Healthy And Productive Paid work for Youth with disabilities (HAPPY)

HAPPY is the latest project from the TRAIL lab, focused on enhancing inclusive employment for youth with disabilities. Dr. Sally Lindsay, senior scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) is leading the team in developing evidence-informed, gender-responsive solutions on disability disclosure and workplace accommodations. 

This five-year project brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers, employers, clinicians and youth with disabilities to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-informed and gender-responsive solutions to enhance healthy and inclusive labour force participation of youth with disabilities. 

Funding for this project is provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Partnership Grant. Matched funding is provided by the Kimel Family Opportunities Fund through the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation.

Why focus on disability disclosure and workplace accommodations?

Little is known about the experiences of disability disclosure and workplace accommodations among young people with disabilities who attempt to enter and remain in the workforce. Understanding how disclosure and accommodations are facilitated in the workplace is critical to creating more inclusive and productive workplaces:

  • Self-disclosure of a disability is a prerequisite of receiving accommodations.1,2,3, However, many young people with disabilities are often poorly prepared to disclose their condition and to advocate for accommodations.4, 2
  • Accommodations can extend working life and enhance physical and psychological health and can often be provided at little or no cost 5,6
  •  Workplace accommodations are supported by human rights and accessibility legislation 7 and place a duty on employers to provide reasonable accommodations 8
  •  Although accommodations have the potential to improve work participation they are under-utilized with less than 1 in 5 people with a disability receiving accommodations.9,10
  •  Despite the high prevalence of working-age Canadians with a disability, less than 30% of companies have disability-specific policies and only 18% of companies offer disability training programs.11

Project goals

This project aims to identify effective disclosure strategies and workplace accommodation processes, to improve quality of life and job performance for youth with disabilities.

  • The project team is developing toolkits and simulations for youth, clinicians, and employers, to support conversations around disability disclosure and to facilitate accommodation processes.
  • Toolkits are being co-created with participants from each of these groups, to ensure that they are reflective of the lived realities of youth with disabilities, and are tailored to the organizational contexts in which employers and clinicians work.
  • Simulations will also be co-created with these groups, and will demonstrate effective ways to have conversations around disability disclosure and workplace accommodations.

In addition, a gender lens will be applied in developing these tools in order to address gender-related barriers and facilitators to inclusive employment.

Thank you to our funders


Thank you to our partners


Phase one

Phase two

Where are we now?

Our team


Get involved!

For more information, please contact:

Sally Lindsay, PhD

Senior Scientist
Bloorview Research Institute
(416) 425-6220 ext. 3654