Advocating for Fewer Employment Barriers

 Thank you to the following funders for their crucial support in advancing our mission.

The Raw Carrot is joining the National conversation around employment (and dignity!) barriers.


We’ve been doing on-the-ground work for almost a decade and we’ve learned A LOT along the way.

Some of the most challenging barriers require systemic and societal shifts. We believe we have some answers. And solutions. We’re joining other Canadians as we strive to bring change. 

We’d love you to join us! We’re now on Twitter…connect with us! 

Building a New Pathway to Employment



You’ve taken the first step towards helping us build a new pathway to employment. By learning more about social purpose employment, you’re joining an Employment with Purpose movement.

 By visiting this page, you’re showing that you care about people with disabilities and mental illness who are living in poverty because many face barriers to traditional employment.

You’re leaning into the uncomfortable truth that many unemployed people with disabilities have the potential to work, if only given an opportunity. Most want to work but face barriers to working in profit-driven workplaces, resulting in high unemployment and poverty. Meanwhile, research shows that work matters to people not only to achieve financial security but also as an important contributor to a healthy and vibrant Canadian society.

Why a movement?

Definition: A movement is a gradual development or change of an attitude, opinion, or policy.

With the latest grim statistics on disability employment and poverty, we believe it’s more important than ever that we raise our collective voices to initiate a change in attitude, opinion, and policy.

We’ve reached crisis levels!

According to The Daily Bread Foodbank, food insecurity is at a crisis level. In their Who’s Hungry Report 2023A call to Action from a City in Crisis, food insecurity and food bank use has increased by 51% compared to last year, reaching a shocking 2.53 M food bank visits. Data reveals an astonishing 154% increase in new clients compared to the year prior. The fastest growing group are working-aged adults, 36% of whom rely on social assistance. 61% of food bank clients with a disability rely on social assistance. 14% of respondents say they were unable to work due to disability.


“I depend entirely on ODSP, and it’s not enough. I feel like I’m always on the edge.”

“ODSP doesn’t cover my needs, and I feel abandoned by the system.”

Daily Bread Foodbank respondents


Why The Raw Carrot?

After “Peeling for Change” for close to 10 years, The Raw Carrot is still hungry for more impact in the disability employment sector. As a social purpose organization, we empower more people who face barriers to traditional employment to secure their own livelihoods through the dignity of work.

Now a nationally recognized social enterprise that has been successfully providing meaningful employment to people on social assistance for a decade, we believe we have learnings to share that could inform the public discourse. Last year, we joined the national conversation about disability employment rights and stepped up our advocacy efforts. This year, we have become even more focused and more purposeful. With that intention, we changed our tagline from “Peeling for Change” to “Employment with Purpose” and updated our messaging.

But we realized that we couldn’t do this alone. We need more partners and advocates. We need you!  It’s time for us to get organized and amplify our message to address these inequalities.

Our solution: a social purpose employment movement that prioritizes social outcomes and employee needs.

What’s the Government’s response?

Despite well-meaning efforts by policymakers to address this employment gap, unemployment and poverty rates are on the rise across the country. The government response has been to fund income support and employment training, but employment outcomes are not improving.

Provinces and Territories deliver most services related to disability in Canada such as income supports (social assistance) and training and employment supports. Despite millions of dollars in government spending on training and skills development programs, unemployment and poverty remain unacceptably high.

In a recent report, approximately 645,000 people with disabilities in Canada aged 25-64 who were not employed had the potential to work. Estimates suggest that the economic cost of this lost potential could be as high as 4.0% of GDP.

What’s more, the Ontario Auditor General reported that less than 2% of adults on ODSP are referred to employment supports that the government is investing million in to try and fill the unemployment gap! Clearly, these policies aren’t working.

The time is now to showcase our best-practice social purpose employment model—an alternative to costly and ineffective employment training and skills development programs that aren’t closing the employment gap for people with disabilities.

Are you ready? Let’s create an Employment with Purpose movement that empowers people who face barriers to traditional employment to secure their own livelihood through the dignity of work.

Reach out to us today to schedule a call with our Government Advocacy Team


Quick facts


In the 2022 Canada Survey on Disability found that disability, disability unemployment and poverty are on the rise in all provinces and territories:


  • 27% of Canadians aged 15 and over—or about 8 million persons—report having a disability that limits them in their daily activities. This represents an increase of 7 percentage points from 2017.
  • An estimated 4% of persons with a disability are not in the labour force.
  • Persons with disabilities are often excluded from education, employment and social networks, contributing to an increased likelihood of poverty.
  • Approximately 645,000 Canadians with disabilities are not employed , not in school and have the potential to work. (*Statistics Canada, 2022)
  • The unemployment rate for those aged 16-24 with disabilities was 9%. The rate was nearly twice as high as for people without disabilities (3.8%).
  • The poverty rate for people with disabilities (16.5%), representing more than5 million people, is twice as high compared to (8.6%) for people without disabilities.



The words say Canada Disability Benefit with images of disability

The New Canada Disability Benefit ACT (Bill C-22): A Human Rights Issue

The Raw Carrot stands in solidarity with other disability/poverty advocates like Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) who stated the following in their submission to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities regarding Bill C-22.

“The Government of Canada has a legal and moral obligation to create the conditions in which people’s human rights are upheld, including the right to an adequate standard of living, as described in Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and other economic, social, and cultural rights as described in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, ratified by Canada in 1976.”

Canada Disability Benefit (Bill C-22)

The federal government’s historic bill to implement a new Canada Disability Benefit (Bill C-22) passed Parliament on Tuesday, June 20th, 2023. Then Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough proposed to create a federal income supplement for low-income, working-age adults with disabilities.

In a statement by Inclusion Canada to the media, “The transformative law begins to close a gaping hole in Canada’s social safety net, offering persons with disabilities greater financial security, more choice, freedom, and dignity to live inclusive lives in the community.”

Engagement Tool now Live

Regulations are now being developed to determine the details and parameters of the benefit. The federal government’s online engagement tool is now live and open until December 21, 2023.

The Raw Carrot is sharing our submission to the online consultation for Bill C-22 to our supporters. Our recommendations focused on reminding the government not to cut back benefits to Canadians with disabilities who want to work. It’s critical that we not create more barriers for people with disabilities by taking away their freedom to choose and right to social inclusion by disincentivizing work.


Submission to Employment and Social Development Canada’s Online Consultations on The Canada Disability Benefit


Ability to work:  In 2019, more than 1 million working-age adults with disabilities lived below Canada’s Poverty Line and made up a large proportion of those receiving social assistance. However, a majority of people with disabilities are motivated and capable of working but are often excluded from traditional employment. Many are eager to work to supplement their inadequate social assistance so they can buy food, pay bills, and lift themselves out of deep poverty. Purpose-driven employers, who recognize the desire and potential of these individuals to thrive in supported environments, can attest to their willingness and ability to engage in meaningful work. That’s because they know that working has benefits for all Canadians and accessibility and inclusion are good for business. It’s critical that the benefit not create more barriers that would disincentivize people with disabilities from seeking employment. Even those with moderate or severe disabilities are ready, willing and able to work with some accommodations. That means up to 64% of people with disabilities are available to work and constitute a largely untapped pool of talent who could top up their income and improve their quality of life.

Activities of daily living: Some people with disabilities have to modify their activities of daily living. Still, just because someone differs in the way they accomplish tasks doesn’t mean they should be excluded from full participation in work and life. The benefit must not create more barriers for people with disabilities by assuming they can’t or don’t want to work, just because their daily activities are modified. Purpose-driven employers are willing to make accommodations to modify how work is accomplished by hiring people part-time in a supported environment. That’s because social purpose employers don’t see the need for modified activities of daily living as a barrier to participation in work. They harness the power of work to create positive social outcomes.

B. Benefit Amount

People who are willing and able to work part-time to top up their provincial social assistance mustn’t be penalized for applying for the Canada Disability Benefit. The application process should be straightforward. The wording should make clear that applicants’ benefits won’t be strictly and immediately clawed back if they work. It’s important that we not create more barriers by making the application process unnecessarily difficult or punitive for those who desire to participate in work for income security and well-being.

H. General Comments

The underlying spirit of the Canada Disability Benefit is to raise the incomes of low-income working-age adults with disabilities above Canada’s Official Poverty Line and not impose clawbacks that would disincentivize Canadians who want to have more choice, freedom and dignity to live inclusive lives in our communities.

The Raw Carrot is a nationally recognized social enterprise that empowers people who face barriers to traditional employment to secure their own livelihood through the dignity of work. Staff on ODSP work part-time in a supported environment to top up their income benefit, enabling them to pay for rent, utilities and groceries. While they appreciate the extra income that allows them to lift themselves out of deep poverty, they express deep gratitude for the sense of community and belonging work brings. This is why we believe it’s critical that the National Disability Benefit not disincentivize people with disabilities from work. The benefits far outweigh the alternative of exclusion from full participation in life.

This October, Join us in Celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month and UN International Day to Eradicate Poverty

Did you know that poverty is a violation of human rights and more than 30% of people with disabilities live in poverty?

On October 17th, the United Nations International Day to Eradicate Poverty declares that poverty is a violation of human rights and affirms the need to come together to ensure these rights are respected. People around the world are working to raise awareness about the plight of those struggling with low income.

 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), celebrated every October, was established to increase awareness of the positive outcomes of hiring persons with disabilities in Canada. Social impact employers like The Raw Carrot are participating in a nationwide campaign that highlights the positive contributions that employees with disabilities make to Canadian workplaces.

Why should we care?

The Raw Carrot, which began as an outreach ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, marks these two international days because we care deeply about upholding the dignity of our neighbours and are committed to addressing the underlying causes of poverty and margination. As a nationally recognized social enterprise, we have a vision for all communities in Canada to be meaningfully employed and able to meet their basic needs. We believe that every person who wants to work should have the opportunity for a hand up instead of just a handout in life.

 How big is this problem?

According to the Canadian Survey on Disability (2017), 76% of people with disabilities are able to work yet they experience significant disadvantages in the labour market. Meanwhile, research shows that regardless of one’s abilities, work is an important contributor to social well-being, as well as a means of earning an income.

Quick facts:

  • 80% of working-age adults without disabilities are employed
  • 59% of working-age adults with disabilities are employed
  • 22% of Canadians have one or more disabilities that limit them in their daily activities
  • 39% of Canadians with disabilities aged 25-64 (or 645,000) had the potential to work
  • 30% of people with a disability are also living in poverty (Statistics Canada)

What’s the solution?

Purpose-driven social enterprises that believe in harnessing the power of work to create positive social outcomes recognize the desire and potential of these individuals to thrive within a supported work environment – lifting themselves out of poverty and contributing to their own well-being.

As a social impact franchise, The Raw Carrot is building lasting solutions to underemployment. We empower people who face barriers to traditional employment to secure their OWN livelihoods through the dignity of work.

3 ways to get involved

1. Share this information with others and talk about why social impact employment is important to people who face barriers to traditional employment and to our communities.

2. Find out how you can support The Raw Carrot to empower more people to secure their own livelihoods through the dignity of work. Click here.

Stock up on The Raw Carrot goods by placing your order today. Click here.

Bill C-22: The Canada Disability Benefit Act

On June 22, 2023, Bill C-22, the Canada Disability Benefit Act received Royal Assent, after tireless efforts on the part of the disability advocacy community.

The historic passage of the Canada Disability Benefit Act will create a new supplemental income for people living with a disability who are twice as likely to live in poverty as those without a disability. It was made possible due to the leadership of Canada’s national politicians and championed by the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion.

The next step is for cabinet to agree on a date when this legislation will come into effect and the regulatory process will begin to determine eligibility, application, appeals and the amount of the benefit. In the spirit of “Nothing about us without us” the federal government has committed to co-designing the benefit program in consultation with the disability community.

While we support the benefit as a hopeful solution to lift people with vulnerabilities out of extreme poverty, we propose that wherever possible, our social policy framework should be biased towards supporting work with both its monetary and social benefits.

That’s why The Raw Carrot plans to show the value of supportive employment as a viable best practice model to fill the employment gap for people with disabilities and mental illness. We hope that donors and governments will find ways to fund supportive workplaces to dismantle these employment barriers and offer opportunities for work.

Our Raw Carrot staff show us every single day the impact of this endeavor: how permanent, part-time work benefits them by providing income, dignity, community and social inclusion

National AccessAbility Week 2023

Every year, Canadians honor National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) starting on the last Sunday in May. This is an opportunity to celebrate the valuable contributions and leadership of Canadians with disAbilities and highlight the work of people, organizations and communities that are removing barriers. It’s also a time to reflect on how to become a better, more accessible and more inclusive Canada.

Removing Barriers to Work

A recent Cardus Research Report entitled Breaking Down Work Barriers for People with Disabilities, states that people with disabilities experience significant disadvantages in the work force. “Despite decades of efforts by policy-makers to improve their access to work, employment rates for people with disabilities remain unacceptably low—and their risk of poverty is disproportionately high.”

Supportive Employment Solution

At The Raw Carrot Soup Enterprise, we believe that every person who wants to work should have the opportunity for a Hand Up instead of just a handout in life. We’re removing barriers to work and filling employment gaps for people with disAbilities by creating permanent part-time jobs in a supportive work environment through the sale of handcrafted, gourmet soup.

Although The Raw Carrot staff face barriers to traditional employment, they have the desire and potential to earn an income in a supportive work environment.  The Raw Carrot provides skills training opportunities, but is primarily focused on creating permanent, part-time employment for people to find community and ongoing income to support themselves and their families.  Our staff show us each and every day that they are reliable, hardworking and dependable. 100% of the sales of soup support the ongoing employment of the staff, reducing poverty, increasing dignity and creating social connection and lasting change in people’s lives.

Join the Movement

This NAAW, the time to reflect on efforts to become a better, more accessible and inclusive Canada is now!  Join us in helping make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities by breaking down employment barriers. Reach out to us today and let’s have a conversation about how you can remove employment barriers in your community!

Breaking Down Work Barriers for People with Disabilities – Cardus

Light It Up! For NDEAM 2022 is now a national movement!

The Canadian Association for Supported Employment and Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) have come together in a joint effort to create a movement that ignites a conversation about disability inclusion and employment.

Watch this 2-minute video to learn more about NDEAM and how you can get involved.

Starting in September, use the event hashtags on social media #LightITUPForNDEAM

The Raw Carrot Celebrates International Day of People with Disability 2022 #IDPwD

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations observed day celebrated on 3 December each year to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability. This year’s theme is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: The role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.”

By acknowledging this important day, we can take action to remove barriers for the 1 billion people around the world and more than 6.2 million Canadians who have some form of disability and contribute to positive change in our workplace and in the community more broadly.

Did you know?

  • Persons with disabilities in the world are among the hardest hit by COVID-19.
  • Over 1 M working-age adults with disabilities lived below Canada’s Official Poverty Line.
  • 1 in 5 has a disability, but 2 in 5 living in poverty have a disability.

This year The Raw Carrot will mark International Day of People with Disability by sharing information on our social channels and having conversations with our amazing Raw Carrot staff. We’re also encouraging the community to “look beyond” disability and celebrate people and their stories.

By listening to the experiences of people with disability, and recognizing their unique talents, skills and interests, we can challenge our own perceptions about disability and make positive changes in the community.

We encourage everyone to get involved and join the celebration! Together, we can all take action this December, and all year round, to challenge perceptions about disability, remove barriers and promote inclusive and respectful attitudes and behaviors in our communities.

For more information, go to our website or follow us on social media. You can also help spread the word and join the conversation online using #IDPwD.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Here's What Disability Awareness Means to our Amazingly Talented Raw Carrot Staff...


  • Honouring people’s differences
  • Recognizing that disabilities are not just things you can see
  • Understanding that many people have hidden disabilities like chronic pain and mental health
  • Spreading the news about October’s Disability Employment Awareness Month and celebrating people for their different abilities

Read more about how we’re celebrating NDEAM!