Harper Government supports the Neil Squire Society to help Canadians with disabilities gain job skills

BURNABY, BC, July 30, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors) and Member of Parliament for Richmond, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), announced over $1.3 million in funding to the Neil Squire Society to help Canadians with disabilities enter the workforce.

Minister Wong visited the Neil Squire Society to see first-hand how skills training is preparing Canadians with disabilities for employment and making a positive change in their lives.

Funded through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, this investment will allow the Neil Squire Society to provide life and job skills to up to 220 Canadians with disabilities. Minister Wong met project participants and talked with them about the skills they are learning such as interview techniques and computer skills to help them successfully transition to the workplace.

Minister Wong also spoke with members of the Neil Squire Society about their efforts to build partnerships with employers to raise awareness of the valuable contribution that Canadians with disabilities can make to the labour market.

This is part of the Government of Canada's overall strategy to equip all Canadians with the skills and training they need to connect with available jobs.

Quick Facts

  • On January 10, 2014, Minister Bergen announced over $8.8 million in funding to the Neil Squire Society through the Opportunities Fund for another project to help up to 830 Canadians with disabilities gain the necessary skills and experience to overcome barriers to employment.

  • The Neil Squire Society has helped more than 1,400 participants gain job skills through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities since 2008.

  • Since 2006, the Opportunities Fund has helped over 34,600 Canadians with disabilities.

  • On April 25, 2014, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, announced that the governments of Canada and British Columbia signed a renewed Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities that will better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for Canadians with disabilities, helping residents in British Columbia get much needed skills and training to find jobs.


"All Canadians, regardless of level of ability, have a tremendous amount to offer.  To support Canada's long-term prosperity, we must ensure that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so. Today's announcement will help Canadians with disabilities get the skills needed to obtain jobs and enable employers to benefit from their skills and talents."
- The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)

"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs and economic growth. Canadians with disabilities have a lot to offer. However, they remain under-represented in our workforce and face particular challenges entering the job market, and that's why partnerships with organizations like the Neil Squire Society are so important."   
- The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors) and Member of Parliament for Richmond

"We have been thrilled to have this opportunity to deliver projects that provide persons with disabilities the essential employability skills for the labour market. This creates significant opportunities for these individuals to obtain long-term attachment to the workforce. We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from the Opportunities Fund to make this possible."
- Gary Birch, O.C., Ph.D., P.Eng., Executive Director, Neil Squire Society

Associated Links


The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities provides $30 million annually to help people with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed.

Economic Action Plan 2013 announced a $10 million increase in ongoing funding to the Opportunities Fund, to $40 million annually, starting in 2015-16. Employers and community organizations will be involved in designing and delivering projects.

In addition, through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada is:

  • providing $15 million over three years to the Ready, Willing & Able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living to help connect Canadians with developmental disabilities with jobs; and

  • providing $11.4 million over four years to support the expansion of vocational training programs for Canadians with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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

  • introduced a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities with an investment of $222 million per year;

  • extended the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to improve accessibility in facilities across Canada, including workplaces; and

  • provided 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.

Other measures to connect Canadians with available jobs and equip them with the skills and training they need 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:

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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