Government of Canada invests in projects to increase workplace inclusion and connect persons with disabilities with good jobs
June 2, 2023 Victoria, British Columbia Employment and Social Development Canada
Improving the inclusion and financial security of persons with disabilities is a key priority for the Government of Canada. This is why the Government continues to work with partners and the disability community to address barriers to employment, and invest in programs and services that help increase the accessibility of workplaces and improve employment prospects of persons with disabilities.
Today, as part of National AccessAbility Week 2023, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced funding of more than $118 million over the next three years under the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (OF). This will support 60 projects that organizations across Canada are launching this year, to help improve access to jobs and workplace accessibility for Canadians with disabilities.
Minister Qualtrough made the announcement during a visit hosted by the John Howard Society of Victoria, in British Columbia. The John Howard Society of Victoria received $1,537,900 under the OF for its Voyager Employment Program that assists persons with disabilities who face barriers to employment in British Columbia. Through this project, the integration of approximately 120 persons with disabilities into the job market, is supported with employment services and skills training that enables them to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment or become self-employed, helping to increase their economic participation and independence.
The OF brings together employers and employees with disabilities, as it seeks to increase the participation of working-aged persons with disabilities in the workforce. The program connects persons with disabilities to skills training, pre-employability services, job placements, wrap-around supports, work experience, access to assistive devices, and mentorship opportunities. It also supports employer awareness programs that can lead to good job opportunities, while also helping to address labour market shortages across key sectors in Canada. Through the OF, more Canadians are able to achieve financial independence and participate in all aspects of society.
The funding announced today supports the Government of Canada’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan, specifically the employment pillar. It also contributes to the Government’s ongoing commitment to create a truly inclusive Canada, free of physical, societal, and attitudinal barriers.
“Persons with disabilities are innovative, creative and hardworking. Yet, we are drastically underrepresented in the job market. The Opportunities Fund helps create disability-inclusive workplaces and connects the disability community with the skills training and mentorship needed to succeed in the job market.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities will provide the John Howard Society with the ability to serve our community through our Voyager Employment Program. This program will benefit persons who are diagnosed or have self-identified disabilities. We will have programming that will prepare people to find and maintain meaningful employment with hands-on support. Our goal is to increase their skills and capacities, and support employers through education and advocacy.”
– Director of Programs, John Howard Society of Victoria, Kayla Grosfield
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.
In Budget 2022, the Government of Canada committed $272.6 million over five years to support the implementation of an Employment Strategy for Canadians with Disabilities through the Opportunities Fund.
National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) is taking place from May 28 to June 3, 2023. A nationwide week of recognition, NAAW celebrates the many social, economic, cultural and political achievements of persons with disabilities. The theme for this year is: “Disability inclusion: from possibilities to practice”.
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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