Did you know that in Canada only 59 per cent of disabled adults are employed, compared to 80 per cent of those without a disability? And for neurodivergent adults, the rate of employment drops to a paltry 26 per cent?
This means hundreds of thousands of neurodivergent people in Canada are denied the opportunity for meaningful employment – and, with it, the opportunity to achieve their life goals. To help address this challenge, the Azrieli Foundation and launched the INfinity Prize, a competition to help increase the rate of employment for neurodivergent adults.
The first of its kind, the prize will be awarded to a Canadian social enterprise that creates meaningful and sustainable employment for neurodivergent people. The winner will receive $100,000, professional coaching and support from the Foundation.
“I believe the INfinity Prize will raise awareness about the importance and benefits of inclusive employment,” says Orly Fruchter, Manager of Neurodiverse Initiatives at the Foundation. “It will also work to help us overcome implicit bias, hidden prejudices and discrimination.”
The winner will be announced at a gala event in fall 2023 by an independent panel of judges, including Wanda Deschamps, inclusion advocate and the founder of Liberty Co, a consultancy focused on increasing the participation of neurodiverse people in the workforce.
“This prize is going to have impact – and that impact will snowball,” says Deschamps. “It’s sending the message that neurodiversity is part of the ecosystem in an active and important way.”
As a neurodivergent person who faced a veritable minefield in her own career, Deschamps says this unique prize is extremely important in helping others find the equality they deserve.
“The INfinity Prize is set to improve the employment landscape for our neurodiverse community who have been largely excluded,” says Deschamps. “It’s going to bring a lot of positive energy to this space.”