Government of Canada helps Canadians with disabilities gain the skills they need for available jobs

HALIFAX, Jan. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is helping Canadians with disabilities develop the skills and experience they need to find jobs. The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), today announced an investment of over $1.1 million in Saint Mary's University's Sobey School Business Development Centre, for a project that will give Canadians with disabilities in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island the opportunity to work in local businesses applying their skills in jobs that match their education. The project will also raise awareness among employers of the valuable contributions that Canadians with disabilities can make to the workforce and the economy.

Quick facts

  • Since 2006, the Opportunities Fund has helped over 34 600 people with disabilities across Canada.
  • Economic Action Plan 2013 is maintaining increased funding for the Opportunities Fund so more Canadians with disabilities can train for jobs in high-demand fields.
  • The Government provides $222 million annually to the provinces and territories through Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities to help Canadians with disabilities develop skills, find employment, and contribute to our economy. 


"Our government is committed to ensuring that those who want to work can work. This includes Canadians with disabilities. Through this initiative, the Saint Mary's University Sobey School Business Development Centre will help these individuals overcome barriers and gain work experience with companies that would benefit from their skills and talents."
Candice Bergen
Minister of State (Social Development)

"We are proud to deliver this project that will allow participants with disabilities to develop advanced and essential skills and create long-term employment opportunities for them, while helping employers to grow their businesses through wage subsidies. Our staff and mentors will support participants to help them overcome challenges and succeed in their work."
Michael Sanderson
Manager, Skills Development and Training
Saint Mary's University, Sobey School Business Development Center

"We are proud to participate in this project, which helps foster and keep local talent in Nova Scotia. The project is a great example of what collaboration between private sector, federal government and local educational institutions can provide for on-the-job training for persons with disabilities. We are an equal opportunity employer and we are very excited to be a part of this initiative to support and train the next generation of leaders."
Saeed El-Darahali,
President and CEO, SimplyCast

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The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities helps Canadians with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed.

To further help Canadians with disabilities in the workforce, the Government is:

  • maintaining ongoing funding of $40 million per year to the Opportunities Fund starting in 2015-2016 to help more people with disabilities train for jobs in high-demand fields;
  • introducing a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities with an investment of $222 million per year to better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve employment prospects for people with disabilities;
  • extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to improve accessibility in facilities across Canada, including workplaces; and
  • providing funding of $7 million per year for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, some of which will support research related to the labour market participation of people with disabilities.

Economic Action Plan 2013 introduced other measures to connect Canadians with available jobs and equip them with the skills and training they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups, including people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth.

SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information:

Andrew McGrath
A/Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State (Social Development)

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada

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