Friday, March 18, 2016

Disability: the last bastion of prejudice - TORONTO STAR

by Carol Goar
Originally published: March 16, 2016

 As he sped through school, university and graduate studies earning top marks and distinguishing himself as a high achiever, Tim Rose dared to believe he could overcome any barrier. He has cerebral palsy.

“Maybe it was arrogance,” he says, looking back. “Maybe it was my experience in a postgraduate setting; I felt supported at every level. “

His progress came to a shrieking halt when he entered the labour market. Armed with a master’s degree in law and human rights, a long list of voluntary achievements and a powerful work ethic, he was “quite sure I was going to walk right into a job.”

What he walked into instead was a wall of intolerance and rejection. At first, Rose attributed his lack of success to a weak economy. Other postgraduates were having trouble too, he reasoned, working as baristas at Starbucks. His older brothers confirmed it was a tough job market for everyone.

Rose sent out resumé after resumé, targeting organizations with equity policies. No results. He branched out to banks, non-profit organizations and private employers. Still no offers. He asked contacts who had helped him along the way for referrals. “I got a smattering of part-time work as a research assistant or peer counsellor, but nothing sustainable.”

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