We Deserve To Work

From the same team of Self Advocates and theatre artists that brought the community Romance, Relationships & Rights in 2019, comes a new play researched, created, and acted by an extraordinary team of self advocates supported by the Community Living Society, Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship, and Massey Theatre to better understand and share stories about the rights of people with disabilities to find and keep meaningful employment – and some obstacles they encounter along the way.

Research tells us that there are approximately 500,000 working age individuals with an intellectual disability in Canada – but only one in four, or 25% of people with an intellectual disability are employed. We can do better. People with disabilities want to work and are an untapped labour pool.

Funny, moving and thought provoking, you will leave this play with a renewed sense of our collective community responsibility to welcome, encourage and support people with intellectual disabilities in our workplaces.

This project is a partnership with the Community Living Society and Massey Theatre Society, and is funded primarily through the Vancouver Foundation.

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) want to work, and research demonstrates they are great employees (UBC CIIC, 2018). Policy makers, practitioners, family members, and self advocates are calling for improved employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

People with IDD deserve competitive integrated employment: a career in  the open labour market with non-disabled employees that offers at least minimum wage and similar benefits to all colleagues, including opportunities for growth. Through social theatre we will problematize and transform societal misperceptions and stereotypes by celebrating self advocates’ abilities and right to work.

This project is tackling this complex social issue and challenging employers to learn about the benefits of inclusive hiring. Moreover, this project aims to increase awareness about the rights to employment for self advocates among family members, support workers, employers, and individuals with IDD themselves. Self-advocates deserve to work!

Sneak peak:

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Full Length November 2023 Performance and Talkback with actors and co-creators:

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The CLS Theatre Company also co-created Romance, Relationships & Rights in 2019. The full performance at the Anvil Centre can be viewed online here. 

“Access and inclusion in creativity and self-expression is a fundamental right of all people. For much of the history of theatre making this access and inclusion has not existed. It is time for that to become a thing of the past. Such notions are challenging to our facilities, our funding models and our day to day methods of work in the performing arts professions. In order for adaptations to emerge, the sector must engage with self-advocates directly and in a sustained manner.”

  ~ Jessica Schneider, Executive Director, Massey Theatre Society