Major call for proposals launched to connect persons with disabilities with good jobs
May 30, 2022 Halifax, Nova Scotia Employment and Social Development Canada
Persons with disabilities continue to face barriers in finding and keeping employment and many are unable to participate fully in Canadian society and the economy. That is why the Government of Canada is working with partners and the disability community to invest in programs and services that will help to increase the accessibility of workplaces and connect persons with disabilities to skills training and good jobs.
Today, as part of National AccessAbility Week 2022, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced a call for proposals (CFP) under the Opportunities Fund (OF) for Persons with Disabilities. Up to $270M is available to fund up to 180 projects over the next three years. The objective is to increase the participation and improve the financial security of persons with disabilities in the workforce, while also helping to address labour market shortages across several sectors throughout Canada.
Minister Qualtrough made the announcement during a visit to the TEAM Work Cooperative with Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West. The Cooperative received $952,910 under the OF in 2018 to assist 116 persons with disabilities in Nova Scotia, including 86 youth, to develop the skills needed to obtain and keep good jobs. The Minister and MP Diab met with several project participants and discussed their past employment challenges and successes.
Today’s announcement supports the Government’s Employment Strategy for Persons with Disabilities, which is part of its Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The Strategy aims to:
- assist individuals to find and keep jobs, and advance in their careers or become entrepreneurs;
- support the efforts of employers to diversify their workforces by creating inclusive and accessible workplaces for employees with disabilities; and,
- increase the supply, capacity and reach of individuals and organizations that work to support disability inclusion and accessibility in employment.
Eligible organizations have until July 22, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. EDT to apply by visiting: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/disability-opportunity-national-regional.html
“Persons with disabilities are the most creative and innovative people I know. We spend our entire lives problem solving. So the fact that persons with disabilities still remain underemployed means the Canadian economy is missing out. The Opportunities Fund is a chance for employers to change this, tap into this rich pool of talent, and grow their workforce for the better.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“In Nova Scotia, over 30% of adult residents live with at least one disability. Ensuring that they are equipped to enter, and succeed in, our labour force is essential for strengthening our economy and unlocking the full potential of our businesses. Today’s announcement demonstrates our government’s commitment to providing the resources necessary to empower people with disabilities in their unique employment journeys. I know from working alongside Team Work Cooperative just how much of an impact we can make when we actively support workplace inclusion and recognize the skills and talents of all Canadians.”
- Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West
“The Opportunities Fund has been hosted by TEAM Work since 1997 and has been an instrumental tool in providing support to persons with disabilities on their employment journey. We have seen this support be the catalyst people have needed to overcome barriers in a supportive environment with supportive employers.”
– Opportunities Fund Manager, Tyler Field
According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, the employment rates of persons with disabilities are much lower than those of Canadians without disabilities —59 per cent versus 80 per cent.
The Opportunities Fund (OF) helps persons with disabilities to overcome barriers through finding and keeping good jobs. It also helps employers hire and retain employees with disabilities. The OF funds a wide range of programs and services, including skills training, job search supports, pre-employability services, wage subsidies, work placements and hands-on supports to help employers create inclusive and accessible workplaces.
In Budget 2022, the Government of Canada committed $272.6 million over five years support the implementation of an employment strategy for persons with disabilities through the Opportunities Fund.
TEAM Work Cooperative helps persons with disabilities in Halifax, Truro and Amherst to develop their skills and employability with workshops, training, career counselling, mentoring, and workplace placement, preparing them to obtain and keep employment. The Cooperative also assists persons with disabilities to acquire digital literacy skills and improve their knowledge of technologies.
The Disability Inclusion Action Plan is focused on reducing poverty among persons with disabilities, helping persons with disabilities into good quality jobs and facilitating easier access to federal programs and services while fostering a culture of inclusion.
National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) is taking place May 29 to June 4, 2022, and is a nationwide week of recognition, celebrating the many social, economic, cultural and political achievements of persons with disabilities. The theme for the NAAW 2022 is: “Inclusive from the start.”
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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