Enabling Accessibility Fund - New Workplace Accessibility Stream Announced
OTTAWA, Dec. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is inviting small businesses and social enterprises to apply for funding through the Enabling Accessibility Fund for projects that will increase accessibility for Canadians with disabilities in workplaces across the country.
The Enabling Accessibility Fund call for proposals, which was launched at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce today, gives eligible small businesses and social enterprises in all provinces and territories the opportunity to submit proposals until January 20, 2014.
Organizations can receive grants of up to $50,000 per project. Projects must address the objective of removing barriers, improving accessibility and enabling Canadians with disabilities to participate in and contribute to their local economies. They must support employment opportunities for people with disabilities through construction and renovation activities that will improve accessibility in the workplace.
- Since the first call for proposals in 2008, over 1100 projects have been awarded funding to improve accessibility in Canadian communities.
- Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government is extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to continue to improve accessibility in facilities across Canada, including workplaces.
"Our government's top priority is creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Canadians with disabilities have a lot to contribute to our economic growth, but have traditionally been under-represented in the labour force. This fund encourages employers to create accessible workplaces for people with disabilities to provide them with better job opportunities. I urge all Canadian employers to do more to train and hire Canadians with disabilities and to ensure their workplaces are accessible."
- Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism
"Today's announcement provides critical support to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of Canadian workplaces. We've made significant advances, but there is still much to be done to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to employment opportunities, enabling them to increase their independence, support their families and contribute to their communities. The Enabling Accessibility Fund is facilitating social change towards a world where people of all abilities can fully participate in all aspects of society."
- Rick Hansen, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Rick Hansen Foundation
"The Minister's announcement will allow employers greater opportunity in hiring people with disabilities. It will allow them to access an eager labour force and add diversity to their workplace."
- Adam Legge, President and Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
"Accommodating people with disabilities in our workplaces is critical to boosting their participation in the workforce. We welcome the fund's new focus on helping small businesses increase their accessibility."
- Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
"The Enabling Accessibility Fund will enable employers to widen their workforce search and facilitate the hiring of workers with disabilities. The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work recognizes this initiative by the Canadian government to be proactive, and we are excited to see an increase in hiring the talent pool of people with disabilities due to this call for proposals."
- Maureen Haan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work
"Canadian Federation of Independent Business supports efforts made by business owners and government to reduce the barriers to employment for all Canadians with disabilities. We are encouraged by the announcement of a new federal program to support achievement of this important goal."
- Richard Truscott, Alberta Director of Provincial Affairs, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
"The Enabling Accessibility Fund has allowed us to employ youth and people with disabilities as counselors by funding an accessible room within our first dorm to replace our 45+ year-old dorms at Easter Seals Camp Horizon. Easter Seals Camp Horizon is the only camp of its kind for people with disabilities in southern Alberta and we are grateful for the federal government's support of our efforts."
- Patti Brewin, Campaign Director, Alberta Easter Seals
Backgrounder: Enabling Accessibility Fund - Workplace Accessibility Stream
Enabling Accessibility Fund - Workplace Accessibility Stream
Projects receiving funding under the Workplace Accessibility Stream must create or enhance accessibility in workplaces to enable Canadians with disabilities to participate more fully in the workforce. This call for proposals closes on January 20, 2014.
Project costs will be shared between the recipient and government. Contributions equal to or greater than 50 percent of the total eligible costs of the project must be provided by sources other than the federal government (which can include the applicant's own organization).
The following types of organizations can apply for funding:
- small businesses (having fewer than 50 employees and less than $5 million in gross revenue per year); and
- social enterprises: a business or venture owned by a not-for-profit organization (including charities and co-operatives) that is involved in the production and/or selling of goods and/or services for generating income and achieving value related to social, cultural, and/or environmental goals.
Eligible activities for these projects include construction, renovation or retrofitting of:
- facilities in which jobs could be maintained or created specifically for people with disabilities;
- motor vehicles for work use; and,
- information and communications technologies for work use.
The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) was originally announced in 2007 as a three-year, $45-million program to support community-based projects across Canada. In 2010, the EAF was extended with an additional three-year, $45-million commitment and the creation of a new mid-sized project component.
Economic Action Plan 2013 strengthens federal programs for Canadians with disabilities to help them get the skills and training they need to prepare for and find work. Beginning in 2015-16, more Canadians with disabilities will receive training for in-demand jobs through ongoing support from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
Office of the Minister