Government of Canada helping Canadians with disabilities in the Greater Toronto Area gain job skills

ETOBICOKE, ON, Feb. 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is helping Canadians with disabilities gain the skills and experience they need to find jobs. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance), on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development.

The YMCA of Greater Toronto is receiving over $331,000 from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities for its project to help 45 people with disabilities in the Greater Toronto Area overcome barriers to employment.  

Project participants will benefit from group workshops and one-on-one training to learn or improve employment skills, such as teamwork and effective communication, and assist them with career decision-making. They may also gain work experience with local employers in areas such as office administration and the service industry. To help them achieve their employment goals, participants may also attend additional training programs offered through educational or training institutions to further upgrade their skills.

Since 2006, the Opportunities Fund has helped 40,000 people with disabilities across Canada. 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

  • To provide more demand-driven training solutions for people with disabilities, the Government's Economic Action Plan is increasing funding to $40 million annually to the Opportunities Fund. Employers and community organizations will be involved in designing and delivering training projects.
  • 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 to improve their job prospects.
  • Through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government is providing $15 million over three years to the Canadian Association for Community Living to help connect people with developmental disabilities with jobs. It is also providing $11.4 million over four years to the Sinneave Family Foundation and Autism Speaks Canada to expand vocational training programs for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.


"Our Government's top priorities are creating jobs and economic growth. To support Canada's long-term prosperity, we must ensure that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so. The project announced today 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 for Social Development

"Canadians with disabilities deserve every opportunity to participate in the job market, and that's why partnerships with organizations like the YMCA of Greater Toronto are so important. Through this project, people with disabilities in the Greater Toronto Area will gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in the workforce." 
– The Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance)

"Last year, YMCA employment programs helped more than 34,000 people gain access to employment services, which includes individuals with disabilities. The Opportunities Fund will allow the YMCA to assist these individuals in preparing for, obtaining and maintaining meaningful employment."
Darlene Holowachuk, Senior Vice-President, Employment & Community, YMCA of Greater Toronto

Associated Links



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.

Economic Action Plan 2013 announced a $10-million increase in funding for the Opportunities Fund, to $40 million annually, starting in 2015–16. Recently announced reforms will place a greater emphasis on hands-on experience, including work experience for more youth with disabilities, and ensure employers and community organizations are involved in the design and delivery of projects.

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

  • 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: Meagan Murdoch, Director of Communications, 613-716-2012; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,; Follow us on Twitter


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