EDMONTON, Feb. 15, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Mill Woods, announced Government of Canada support for organizations to improve accessibility and job opportunities for persons with disabilities in Edmonton, on behalf of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility.
While visiting the Laurel Heights Retirement Residence, Minister Sohi announced over $640,000 from the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) to help 10 Edmonton metro area organizations, including Laurel Heights, become safer and more accessible for persons with disabilities. The projects range from multi-sensory therapeutic rooms for seniors with dementia to accessible school playgrounds and renovations to improve accessibility at two local churches.
Minister Sohi also announced over $649,000 under the federal Opportunities Fund (OF) to the McBride Career Group for a project that supports persons with disabilities living in Edmonton with the skills and training they need to be able to find employment and fully participate in the local labour market.
The EAF supports construction, renovation and retrofit projects that work to improve accessibility in facilities and venues where persons with disabilities work and access programs and services, while the OF supports a wide range of programs and services, including pre-employability services, job placements, and hands-on work experience.
By supporting projects and organizations across Canada, the Government of Canada is breaking down the barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating in all aspects of Canadian society, giving everyone the same chances and opportunities to experience full and enriching lives.
The proposed Accessible Canada Act, currently making its way through the Senate, is another concrete step that the Government of Canada is taking to break down barriers to accessibility. This bill is meant to promote broad organizational and cultural change across Canada, while proactively identifying, removing and preventing barriers for the realization of a truly accessible Canada.
"Programs such as the Enabling Accessibility Fund and Opportunities Fund exist to ensure all of us can fully participate and contribute to society and our local communities. Through this funding and through partnerships with organizations like the Laurel Heights Retirement Residence and McBride Career Group, we are building a more inclusive and accessible Canada."
– The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources
"All Seniors Care is appreciative and very excited to be chosen as the recipient of this new grant. This EAF grant enables us to install multi-experience sensory rooms in every one of our All Seniors Care residences. The residents and seniors in the community will enjoy these rooms for years to come."
– Hannah Silver, Vice President of Health and Wellness, Laurel Heights Retirement Residence
"Through this funding, our efforts help those in need to achieve their unique level of independence and contribution. It is rewarding to be a part of the McBride Career Group Growth 4 U Program, made possible by the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities."
– Shannon Mervold, CEO and Owner, McBride Career Group
- The OF program has an annual budget of $40 million to assist persons with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. In June 2018, the Government of Canada announced a new investment of $18.4 million over six years. This will enhance existing programming by supporting the development of job matching services to connect employers with persons with disabilities, and to help employers to establish inclusive and effective recruitment and retention strategies.
- Since its inception in 1997, the OF has helped approximately 110,000 people with disabilities across Canada.
- In 2018–19, the EAF's grants and contributions annual budget grew to $20.65 million, as Budget 2017 provided an additional $77 million over 10 years. These funds have expanded the activities of the program and will support more small and mid-sized projects, including youth-driven project proposals, to improve accessibility in Canadian communities and workplaces.
- Since the creation of the EAF in 2007, the Government of Canada has funded over 3,500 accessibility projects, helping thousands of Canadians by improving their access to their communities' programs, services and employment opportunities.
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Ashley Michnowski, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, 819-997-5421, [email protected]; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]