Canadian Association for Supported Employment

Disability Employment Awareness Month


What Is DEAM and Why Is It Important?

DEAM presents an important opportunity to discuss, explore and collaborate to solve the critical issue of inclusive hiring.
Disability Employment Awareness Month or DEAM was first proclaimed in Canada in 2010 by the Province of Manitoba. Saskatchewan followed suit in 2011, and British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and New Brunswick also secured proclamations shortly after. Since then, dedicated employment service providers and community organizations have brought DEAM to life by organizing activities to engage employers, job seekers experiencing disability and the public to promote the benefits of inclusive hiring.
Every day in October, CASE, our members and our community partners will celebrate the tremendous contributions persons who experience disability make to our workplaces and communities. 

We invite you to connect with us, create awareness, and help us to eliminate the barriers that prevent Canadians experiencing disability from participating fully in work and society.

A person works with their mentor in a greenhouse, writing information on a clipboard. The mentor looks on carefully, showing care and investment in the mentee.

Despite the considerable efforts that have been made to diversify the Canadian labour force, Statistics Canada reports that, in 2017, 3.7 million working-age Canadians identified as having a disability. Only three in five Canadians experiencing disability (59%) were employed. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially intensified the situation. Currently, approximately 1 million Canadian job seekers experiencing disability are unemployed or underemployed. 

Given current workforce shortages, Canadian employers coast to coast need the skills, education and experience of this untapped talent resource.
Graphic with text: 31 Days of DEAM - Month of October - CASE will share DEAM highlights every day in October. We invite submissions of stories/events from your community! Contact: Please use #31DaysofDEAM on social media so we can share your stories. Ways to Get Involved: Call on your provincial government to proclaim DEAM. Celebrate Canada's inclusive employers with our Cheers to Inclusion! initiative. Light your workplace up in purple and blue on Oct. 19 for Light It Up! For NDEAM 2023.

1. Call on Your Provincial Government to Proclaim DEAM

An important part of celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month is garnering government support and recognition, which is why we’ve created the DEAM Proclamation Toolkit to help you! The toolkit is available to download right now.

2. Celebrate Canada’s Inclusive Employers with MentorAbility’s Cheers to Inclusion! Initiative

Each October, MentorAbility Canada organizes events across the country to bring employers and employment service providers together in celebration of the incredible disability-inclusive workplaces they create. DEAM is an ideal opportunity for employers to showcase their commitment to inclusive employment while helping to break down the barriers that exist for people experiencing disability.

Ways for Inclusive Employers to Participate in DEAM:

  • Add the DEAM logo to your products and the DEAM banner to your website for the month of October to declare your commitment to inclusive employment.
  • Print the DEAM PostersPostcards and Bookmarks from the toolkit below for distribution in your workplace.
  • Get in touch with an employment service provider to assist you with your inclusive hiring goals.
  • Connect with your local MentorAbility Provincial Coordinator to recognize a fellow inclusive employer in your community, to organize an event, or to create a DEAM-specific professional development opportunity for your team!
  • Tell us your inclusive employment story by sharing the ways you have made your workplace more inclusive and accessible for employees experiencing disability.

Cheers to Inclusion 2023 Toolkit

Looking to access editable (i.e., .EPS) versions of the logos and toolkit? Please contact your nearest MentorAbility Canada Hub Coordinator for additional information or support or email us at [email protected] with your request. A member of our team will respond within 1-2 business days.

3. Light your Workplace Up for LightItUp! for NDEAM™

CASE and MentorAbility Canada are thrilled to partner again with Ontario Disability Employment Network and Jobs Ability Canada on this national coordinated lighting event. Let’s try to beat our incredible 2022 campaign results where 400+ locations nationwide in 118 communities were lit up in purple and blue to recognize the importance of disability inclusion in the future of work.

#LightItUpforNDEAM #DisabilityInclusion #DEAM2023 #MentorAbilityCanada

Here’s how to join us:

Contact your MentorAbility Canada Provincial or Territorial Coordinator and fill out the form to ensure your locations are added to the growing list of those that will be lit up in purple and blue.

Mark your calendars! We look forward to participating with you in this exciting initiative on October 19th, 2023.

Follow the activities planned in your province!

23 October 2024
All day

SARC conferences: October 23 -24, 2024 (Regina, Saskatchewan)


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