Regional Occupational Centre Society building for the future

News release

Social enterprise constructing new woodworking shop, storage area to expand capacity

July 15, 2021 · Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Organizations that provide training and vocational opportunities for people living with challenges help ensure that Canadians of all abilities have a chance to participate fully in the economy. That is why the Government of Canada is investing to help the Regional Occupational Centre Society (ROC Society) of Port Hawkesbury to expand its vocational space and allow members to gain valuable work experience in a safe environment. 

Federal government supports economic inclusivity

Today, Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso, announced a non-repayable contribution of $73,076 to the ROC Society. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

This investment will support the construction of a three-room workshop, which will house a dedicated woodworking area that will be accessible year-round. This new space will streamline production and create up to six vocational opportunities for individuals with disablities. It will also help the ROC Society meet growing local demand for its wood products, crafts and gift items in its storefront location. 

Investments like this one demonstrate the Government of Canada’s commitment to build a stronger and more resilient Canada, and create opportunities for diversity and inclusion in the country’s workforce.


“Too many Canadians living with challenges are facing barriers to employment. Social enterprises play a vital role in breaking down these barriers and enhancing the well-being of their communities. Projects that diversify the country’s labour force are essential to building fair and resilient economies, and the Government of Canada is proud to support them. We are working hard to ensure an inclusive economy for all Canadians.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The Regional Occupational Centre Society has been invaluable in enriching the lives of persons with disablities, creating opportunities for employment, skills development and integration for its clients. I am proud that this government celebrates the contributions all Canadians make to their communities, and of the work the ROC Society to provide its members with opportunities to access meaningful and productive work.”  
- Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso

We are grateful to the Federal Government for recognizing the value in the ROC Society's work with persons with disabilities. The funding will directly help individuals with disabilities enhance their skills in the woodworking department to provide product for our social enterprise and customers in the community.”
- Diana Poirier, Executive Director, Regional Occupational Centre Society

Quick facts

  • The Regional Occupational Centre Society (ROC Society) is a community-based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development of persons with disabilities. Its mission is to provide personal and vocational training, helping individuals realize their potential through teamwork and open communication.

  • The organization has been in operation for 45 years and has 30 members, employs 21 full-time and seven casual employees.

  • The Regional Occupational Centre Society (ROC Society) has a storefront where it sells fresh-baked goods, wood products, crafts and giftware, and operates a thrift store. It also has a recycling program that accepts donated recyclables for sorting, stripping, cleaning and bagging.

  • This contribution supports the construction of an exterior building for a woodworking shop, which is expected to be constructed by the end of October, 2021.

  • Funding for this project is provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund (ICF).


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic
Development and Official Languages

Chris Brooks
Communications Director, Nova Scotia
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Diana Poirier
Executive Director
Regional Occupational Centre Society
(902) 227-8502

Stay connected

Follow ACOA on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: