Harper Government helps Canadians with disabilities gain job skills

WINNIPEG, July 30, 2015 /CNW/ - Announced today by the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development , the Government of Canada will provide almost $10 million over three years to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) as part of its goal to help Canadians with disabilities gain the skills and experience they need to find jobs.

The CMHA is receiving close to $10 million from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities for its project to help over 1,300 people with disabilities in 13 cities across Canada gain the skills and knowledge necessary to find jobs. Under the project, participants who have little or no work experience will learn to obtain and maintain employment through one-on-one and group workshops, job coaching and on-the-job training.

An integrated housing first pilot project operating in the Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver areas will also provide housing supplements to homeless people with mental disabilities so they can find work.

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. In its ongoing effort to help hard-working families, the Government has also enhanced the Universal Child Care Benefit, introduced the Family Tax Cut and made improvements to the Child Care Expenses 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.
  • Projects such as this one demonstrate how important it is that we support Canadians of all abilities in finding a job. The Opportunities Fund builds upon our Government's strong record of supporting those Canadians who need it most.
  • 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.
  • The Universal Child Care Benefit is providing up to $1,920 per year for children under the age of six. Parents are also receiving a new benefit of up to $720 per year for each child aged six through 17.


"Our Government's top priorities are reducing taxes, 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

"Our experience tells us that for people who have struggled with mental illness or mental health difficulties, a job is not just a "job" – it's often the chance to lead a productive and independent life, one that can contribute to personal recovery and to flourish. Funding from the Opportunities Fund will allow us to work with individuals to make their goal of becoming employed reality. It will also allow us to work directly with employers looking for skilled, dependable staff. Funding received from the Opportunities Fund is a win for people looking for work, for employers and for all Canadians."
– Peter Coleridge, National CEO, CMHA

Associated Links

Funding: Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
Economic Action Plan 2013: Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
Helping Families Prosper


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, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca, Follow us on Twitter

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