GATINEAU, QC, Dec. 23, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, today highlighted some key accomplishments of 2014. These include successfully delivering on Economic Action Plan commitments.
- Renewed the overall Investment in Affordable Housing to March 2019, with federal funding of $1.25 billion over five years and signing renewal agreements with provincial and territorial colleagues across the country.
- Together with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, released the final report on the world-leading At Home/Chez Soi project, which demonstrated that the Housing First approach rapidly reduces homelessness while alleviating pressure on shelter, health, police and judicial services.
- Renewed the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), committing nearly $600 million in funding over the next five years, and launched the Housing First approach in Canada. Minister Bergen also addressed international and domestic homelessness conferences in Chicago, Illinois, and Vancouver, B.C., describing Canada's concrete action through the Housing First approach.
- Assumed additional responsibilities for disability-related programs and launched two national calls for proposals under the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF). The EAF is a program that supports capital costs of construction and renovations related to improving physical accessibility and safety for people with disabilities in Canadian communities and workplaces.
- Met with counterparts in Washington, D.C., to exchange ideas and best practices on housing, homelessness and disability issues.
- Attended the G20 Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting in Melbourne, Australia, to speak about Canada's many initiatives to invest in skills training to ensure Canadians have the skills employers are looking for in today's economy including: the Canada Job Grant, the Canada Apprentice Loan, apprenticeship grants, federal transfers to the provinces for the purposes of skills training, the Youth Employment Strategy and labour market inclusion for people of all abilities.
- Joined the Prime Minister for the announcement of new measures to make life more affordable for Canadian families, including the increase and expansion of the Universal Child Care Benefit. Met with families across the country to explain how they will have more money in their pockets to spend on their priorities as a result of the Family Tax Cuts and Benefits package.
- Reformed the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities to better connect people with disabilities with jobs and launched a call for proposals for national projects. This call is still open and eligible organizations across the country are invited to submit their proposals before January 30, 2015.
- Continued to raise awareness about the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Registered Education Savings Plan, the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant so that more eligible Canadians benefit from these savings plans.
In the upcoming year, Minister Bergen will continue to strengthen social development programs and deliver on priorities, ensuring that all Canadians can fully participate in building stronger communities, ensuring Canada's long-term prosperity.
Homelessness Partnering Strategy in Canada
- On April 1, the Government of Canada renewed the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) using a Housing First approach by committing nearly $600 million in funding over five years, until March 2019.
- Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, approximately 34,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefited from education and training opportunities; approximately 32,000 have received help to find work; and more than 5,770 new shelter beds have been created.
- The Government of Canada has made historic investments in housing to create better economic outcomes for Canadian families.
- Provinces and territories are able to direct this funding into housing solutions that best meet their local needs and priorities.
- Together with partners, the federal government has helped ensure that close to 1 million families have access to affordable housing.
Support for Canadians with disabilities
- Since 2007, the Government of Canada has funded over 1,800 projects under the Enabling Accessibility Fund, helping thousands of Canadians gain better access to their workplaces and communities' facilities, programs and services.
- So far, Canadians have registered close to 100,000 Registered Disability Savings Plans and have benefitted from over $1 billion in bonds and grants deposited by the federal government.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 announced a $15 million investment over three years to expand the Ready, Willing & Able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living to connect people with developmental disabilities with jobs.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 announced $11.4 million over four years to expand the CommunityWorks initiative led by the Sinneave Family Foundation and Autism Speaks Canada, a vocational training program for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
- The Government of Canada offers education savings incentives such as the Registered Education Savings Plan, the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant to help parents save so their children can get the right education, skills and training to find good jobs.
- Since the introduction of the Canada Learning Bond, the Government of Canada has provided Canadian families with nearly $500 million for their children's post-secondary education.
- Over 600,000 children have received the Canada Learning Bond since its creation.
- The Government of Canada has paid out over $8 billion in Canada Education Savings Grants since 1998.
"This has been a busy, productive year and I'm proud of what has been accomplished. We've been delivering on our Economic Action Plan commitments on all fronts, including investing in housing, implementing the evidence-based Housing First approach to combat homelessness and ensuring Canadians of all abilities can fully participate in our communities and our workforce. I look forward to continuing this work in support of Canadian families in the new year."
– The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, firstname.lastname@example.org