Competency Category:

13.8 – Work with Clients Living with a Disability

Purpose & Context

Career Development Professionals (CDPs) reflect on their own values and beliefs and seek to understand those of their clients. CDPs challenge their own assumptions and avoid stereotypes that may negatively affect the well-being of the client and the outcomes of career development interventions.In preparation to working with clients living with a disability, CDPs must be knowledgeable about the unique challenges and barriers specific to living with a disability and how it may impact expectations and access to work, education and training.

Effective Performance

Competent career development professionals must be able to:

  • P1. Identify challenges and barriers people with disabilities may be facing, for example:
    • Recruitment procedures, e.g. complicated application forms, online channels
    • Physical accessibility issues
    • Discrimination
    • Inadequate housing
    • Discomfort with disclosing disability
    • Lack of knowledge of accommodations needed
    • Unfamiliarity with rights of persons with disabilities, e.g. employers’ duty to accommodate
    • Working conditions, e.g. limited flexible working or job-sharing options
    • Poverty
  • P2. Identify documentation, tools and resources available to overcome challenges and barriers, for example:
    • Resources, programs and services designed specifically for persons with a disability
    • Resources designed for employers to create an inclusive workplace
  • P3. Reflect on how the career development approach may be tailored to meet the client’s needs, for example:
    • Explain legal protections relevant to the client, e.g. Canadian Human Rights Act
    • Develop list of external health and support organizations
    • Develop strategies to support client, job coaching, supported training, at-work assistance
    • Develop pre-employment strategies and support, e.g. transportation
    • Formulate strategies to improve workplace inclusivity, e.g. outline legislative requirements, review onboarding
      process, explain reasonable accommodations
    • Collaborate with community partners that support persons with a disability

Knowledge & Understanding

Competent career development professionals must know and understand:

  • K1. Types of disabilities, e.g. vision impairment, hearing impairment, mobility impairment, mental illness, chronic
    health condition
  • K2. Relevant legislation, e.g. Canadian Human Rights Act, Employment Equity Act, Accessible Canada Act
  • K3. Onboarding process and accommodation practices relevant to persons with disabilities, e.g. use of service animal,
    inclusive policies and procedures, workstation modifications
  • K4. Reasonable workplace adjustments, e.g. role descriptions, hours or shift patterns, quieter areas of the office,
    print on coloured paper
  • K5. Accommodations in the assessment process:
    • Presentation or format
    • Response format
    • Scheduling/timing

Contextual Variables

Competent career development professionals must be able to perform this competency in the following range of contexts:

CDPs may need to deepen their knowledge of the impact of specific disabilities depending on clients’ needs.

Glossary & Key References


Industry-specific terms contained in the standard defined here, where applicable.

Duty to accommodate: ensuring equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities is well-established in Canadian law and jurisprudence, it is expected that workplaces will provide accommodations, up to a point of undue hardship.

Information Sources and Resources for Consideration

Shepard, Blythe C. & Mani, Priya A. Eds. Career Development Practice in Canada. Toronto: CERIC Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-9811652-3-3.

Zunker, Vernon G. Career Counselling: A Holistic Approach 9th edition. Boston: Loose-leaf Edition, 2016. ISBN-10: 978-1-305-40106-8

Context Rating Scales


Q: What is the consequence of a professional being unable to perform this skill according to the standard?

Moderate risk: CRITICAL


Q: How frequent and under what conditions is this skill performed?

Routinely, regular course of procedure

Level of Difficulty

Q: Under routine circumstances, how would you rate the level of difficulty in performing this skill?

Moderate difficulty or complexity

Time Required to Gain Proficiency

Q: What is the average length of time or number of repeated events that are minimally necessary for an individual to become proficient in performing the skill to the standard?

A competent career development professional requires a minimum of one year of experience with at least 40 different clients, representing a broad range of individuals, including clients living with a disability.


Practitioners typically perform this competency without supervision, and alone.


It is unlikely that this competency will automate.

Requisite Work Aids, Tools, Equipment or Materials


Career Development Professional Centre

Help us cultivate a community we all enjoy by reviewing and following the Code of Conduct.  

Our Purpose  

Thank you for being a part of the online CDPC social learning community. To ensure that all members have the best possible experience, we have a few ground rules that we ask everyone to adhere to. This code of conduct applies equally to every person in the community and is intended to foster an online space that is inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all. 

Community Rules 

Be welcoming 

We strive to be a community that welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. We aim to create and facilitate a community that promotes excellence and innovation in career and workforce development. Please extend respect to all members; we all come from different backgrounds and levels of knowledge and there is no such thing as a stupid question. 

Be respectful 

We won’t all agree all the time, but when we disagree don’t let those disagreements turn into personal attacks. A community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened will not be a productive one. Instead, when having discussions in the online community, create productive conversations around the content being presented, not the person behind the content. Any post that is determined to be “hate speech” towards any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation.  

Hate Speech could include and is not limited to:  

  • Violent threats or language directed against another person 
  • Discriminatory jokes, language, or materials 
  • Defamatory or abusive language or materials 
  • Profane or illegal materials 
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior 

A good rule of thumb is to never post anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with the world seeing or that you wouldn’t want anyone knowing came from you. We ask that you keep in mind the focus of this community, which is building excellence and innovation in career and workforce development for all individuals.  

Be considerate of the purpose of the community 

This community will be focused on building excellence and discussing innovation in the career and workforce development field. The goal of this community is to communicate goals, challenges, constructive feedback, and questions in relation to career and workforce development. The community should be a place for continued learning and development as well as a place to discuss the future of our field (solicitation without written consent by the Project or Advisory team, is strictly prohibited). Any post that is determined to be soliciting any individual or group will be deleted, and the user account may be locked until an investigation regarding the post has been concluded. The user may be given a written warning or removed from the CPDC community platform depending on the findings of the investigation. 

Post your discussions or documents in the most appropriate group or topic 

Make reasonable efforts to ensure that posts and materials are allocated to the appropriate group or topic. This will prevent cluttering the community and make it easier for everyone to find the information that they are seeking. Individuals who do this repeatedly will be contacted by one of the group admins and asked to follow these guidelines.  

Privacy and Release of Information  

CDPC-CEDC will not release your information to any third-party agencies.  

Group Admins 

There are four group admins who are available to you. Below are their names and their spoken language. 

Heather Powell | Anglophone 

Gabrielle St-Cyr | Francophone/Anglophone 

Florence Desrochers | Francophone/Anglophone

Muriel Andoblé-Yao | Francophone

Thank you and welcome to the CDPC Community!