OTTAWA - The federal government is putting together a task force to figure out how to get more people with disabilities employed in meaningful work.

The Canadian Press has learned that the task force will include executives from companies such as Loblaws and Tim Hortons, and will be led by Kenneth Fredeen of Deloitte and Touche.

The group will be looking at companies that already have good records in hiring people with disabilities in the hopes of putting together a tool kit for other companies, and figuring out barriers to employment.

Their report should be ready by the end of the year — fairly quickly by government standards.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley is announcing the panel on Monday in Ottawa.

According to 2006 data, about 14.3 per cent of Canada's population, or 4.4 million people, reported having a disability of some kind.

Among the working age population, 8.0 per cent of those aged 25 to 44 had a disability, while 18.3 per cent of those in the 45-to-64 bracket reported being disabled.

Workers with disabilities are dramatically under-represented in private-sector companies governed by the Employment Equity Act, the most recent annual government report on disability issues shows. However, they are over-represented in the public service.

Labour force participation among people with disabilities is low, with 59.6 per cent active in the workforce. That's much lower than the among people without disabilities, where 80.2 per cent of working-age adults are participating in the workforce.

The employment rate among workers with disabilities is also much lower than among people without disabilities. Just slightly more than half of workers with disabilities have jobs, compared to 75.1 per cent among workers without disabilities, according to the 2010 annual report.

The report says that about one million people with disabilities are not in the workforce at all. About 65 per cent of those are completely prevented from working by their disabilities.

Many workers with disabilities say their employers readily accommodate them with devices, flexible work arrangements and human resource assistance.

However, a sizable portion report being discriminated against, and say their skills are not fully used on the job.

"Despite the Employment Equity Act and a growing need for skilled workers, the statistics ... reveal that many people with disabilities remain underemployed and discriminated against," the 2010 report says.

"Canada can benefit greatly from integrating adults with disabilities into the workforce."

The 2011 annual report was not posted on-line.

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  • 5 Facts About Roll Up The Rim To Win

    Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

  • Biggest Prize In Its First Year: Timbits

    When Timmies launched Roll Up The Rim in 1986 as a "thank-you" to customers, the largest prize was a snack box of Timbits. Needless to say, the contest has grown in scope since then. Photo: Flickr/Calgary Reviews

  • Uneven Prize Distribution

    If you live on Prince Edward Island, your chances of winning a Roll Up The Rim prize are considerably better than if you live in Ontario. That's because Tim Hortons spreads prizes across the country according to geography, not population density. "<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2006/03/15/timhortons-060315.html" target="_hplink">If it was all equalized, some places like P.E.I. or New Brunswick might not get one at all</a>," a Timmies rep said. "This is just about trying to create some excitement." Photo: Flickr/n_wilsey

  • Roll Up The Rim: Kandahar Edition

    Until last year, Timmies' famous promotion extended to its location in Afghanistan, which the company set up to serve Canadian soldiers. The Afghan version of the promo featured its own set of prizes, but Tim Hortons' presence in Agfhanistan has <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/24/tim-hortons-pulls-out-of-kandahar_n_1111974.html" target="_hplink">come to a close with Canada's reduced role in the war</a>. Photo: Canadian troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan line up for donuts and coffee at Tim Hortons, Thursday Jun 29, 2006. (CP PHOTO/ John Cotter)

  • Only 56 Per Cent Can RRRoll Up The RRRim

    According to a study commissioned by Tim Hortons, <a href="http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/780275/tim-hortons-roll-up-the-rim-to-win-celebrates-25-years-with-better-odds-one-in-six-chances-and-more-prizes-than-ever" target="_hplink">only 56 per cent of Canadians can roll their r's like the Timmies commercials show</a>. Only one in five can hold a rolled 'r' for more than 15 seconds, and men appear to be better at it than women. (Alamy photo)

  • 387 Million Prizes In 25 Years

    As one of the country's longest-running promotions, Roll Up the Rim has handed out some 387 million prizes since its launch. Says Bill Moir,Tim Hortons' chief brand and marketing officer: "Roll Up the Rim to Win is not only an important part of Tim Hortons' history, it has become an annual Canadian tradition." Photo: Tim Hortons President and CEO Donald B. Schroeder speaks at the company's AGM in Toronto on May 13, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn



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    Brand value: $1.926 billion Source: <a href="http://www.brandfinance.com/offices/canada" target="_hplink">Brand Finance Canada</a>

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