Social Business: Advancing the Viability of a Model for Economic and Occupational Justice for People with Disabilities

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Rosemary Lysaght and Terry Krupa

This report presents the findings of an environmental scan of social businesses in Canada for people with disabilities. Driven by the need for a comprehensive understanding of the structure, reach, and function of social business as a model of promoting employment for this and other marginalized populations, our study sought to systematically catalogue key features of established social businesses in Canada, and to create a taxonomy of social business that is grounded in current practice in order to guide future research activity and offer greater understanding of this sector to policy makers and other key stakeholders.

Specifically, the study addressed three research questions:

  1. To what extent has the social business model penetrated the Canadian disability arena?
  2. What is the nature of social businesses for people with disability that presently exist in Canada?
  3. What taxonomy can classify and describe these social businesses?

This preliminary report will present the catalogue of social businesses we identified, summarizing the types and demographic features of businesses in operation.