not being hired.

Our Vision

Working-age adults with an intellectual disability are employed at the same rate as the general population.

Our 2020 Goal

Federal commitment to sustain the national Ready, Willing & Able employment initiative.

Current Work

Ready, Willing & Able is a national initiative of Inclusion Canada, Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA), and our member organizations committed to helping Canadian employers find ideal candidates who are readily equipped to enter the workplace. Since 2014, Ready, Willing & Able has been working to increase the employment rate of individuals with an intellectual disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder by engaging employers and raising awareness about the value of hiring people with an intellectual disability.

Ready, Willing & Able is connecting qualified candidates to progressive employers who have vacancies to fill, supporting employers through the hiring process and beyond to ensure the best fit for both the company and the candidate. Through the initiative, job seekers find jobs that align with their strengths, and employers gain talented and productive employees who enhance their bottom line.

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