Government of Canada helps employers create accessible and inclusive workplaces for employees with disabilities
March 23, 2021 Ottawa, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada remains committed to building a more inclusive and accessible Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. One way to strengthen Canada’s workforce and economic recovery is to address the challenges experienced by persons with disabilities in securing gainful employment. To help improve workplace accessibility and access to jobs, the Government of Canada introduced the National Workplace Accessibility Stream under the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.
Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced funding of approximately $3 million through the National Workplace Accessibility Stream for the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW) and its Accommodation and Inclusion Management (AIM) program. The program was created to help employers build healthy and productive workplaces. Minister Qualtrough made the announcement during a virtual event hosted by CCRW.
Through AIM, CCRW provides Canadian employers funding and expert advice to set up workplace accommodations like adaptive technologies, ergonomic equipment for home offices, and individual needs assessments for employees. Online training and an evidence-based support framework will help employers successfully implement accommodations in their operations. CCRW will also produce 150 workplace accommodation profiles to maintain existing jobs and help create new job opportunities for persons with disabilities by reducing barriers in the workplace. The goal is to help Canadian businesses and organizations of all sizes and from a variety of sectors maximize accessibility and build healthier, more inclusive workplaces.
As announced in the Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada is developing its first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan, which will include a new Canada Disability Benefit, improved processes for eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits, and a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities. These initiatives and programs will help more persons with disabilities successfully join and fully participate in the Canadian workforce.
“When Canadians with disabilities have equal opportunities to contribute, equal access to services and enjoy the same quality of life as everyone else, we all benefit. By supporting the work of CCRW to assist employers with building accessible workplaces through the AIM program, we are delivering on creating and rolling out a pandemic recovery that is inclusive from the start. With this project we are building a successful recovery that will lead to a stronger, fairer and more inclusive Canada, now and in the future.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
"As the only National organization in Canada with the sole mission of Employment for Persons with Disabilities, CCRW recognizes the importance of removing barriers in the workplace, for retention of work or new work opportunities for people with disabilities. The National Workforce Accessibility Stream provides needed funding to organizations such as CCRW to support small and medium sized employers assist their employees to receive adjustments and accommodations at their place of work. During COVID-19 recovery and Canada's commitment to Build Back Better, we are encouraged by this support for workers and job seekers with disabilities to be part of the future of Canada."
– Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW)
Among working-age Canadians with disabilities, more than 1.5 million, or 41 percent, are unemployed or out of the labour market entirely. Among those with severe disabilities, this rate increases to over 60 percent.
The federal Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities supports projects that assist persons with disabilities in Canada who have little or no work experience. Through these projects, persons with disabilities acquire the tools and skills required to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment or become self-employed.
On June 5, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a $15 million investment under the Opportunities Fund for the creation of the National Workplace Accessibility Stream. The investment was one of the measures introduced to help address the extraordinary challenges faced by persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Workplace Accessibility Stream provides additional funding to support persons with disabilities and employers seeking to improve workplace inclusion and access to jobs. Some of the activities supported by this stream include:
- setting up accessible and effective work-from-home measures;
- expanding online training opportunities;
- creating inclusive workplaces, whether virtual or physical;
- connecting persons with disabilities and employers;
- training for in-demand jobs; and
- offering wage subsidies.
The Fall Economic Statement announced an additional $65 million in 2021–2022 under the Opportunities Fund. These investments will further support training, accessibility and career advancements for persons with disabilities.
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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