Government of Canada helping people with disabilities in Quebec

QUÉBEC CITY, May 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, provided an overview of recent measures to promote the participation of Canadians with disabilities in the workforce, during a speech at the opening of Créer ensemble : un gage d'avenir, a symposium organized by SPHERE-Québec.

These measures include funding of $8.6 million over three years to SPHERE-Québec for the coordination of projects aimed at helping persons with disabilities in Quebec acquire a wide array of skills and work experience. The Government of Canada will also be contributing $157,094 to the organization for its project Imagine ton avenir, which aims to give youth with disabilities a better chance at finding jobs.

"The Jobs and Growth Budget tabled by the Government will help create new opportunities for all Canadians, so that they can participate fully in the job market and be successful in their professional lives," said Minister Finley. "By supporting SPHERE-Québec and similar organizations across Canada, we are improving the resources available to people with disabilities and hope to thereby contribute to their independence."

Minister Finley also met with members of the disability and business communities in Québec City to discuss local challenges and solutions to issues affecting persons with disabilities in Quebec.

"Our government is fully aware of the issues facing the approximately 4.4 million people with disabilities in Canada, and we will continue to work with you to find innovative solutions to local challenges. Together, we will develop effective tools to support persons with disabilities," added Minister Finley.

To meet the needs of people with disabilities, each year, the Government invests in programs such as Registered Disability Savings Plans, the Disability component of the Social Development Partnerships Program, the Disability component of the Canada Pension Plan, the Opportunities Fund, Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities and post-secondary education assistance measures for students with disabilities.

In its 2010 budget, the Government proposed a number of measures aimed at helping persons with disabilities and their families participate in all aspects of Canadian economic and social life, including an investment of $45 million over the next three years in the Enabling Accessibility Fund, which aims to eliminate obstacles and improve accessibility.

The federal government works with the provinces and territories, community organizations and other stakeholders to provide Canadians with the training, skills and opportunities they need to get jobs and contribute to their communities.

The Government of Canada is determined to break down barriers that prevent Canadians with disabilities from reaching their full potential with a wide range of policies, programs and services.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

    
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Budget 2010 includes several measures to help persons with disabilities and their families to participate in all aspects of Canadian economic and social life:

    
    - Recognizing that families of children with disabilities may not be able
      to contribute regularly to their Registered Disability Savings Plan
      (RDSP), the Government proposes to allow a 10-year carry-forward of the
      Canada Disability Savings Grant and the Canada Disability Savings Bond
      entitlements.

    - To provide parents with more flexibility in ensuring that their savings
      may be used to support a child with a disability when they are no
      longer able to support its needs, the Government proposes to allow a
      deceased taxpayer's Registered Retirement Savings Plan or Registered
      Retirement Income Fund proceeds to be transferred, on a tax-free basis,
      to the RDSP of a financially dependent child or grandchild with a
      disability.

    - To enhance accessibility for people with disabilities, the Government
      is extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund and providing $45 million
      over the next three years. The Fund will continue supporting small
      projects that focus on removing barriers and enhancing accessibility.
      It will also support a number of mid-sized projects, allowing for
      communities to undertake larger retrofit projects or foster
      partnerships for new facilities.

    - The Government is allocating $5 million over two years to the Canadian
      Paralympic Committee to build on the successes of our Paralympians and
      continue to encourage persons with disabilities to actively participate
      in sport.
    

Canada's Economic Action Plan and other recent federal initiatives are also addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their families through a series of important measures, including the following:

    
    - Allocation of $1 billion for renovations and energy retrofits to social
      housing, including renovations that support people with disabilities;

    - Allocation of an additional $75 million over two years for the
      construction of new social housing units for persons with disabilities;

    - Allocation of $40 million over two years to improve the accessibility
      of federally owned buildings;

    - Effective doubling of the tax relief provided by the Working Income Tax
      Benefit, which includes a supplement for persons with disabilities;

    - Extension of the increase in the Home Buyers Plan limit and the First-
      Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit to people with disabilities who are not
      first-time home buyers but are buying a more accessible or functional
      home; and

    - Allocation of $32 million for the operation of the 2010 Paralympic
      Winter Games.
    

Through the Community Coordinator component of the Opportunities Fund, the Government of Canada is allocating $8.6 million over three years to SPHERE-Québec. The Community Coordinator component of the Opportunities Fund aims to support projects that help people with disabilities acquire a wide array of skills and experience they need to participate in the job market.

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: For further information: media only: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary, Office of Minister Finley, (819) 994-2482; Media Relations Office, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, (819) 994-5559


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