Backgrounder: National Disability Employment Awareness Month


National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Disability Employment Awareness Month, held in October, was established to increase awareness of the positive outcomes of hiring persons with disabilities in Canada. This October, employers are encouraged to take part in a nationwide campaign that highlights the positive contributions that employees with disabilities make to Canadian workplaces.

Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities was introduced in 1997 and provides $40 million annually in funding to organizations to assist persons with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment, thereby increasing their economic independence and participation in the labour force. The program is designed to help Canadians with disabilities who have little or no labour market attachment and, therefore, would not normally be eligible for the programs offered under Employment Insurance Part II. The program has both national and regional streams.

Employment Equity Program

The Labour Program administers and enforces the mandatory Legislated Employment Equity Program (LEEP) under the Employment Equity Act. LEEP's mandate is to promote, support and enhance employment equity for the four designated groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities) in federally regulated private-sector employers, Crown corporations and other federal organizations that have 100 or more employees and fall under the Employment Equity Act.

The goal is to ensure that federally regulated employers—which include about 500 private-sector employers, 30 Crown corporations and 5 other federal organizations with a combined workforce of over 760 000 employees—reflect the composition of the general labour force in Canada.

Enabling Accessibility Fund

The Enabling Accessibility Fund is a federal grants and contributions program that supports capital costs of construction and renovations related to improving physical accessibility and safety for people with disabilities in Canadian communities and workplaces.

From initiatives such as installing screen reader devices, hearing induction loop systems or automated door openers, to constructing a universally designed office or retrofitting a washroom with an accessible toilet, grab bars and taps, the Enabling Accessibility Fund works to enable Canadians with disabilities to participate in their community and the economy.

Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities

The Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPD) represent a federal investment of $222 million per year in the provinces and territories. The LMAPDs are the single largest federal government investment to help Canadians with disabilities to get jobs. With increased employer engagement and a stronger focus on demonstrating the best possible results for Canadians, the new generation of agreements will better connect Canadians with disabilities with available jobs. Under the LMAPDs, provinces and territories have the flexibility to determine how to best address the needs of Canadians with disabilities, while helping Canadian businesses benefit from their skills and talent.

Registered Disability Savings Plan

A Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a savings plan intended to help parents and others save for the long-term financial security of a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit.

Contributions to an RDSP are not tax deductible and can be made until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 59. Contributions that are withdrawn are not included in income for the beneficiary when they are paid out of an RDSP. However, the Canada Disability Savings Grant, the Canada Disability Savings Bond, investment income earned in the plan and rollover amounts are included in the beneficiary's income for tax purposes when they are paid out of the RDSP.

Creating new federal accessibility legislation: What we learned

In November 2015, the Government of Canada engaged with Canadians directly about what is needed in the new legislation that would help to remove barriers for people with disabilities.

In June 2016, a new website was launched, Accessible Canada. All Canadians were encourage to share their ideas and think about what accessibility means to them and what it could mean for their communities. Between June 2016 and February 2017, over 6,000 Canadians and over 90 organizations shared their ideas about an accessible Canada, marking the largest and most accessible consultation on disability issues that Canada has ever seen.

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