OTTAWA, June 28, 2016 /CNW/ - In the first parliamentary session since the swearing-in of the 29th Ministry, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities has made measurable progress on her overarching goal to ensure all Canadians have the same access and opportunities in their communities and workplaces.
Enabling Accessibility Fund
- On May 31, a call for proposals was launched under the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) program, which provides funding for projects in Canadian communities and workplaces to help improve accessibility. The EAF was created in 2007 and has funded over 2,300 projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain access to their communities' programs, services and workplaces. The program has an annual budget of $15 million. Budget 2016 committed to provide an additional $4 million over two years, starting in 2016-17, which will be allocated to the community accessibility stream of the program to help improve physical accessibility and safety for people with disabilities in community facilities across Canada. This call for proposals will close on July 26, 2016.
- On March 24, Bill C-11 An Act to Amend the Copyright Act was tabled by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and received Royal Assent on June 22. The amendments to the Copyright Act enable Canada to be among the first 20 countries in the world to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. This treaty aims to bring the global community together to better address the challenge of ensuring timely access to, and wider availability of, alternate-format published materials for those with print disabilities.
- On June 13, Minister Qualtrough announced that the Government of Canada is providing $2 million in funding this year to CNIB through the Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability component to continue to support CNIB in its production of alternate format published materials for people with print disabilities.
Consultation on Accessibility Legislation
- On June 22, Minister Qualtrough launched a consultation to inform planned accessibility legislation that will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility. Canadians from around the country have already begun sharing their views on what an accessible Canada means to them. All Canadians are encouraged to have their say in the consultation process, either by attending one of the 18 in-person engagement sessions, which will start in September and be held across Canada, or by participating in the online consultation which will be launched in the coming weeks. Canadians are also encouraged to follow @AccessibleGC on Twitter, Accessible Canada on Facebook and to follow the #AccessibleCanada hashtag. The consultation process will run until February 2017.
"I am proud of the work that the Government is doing to improve the lives of Canadians. We are working hard to ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities. I look forward to continuing this work and hearing from Canadians about how we can make a real difference throughout the consultation on accessibility legislation."
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
Enabling Accessibility Fund
The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) was originally announced as a three-year, $45-million program to support community-based projects across Canada. It was then renewed for another three years prior to being renewed on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to continue to improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. Since its creation, the EAF has funded over 2,300 projects.
The EAF offers up to $50,000 in funding. Project costs will be shared between the recipient and government. Contributions equal to or greater than 35 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). This call for proposals will close on July 26, 2016.
For more information about how to submit proposals, please visit: Canada.ca/accessibility-fund.
The Marrakesh Treaty
The Government of Canada is providing $2 million in funding this year to CNIB through the Social Development Partnerships Program – Disability Component to continue to support CNIB in its production of alternate format published materials for people with print disabilities. People with print disabilities include those with visual impairments, people with impairments which affect reading comprehension (such as learning disabilities), and people who are unable to hold or turn the pages of a book.
The Disability Component of the Social Development Partnerships Program supports projects intended to improve the participation and integration of people with disabilities in all aspects of Canadian society. More specifically, the Program supports not-for-profit organizations across Canada in tackling barriers faced by people with disabilities with respect to social inclusion.
Consultation on Accessibility Legislation
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Canada's first Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, has been mandated by the Prime Minister to lead an engagement process with Canadians, including Canadians with disabilities, provinces, territories, municipalities, and other stakeholders, that would inform planned legislation and will transform how the Government of Canada addresses accessibility.
The consultation process will be open from June 2016 until February 2017. Starting in July, Canadians will be able to participate in the online consultation by completing a questionnaire, replying to questions, or by submitting videos in the language of their choice (English, French, American Sign Language or Langue des signes québécoise). Canadians can also participate through telephone, mail, email, fax or telephone. Starting in September, in-person public consultations are planned to take place in the following cities:
- St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
- Moncton, New Brunswick
- Québec, Quebec
- Montréal, Quebec
- Ottawa, Ontario
- Toronto, Ontario
- Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Regina, Saskatchewan
- Calgary, Alberta
- Edmonton, Alberta
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Victoria, British Columbia
- Iqaluit, Nunavut
- Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
- Whitehorse, Yukon
As well, Minister Qualtrough is planning a number of more focused roundtable discussions with key stakeholders, as well as a National Youth Forum that will engage youth with disabilities to engage in the policy discussion.
For the most up-to-date information on in-person venues and dates, and to participate online, please visit Canada.ca/Accessible-Canada and follow #AccessibleCanada.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Ashley Michnowski, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, 819-934-1122 / TTY: 1-866-702-6967; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]