Creating job opportunities for Canadians with disabilities in B.C.'s southern interior - Government of Canada supports jobs skills upgrading and work experience

KAMLOOPS, BC, May 6, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - People with disabilities living in British Columbia's southern interior will develop job skills and gain hands-on work experience by participating in a project that will help them overcome barriers to employment. The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, made the announcement today.

Through a project led by the Open Door Social Services Society, up to 75 people with disabilities in the Kootenay, Okanagan and Thompson regions will increase their ability to obtain and maintain employment. Depending on their needs and interests, participants may be provided with a range of supports and financial assistance. Skills development opportunities will be provided at a public or private institution in industries or sectors with strong employment possibilities. Some participants will gain work experience with local employers, and entrepreneurial support, such as help preparing business plans, will be offered to those who want to start their own business.

The Government of Canada will provide approximately $300,000 in funding for this project through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, which supports projects that help Canadians improve their employability by increasing and facilitating access to job opportunities.

Quick Facts

  • In 2014–15, the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities served 3,473 Canadians with disabilities, of which 1,455 found employment and 192 were able to return to school.
  • Since 2005, the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities has helped over 48,000 people with disabilities across Canada.
  • Budget 2016 announced it will introduce the Canadians with Disabilities Act to eliminate systemic barriers and deliver equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with a disability. The Government will consult with provinces, territories, municipalities and stakeholders in the Act's development. This budget allocates $2 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, to support the full participation of Canadians with disabilities in this process.


"Creating an inclusive and diverse Canada is one of our government's top priorities. Our investment in this project will help people with disabilities get the skills and experience they need to participate fully in the labour market. The days of the gold rush may be over, but we all know that there are hidden gems in southern British Columbia ready to be discovered…and that's the kind of resource we really want to tap into."
– The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

"This project has supported and will continue to support many job seekers to get hired in our region, some that may not have had the opportunity otherwise. We're also able to support local employers to access untapped talent pools and work collaboratively with community agencies. We are thrilled with the renewal of this project as it truly contributes to employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities. What is especially encouraging is that we're seeing a high percentage of people 30 years old or younger access the services. It's such a great resource for our local youth."
Naomi Bullock, Executive Director – Program Management & Development, Open Door Group

Associated Link
Funding: Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

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The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities assists Canadians with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and keep employment, or become self-employed, to help them participate fully in the workforce and increase their independence. The program emphasizes work experience for youth with disabilities, the involvement of both employers and community organizations in the design and delivery of projects, and hands-on work experience. The Government provides $40 million annually to the Opportunities Fund and has helped 40,000 people with disabilities across Canada since 2005.

The Government also provides $222 million annually to the provinces and territories through Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities to help Canadians with disabilities develop skills to improve their job prospects.


SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: John O'Leary, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, 819-654-5611,; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,

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