More than 17 of Canada’s top employers are coming together next week for the Spectrum Works autism job fair, a national initiative that aims to fight the stigma attached to people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their performance in the workplace.
The multi-city event, in support of Autism awareness month, is intended for people with ASD who are looking to contribute their strengths to the Canadian workforce.
The third annual event will take place in Richmond on April 8 as well as in Montreal and Toronto.
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“We want to shift the assumptions associated with people living with ASD and change the idea that they can’t contribute to the workforce,” says Xavier Pinto, the co-owner of Substance Cares, the Toronto-based charitable foundation that organizes the annual job fair. “When given the opportunity, people with ASD can do a great job. This is why we’re taking a proactive approach and hosting a job fair to pair employers with employees.”
Spectrum Works will bring together recruiters and hiring managers from major companies including Apple, Rogers, Bell, RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, HSBC, Bell, Loblaws, General Motors, Shoppers Drug Mart and more.
Participants will have access to job skill workshops, resume and employment consulting, on-site job interviews and community service providers.
Since its inaugural event in 2017, more than 450 participants with ASD have participated in the annual fair.
The event is a welcome initiative, especially given the staggering unemployment rates for people with autism.
Spectrum Works released some staggering unemployment rate facts for people with autism, according to the fair’s co-sponsor, Autism Speaks Canada (ASC):
- National data indicates that 83% of Canadian adults with autism report no employment income
- The 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability found that autistic adults have the lowest employment rates in Canada at 14.3% as compared to the general population at 92.7%.
- The median annual employment income for individuals with autism was $2,900
- A 2012 Ontario study found that 58% of autistic adults relied on public assistance for their primary source of income
Despite current employment levels, there are distinct advantages to hiring employees with ASD according to The Harvard Business Review. Employing individuals with ASD has led to productivity gains, quality improvement, boosts in innovative capabilities, and broad increases in employee engagement.
Registration for the Spectrum Works Job Fair in Richmond is available onsite but those who wish to pre-register can do so at SpectrumWorks.ca.
When: Monday, April 8
Time: 1 pm – 5 pm (Participants asked to arrive by 3 pm)
Where: Pacific Autism Family Network, 3688 Cessna Dr, Richmond, BC V7B 1C3