Title

Alternative Productivity Structures and Reimbursement Models and their Role in Achieving Occupational Justice for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – A Philosophical Conundrum

1

Location

Armory Room

Start Time

29-9-2016 8:30 AM

End Time

29-9-2016 10:00 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Background: People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience high levels of unemployment (Canadian Association for Community Living, 2013; Statistics Canada, 2008), yet supported, inclusive employment can promote independence, quality of life, social integration, and capacity-building (e.g., Cohen et al., 2008; Lysaght, Jakobsen, & Granhaug, 2012). Despite the advancement of the individual placement and support model of supported employment, workforce participation rates for this population remain low. Challenges related to limited skill sets or social-behavioural differences reduce opportunities for competitive employment. At the same time, the viability of productivity alternatives such as social enterprise, micro enterprise and volunteerism is limited by perceptions of these options as less inclusive, valued and desirable. Overall, lack of suitable productivity options contributes to social marginalization, and reduces opportunities for the individuals involved to experience rich occupational lives. Purpose: This presentation will report on findings of a study that examined work integration social enterprise as an employment option for people with IDD, and its potential to reduce social marginalization. In this session, we will present findings related to worker compensation models, interpreting these through a lens of occupational justice. Methods: The study used a multiple case study design, with 5 social enterprises in Ontario and Alberta, Canada purposively selected for study (Yin, 2009). Data collection methods included interviews with a variety of stakeholders, observation and document review. Data were reviewed using within and cross-case analyses to describe the nature of social enterprise in this sector, common trends, points of tension, and unique approaches. Results: Findings emerged in 8 theme areas associated with business development decisions. Six different compensation models were identified. Each approach, ranging from training stipends to minimum wage, carried its own implicit and explicit messages concerning worker capacity and the value of work performed. Philosophical, legal and political motivations were linked to wage structures. The tensions raised pointed to fundamental dilemmas around contributive justice (right to work), ethical and fair treatment of vulnerable workers, and worker needs. Intertwined with these issues were practical concerns and strategies related to social integration and financial survival of the enterprise. Conclusions: Occupational scientists see productivity as a fundamental human need. Social dialogue and efforts towards fair and equitable treatment of workers, the social inclusion movement, and the competing economic realities for employers raise critical questions around how paid employment can best be realized for people with disabilities.

References

Canadian Association for Community Living. (2013). Assuring income security and equality for Canadians with intellectual disabilities and their families. (No. Final Report). Ottawa: House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

Cohen, A., Coldbery, M., Istvanffy, N., Stainton, T., Wasik, A., & Woods, K. (2008). Removing Barriers to Work: Flexible Employment Options for People with Disabilities in BC. Vancouver: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Retrieved from http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC_Office_Pubs/bc_2008/bc_removing_barriers_full.pdf

Lysaght, R., Jakobsen, K., & Granhaug, B. (2012). Social firms: A means for building employment skills and community integration. Work, 41, 455–463.

Statistics Canada. (2008). Participation and Activity Limitation Survey of 2006: Labour Force Experience of People with Disabilities in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-628- x/89-628-x2008007-eng.htm

Yin, R. K. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Sep 29th, 8:30 AM Sep 29th, 10:00 AM

Alternative Productivity Structures and Reimbursement Models and their Role in Achieving Occupational Justice for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities – A Philosophical Conundrum

Armory Room

Background: People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience high levels of unemployment (Canadian Association for Community Living, 2013; Statistics Canada, 2008), yet supported, inclusive employment can promote independence, quality of life, social integration, and capacity-building (e.g., Cohen et al., 2008; Lysaght, Jakobsen, & Granhaug, 2012). Despite the advancement of the individual placement and support model of supported employment, workforce participation rates for this population remain low. Challenges related to limited skill sets or social-behavioural differences reduce opportunities for competitive employment. At the same time, the viability of productivity alternatives such as social enterprise, micro enterprise and volunteerism is limited by perceptions of these options as less inclusive, valued and desirable. Overall, lack of suitable productivity options contributes to social marginalization, and reduces opportunities for the individuals involved to experience rich occupational lives. Purpose: This presentation will report on findings of a study that examined work integration social enterprise as an employment option for people with IDD, and its potential to reduce social marginalization. In this session, we will present findings related to worker compensation models, interpreting these through a lens of occupational justice. Methods: The study used a multiple case study design, with 5 social enterprises in Ontario and Alberta, Canada purposively selected for study (Yin, 2009). Data collection methods included interviews with a variety of stakeholders, observation and document review. Data were reviewed using within and cross-case analyses to describe the nature of social enterprise in this sector, common trends, points of tension, and unique approaches. Results: Findings emerged in 8 theme areas associated with business development decisions. Six different compensation models were identified. Each approach, ranging from training stipends to minimum wage, carried its own implicit and explicit messages concerning worker capacity and the value of work performed. Philosophical, legal and political motivations were linked to wage structures. The tensions raised pointed to fundamental dilemmas around contributive justice (right to work), ethical and fair treatment of vulnerable workers, and worker needs. Intertwined with these issues were practical concerns and strategies related to social integration and financial survival of the enterprise. Conclusions: Occupational scientists see productivity as a fundamental human need. Social dialogue and efforts towards fair and equitable treatment of workers, the social inclusion movement, and the competing economic realities for employers raise critical questions around how paid employment can best be realized for people with disabilities.