Finding Employment as a Person Who Stutters

Mathew Yaworski

Mathew Yaworski, Employment Advocacy Coordinator for the Canadian Stuttering Association, shares his advice on determining the inclusivity of potential employers in Canada.


I am a Person Who Stutters (PWS). Are there employers who are better than others at recruiting and supporting people like me? What factors should I consider when looking at potential employers or applying for jobs?

Good questions.

In my human resources experience, yes, there are differences between employers regarding their commitment to diversity and the level of support they are willing to extend to PWS. However, it is not necessarily larger employers who demonstrate the greatest commitment or strongest support. True, larger employers tend to have more resources (including human resources staff or disability consultants) that they can offer a PWS, but you should not assume that bigger always means better. In my experience, culture is a consistent indicator of an employer’s commitment to, and support of, diversity (which extends to PWS). Culture transcends an employer’s size.

Regardless of whether you are applying for a position advertised on a job board (think LinkedIn, Workopolis, or Eluta), or looking at specific companies, you need to do your research. Depending on your jurisdiction or where you want to work, a good place to start is to search for “Best Employer” or “Top Employer” rankings, for example:

Companies on these lists are not selected out of altruism by the host organization. These are competitions, where companies are required to apply. It is worthwhile for them to apply because it is free advertising, and they want to attract talent. Nonetheless, they are barometers of an employer’s culture and provide a single source to research who you might want to work for.

In case you are wondering how companies are ranked, I participated in one of these competitions with a former employer. I cannot identify the competition or employer, but I can share that the application process was standardized. Each applicant was measured against the same rubric (e.g., number of employees who have self-identified as having a disability) and answered the same questions (e.g., do you have a Diversity policy?). Their answers were ranked against other competitors and applicants received grades based on standard criteria (e.g., Work Life Balance: B).

Look at Great Places to Work too. They are different and offer a certification for employers.

The Government of Canada has a Job Bank for Persons with Disabilities 

I recommend that you invest the time to look through a potential employer’s website. Read their corporate documents: Mission or Vision Statements or Strategic Plans and visit their Human Resources or Careers page to find as much information as you can about their commitment to diversity/accessibility.

At this point, you may be thinking to yourself that every employer you come across says they are an “equal opportunity employer” or “employer of choice”. Fair point. I suggest you consider questions like:

  • How much information do they publicly share? 
  • Can I access any policies or procedures through their public website?
  • Does the company identify their hiring process, including the steps involved in getting hired?
  • Does the company advertise (or clearly indicate) that they welcome applicants with disabilities?
  • Does the company have FAQs about the hiring process or invite potential applicants with disabilities to contact human resources?

This may or may not surprise you, but municipal, provincial/territorial, and federal employers will clearly indicate their commitment to diversity and answer “yes” to the foregoing questions. Do not overlook other public sector employers like colleges, universities, school boards, and hospitals.

Once you have identified a job or employer that interests you, you might want to visit  Glassdoor. It has reviews on employers from their former employees, including why they left their position.

What factors should I consider when looking at potential employers or applying for jobs? 

My feedback here is general. Without knowing a person’s individual interests, education, and skill sets, I recommend you consider the following:


A company’s clear and visible commitment to diversity.

Unionized vs. non-unionized employers

If you are applying to a unionized employer, you will have the support of your union should you feel that you are being harassed or discriminated against due to your stutter.

Employment levels

If your occupation has high vacancy rates (e.g., skilled trades or nursing), recruiters want to fill those vacancies as quickly as possible. You may be in a better position to have an employer address your concerns earlier in the recruitment process if there is pressure to fill vacancies.


Does the jurisdiction where you will work have proactive legislation to protect disabled persons in addition to existing Human Rights regimes? For example, in 2005, the Province of Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act which was intended to reduce and remove barriers for people with disabilities so that Ontario can become more accessible and inclusive for everyone.


If you are on LinkedIn, and comfortable doing so, search potential employers and reach out to current employees and ask them about their experience working at the company.

Recruitment events

Do not overlook attending job fairs or recruitment events. They are good opportunities to speak directly with recruiters and visit multiple employers at one time.


Disclaimer: The opinions and statements in this article are solely the author’s and do not represent the Government of Canada or the Department of Justice Canada. Nothing in this article should be construed or relied upon as legal advice or opinion.   

By Mathew Yaworski, CSA Employment Advocacy Coordinator

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