Financial incentives to promote employment of people with disabilities: when and how they work best

Reasons for the study

Financial incentives for employers to recruit, retain and promote persons with disabilities take many forms. They are used in Canada and elsewhere as a way to address low rates of employment among people with disabilities.

In Canada, the federal government directly operates programs in this domain and supports other initiatives through transfer payments to the provinces. The funds allocated to employment support activities are substantial. However, little research has been done examining how and when financial incentives work to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Objectives of the study

  • Undertake a scoping review of the literature on use and effectiveness of financial incentives (FIs) to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities
  • Develop a map of the FIs¬†policy arena in Canada¬†and the key stakeholders who engage in it, with details of the characteristics of program offerings and funds allocated
  • Undertake an international environmental scan of good practices in the use of FIs
  • Develop case studies using qualitative and quantitative methods that contextualize how and when FIs work well or do not work well, and why
  • Develop contextualized, evidence-informed resources for stakeholders (including government and employer representatives) on best practices in the use of FIs

Target audience

The findings will profile opportunities, challenges, risks and benefits of financial incentives to encourage hiring and retaining people with disabilities. They will also offer guidance on how financial incentives should or should not be used to increase employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. As such, the findings will be relevant to injured worker and disability communities, employers, policy-makers, disability program administrators and service providers.

Related scientific publications

Related interviews and articles

Project status


Research team

  • Emile Tompa, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Rebecca Gewurtz, McMaster University (PI)
  • Emma Irvin, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Heather Johnston, Institute for Work & Health
  • Cindy Moser, Institute for Work & Health
  • Kathy Padkapayeva, Institute for Work & Health
  • Dan Samosh, Institute for Work & Health

Collaborators and partners

Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (Maureen Haan)
Employment and Social Development Canada (Abdou Souab)
Jazz Aviation (Michael MacDonald)
Neil Squire Society

Funded by

Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada