Employment can be an important part of creating a positive identity and increasing self-esteem, but people with FASD often face challenges finding and maintaining meaningful employment.
Traditional work environments are often not set up to support successful employment for people with FASD. This is due to cognitive and behavioural difficulties as well as stereotypical views that others often have about FASD. However, individuals with FASD have many strengths that employers value in the workplace, such as curiosity, creativity, and helpfulness. It is important to recognize and encourage their contributions to the workforce.
There are support agencies across Canada that help people access employment. However, many are not FASD-informed, making it difficult for them to be a reliable source for people with FASD.
We’ve pulled together a list of programs and services across the country that help people with FASD find and maintain employment. Some of them are more geared towards people with FASD, while others are more general for people with disabilities. Not every program will provide the support you need. Check out the list below to find the right program for you and don’t forget to join us for our employment webinar on January 28, 2022.
Independent living has centers across Canada. They provide programs and services to people with disabilities to help them lead more independent lives. While each center is different, a core value of Independent Living Canada is encouraging skill development, which includes employment services and resources. More information can be found on the IL Canada website where they list all their regional centres.
The Canadian Association for Supported Employment (CASE)
CASE is a nation-wide organization with the goal of assisting people with disabilities to find meaningful and fair-paid work. It has several different resources available to help people find the right job that fits their skills and capabilities. These resources include access to service providers across Canada who help with job search, workplace training, and career development. CASE also offers a MentorAbility program where they match a job seeker up with a mentor in the workplace.
Whitecrow Village is an organization dedicated to educating communities and professional about FASD while improving the lives of those affected by FASD. They provide positive, stable work experiences for individuals with FASD by introducing them to and developing their marketable skills. Based out of British Columbia, Whitecrow serves communities across the country.
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
The goal of the ODSP employment support program is to help people with disabilities find and maintain employment. They have a list of all their service providers across Ontario where you can search by city/region to find one near you.
ABLE2 is an Ottawa-based organization that strives to support people with disabilities and their families to build a more inclusive community. They have programs dedicated to people with FASD, including “A Good Life for Adults with FASD” where people with FASD are matched with a Facilitator who helps them plan for the future. Part of this support is mentorship to help find employment.
WorkBC is a program that supports people with disabilities to find work by providing employment assistance and supports such as counselling, equipment, childcare, and transportation. They also have resources and supports for people who are specifically looking for employment in the trades. Visit the website to find out more about eligibility and resources in your area.
FASD Okanagan is an organization out of Vernon, B.C that services the interior of B.C and Vancouver Island. Their vision is to increase understanding of FASD through advocacy, community engagement, and building community capacity. They offer a support group for people with FASD that focuses on developing life skills including employment. It is a ten week program and does not cost anything to attend.
SaskAbilities is an organization that is devoted to offering services and programs to people with disabilities in Saskatchewan, which includes employment supports. Their Partners in Employment program offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities find and maintain employment. Services available include employment preparation, goal setting, job maintenance, training centers, and vocational evaluation.
Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES)
Disability Related Employment Supports (DRES) provides funding for supports and/or services to assist Albertans with disabilities to make successful transitions from school to work, unemployment to employment and from one career path to another. Individuals must go through an employability assessment to ensure they meet the criteria for the program.
Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) program
The PDD program pairs you with a worker who will help you create a plan outlining goals, supports, and necessary services. Your plan may include employment supports to increase your skills and help you find and maintain a job. You must apply and be accepted in this program. Please apply through myAlbertaSupports.
Specifically geared towards individuals with FASD, the Lakeland Centre for FASD offers several services, including employment. Employment Coordinators provide supports, such as job shadowing, volunteer options, hands on learning opportunities, and skill building. To find an Employment Coordinator near you, go to their contact page and find the office closest to you.
Calgary Alternative Poss-Abilities
Calgary alternative Poss-Abilities is part of the Calgary Alternative Support Services (CASS). CASS provides person-centered supports to youth and adults with disabilities. Calgary Alternative Poss-Abilities is their program dedicated to servicing people with FASD (and multiple diagnoses) to develop community connections and personal empowerment.
FASD Evolution is a program part of Enviros. Enviros is a social service agency helping vulnerable individuals and families lead a more stable and fulfilling life. FASD Evolution is an externally funded program that offers services such as income support, housing, medical care, and employment. To be eligible for the program you must be over eighteen years of age and have a medical diagnosis of FASD.
Employment Assistance for People with Disabilities (EAPD)
EAPD offers a variety of employment services for people with disabilities to prepare, obtain, and maintain employment. Services available include vocational counselling, assessment, vocational planning, vocational training, support services, and direct employment services. You must live in Manitoba and have proof of diagnosis or assessment,
Servicing the southeast region of New Brunswick, CCRW employment services connects potential employers with employees who have disabilities. They offer services such as counselling sessions, career exploration, cover letter and resume development, and interview skills building. To be eligible for these services you must live in the southeast region and be unemployed or underemployed.
ReachAbility is an organization that serves Nova Scotia with the goal of making community and workplaces more inclusive and accessible. They provide multiple employment support services, job developer support, and after-employment job developer support. This includes one-on-one assistance to help with things such as your job search, resume writing, and interview skills. The after employment job developer works with individuals for three months after they have been hired to work through any barriers they may face in the workplace.
Prince Edward Island
PEI Council of People with Disabilities (PEICOD)
PEICOD is an organization dedicated to the participation and inclusion of people with disabilities in the province. They have three offices across PEI that provide services to people with disabilities who are seeking employment. The services include career decision making, skills enhancement, job search, direct marketing, and employment maintenance. Visit their website to learn more about each service or to contact someone in your region.
Inclusion NWT (part of Inclusion Canada) is an organization that is dedicated to supporting people with disabilities across their lifespan. They offer employment services such as resume building and on-site job coaching. They have a specific program called Odd Job Squad whose mission is to provide short-term employment until job seekers can find permanent work.
The 4Y program is part of the Foster Family Coalition of the NWT. The program supports youth with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) or FASD as they transition into adulthood. While the program does not offer direct employment services, they help individuals with essential life skills that contribute to being a successful employee and they can help with applying for job positions.
Challenge Disability Resource Group
This is an organization that supports people with disabilities to become independent and actively participate in their community. Through their EmployAbility Skills program they offer a 12-15 week training program that provides work experience in wood shop, kitchen, and greenhouse job sites. They also offer employment skills training and certificate training such as FoodSafe, WHIMIS, and Emergency First Aid.