Government of Canada helps people with disabilities in the Lower Mainland gain job skills

VANCOUVER, April 2, 2013 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is providing support for people with disabilities in the Lower Mainland to help them integrate into the workforce. The announcement was made by Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. To support Canada's long term prosperity, we must ensure that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity," said Ms. Young. "People with disabilities face particular challenges entering the job market and that's why partnerships with organizations like the BC Centre for Ability are so important."

The BC Centre for Ability will help people with disabilities connect with job opportunities or return to school thanks to over $4,500,000 provided through the federal Opportunities Fund. Through educational and work experience opportunities, the 535 project participants will develop the necessary job skills to obtain meaningful employment. They will also receive financial assistance as required for expenses such as tuition fees, transportation and daycare costs for the duration of the project.

"We are delighted and extremely appreciative of the Government of Canada's ongoing support to assist people with disabilities to maximize their skills and secure gainful employment," said Angela Kwok, Executive Director, BC Centre for Ability. "This funding will help to create an inclusive workforce, enabling Canadians with disabilities to maximize their potential and independence."

Canadians with disabilities have a tremendous amount to offer employers, but they remain under-represented in the workforce. That is why the Government of Canada, through Economic Action Plan 2012, invested an additional $30 million in the Opportunities Fund to help more people with disabilities gain the hands-on experience they need to find jobs.

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to maintain ongoing funding at $40 million per year, starting in 2015-16 for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The program will also be reformed to provide more demand-driven training solutions for persons with disabilities and make it more responsive to labour market needs. Employers and community organizations will be involved in project design and delivery.

Economic Action Plan 2012 announced the creation of a Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. The Panel identified private sector successes and best practices regarding employing, retaining and accommodating Canadians with disabilities in the workforce, and better connecting these workers with potential employers. The Panel also identified barriers to employing people with disabilities. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide a time-limited $2 million investment to support the creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum, as recommended by the Panel. This initiative is led by a number of Canadian businesses.


Backgrounder


The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities assists people with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed. The Government of Canada invests $30 million annually through this program to connect individuals with the skills and work experience needed to participate fully in the economy.

For more information, or to propose a project, visit servicecanada.gc.ca.

SOURCE: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

For further information:

For more information, contact:

Alyson Queen
Director of Communications
Office of Minister Finley
819-994-2482

Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada
819-994-5559
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This news release is available online at: actionplan.gc.ca.