Anna Karina Tabuñar: Tapping the Talents of Capable People with Disabilities


A Filipina journalist has made it her mission to debunk misconceptions about people with disabilities.

Filipino-Canadian broadcast journalist Anna Karina Tabuñar is busting myths about people with disabilities in the workplace with her documentary: Talent Untapped.

The biggest group of unemployed people in Canada are people with disabilities. One in seven people live with a disability and half are shut out of the workforce.

Tabuñar became one of the statistics. She was diagnosed with a rare variant of a neurological condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome, which in her case, affected her peripheral and optic nerves. She eventually had to stop working due to her condition.

"I want to look at capabilities instead of disabilities and look at the value, the economic benefits, the socio-economic benefits that happen once we engage in this pool of talent that’s growing," said Tabuñar.

With the aging population in Canada, the proportion of people with disabilities is going to grow and Tabuñar said 'Talent Untapped' highlights the need to harness and leverage this human potential.

Three years in the making, Tabuñar hopes Talent Untapped will get the voices of people with disabilities into mainstream consciousness by showing the need to open doors of opportunity so that disability can be an asset in any workforce.

The documentary was warmly received at the premier showing in Ottawa. Many were enlightened by the film.

"It makes economic sense, there’s less turnover, more loyalty and there’s a wealth of talent there, they’re not getting an inferior product," said news anchor Carol Anne Meehan.

Minister and Consul Flerida Mayo added, "The film speaks to me a lot and I hope we’ll be able to bring this to the Philippines. It has a universal message that we ought to hear too in the Philippines."

Moving forward, Tabuñar plans to enter Talent Untapped into international film festivals.

Talent Untapped aims to serve as a wake-up call to employers and change perceptions about people with disabilities.