Government of Canada helps Canadians with disabilities in Kelowna gain job skills

Kelowna, BC, April 10, 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 Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, along with the Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna–Lake Country.

Employment and Social Development Canada has approved funding of $63,761 to Kelowna Community Resources Society from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities for its project to help 12 people with disabilities in Kelowna to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the job market.  During the 18-week project, participants will be prepared to improve their employment readiness through resume writing and interview sessions, which will be followed by paid work experience in non-profit, private or public-sector organizations.  The majority of the work experience placements will be in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing and clerical fields.

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.

Today's announcement is one example of what the Government is doing to help Canadians. To help hard-working families, the Government is also enhancing the Universal Child Care Benefit, introducing the Family Tax Cut and making improvements to the Child Care Expense Deduction and the Children's Fitness Tax Credit.

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 the 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 Kelowna Community Resource are so important. Through this project, people with disabilities in Kelowna-Lake Country will gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in the workforce." 
– The Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna–Lake Country

"Kelowna Community Resources is proud to receive funding from Service Canada to offer 'Skills to Success' a pre-employment program specifically for persons with disabilities in the Central Okanagan.  The program is designed to support those with disabilities who want to enter or re-enter the workforce but are challenged because of their disability.  Not only will the program offer pre-employment services, but it will also be able to work in partnership with employers to ensure opportunities become available for our participants."
Ellen Boelcke, Executive Director, Kelowna Community Resources

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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.

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: Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559,

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