56% of small businesses have no disabled employees: Survey

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:36 AM ET

More than half of Canadian small businesses have never hired a person with a disability, a new survey has found.

But of the 44% of businesses that have hired a person with a disability, 77% said those workers either met or exceeded their expectations.

The survey also found Canadians with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed as the general population.

"This persistent unemployment gap needs to be addressed for many reasons," said Sonya Kunkel, director of diversity and inclusion at Bank of Montreal, which commissioned the survey. "It can take a social and economic toll on these workers and their families. It costs government and taxpayers money unnecessarily, and it robs Canadian businesses and our economy of the vital contribution persons with a disability are ready and able to make."

Pollara Strategic Insights surveyed Canadians between Aug. 13 and Sept. 5, using a sample of 500 business owners. The margin of error is 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.