Government of Canada helps Canadians with disabilities in the Niagara Region gain job skills

The Government of Canada is helping Canadians with disabilities gain the skills and experience they need to participate in the workforce in their community. The announcement was made today by Rick Dykstra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development.

Through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities will help 32 people with disabilities in the Niagara Region overcome barriers to employment.

Project participants will learn or improve employment skills, such as time management and effective communication, through group workshops and one-on-one training, and some of them may receive additional training in areas related to their career goals. Participants will also gain work experience with local employers in areas such as construction, health care and information technology.

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 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 increased 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 provided $15 million over three years to the Canadian Association for Community Living to help connect people with developmental disabilities with jobs. It also provided $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 (UCCB) would increase from $100 to $160 per month (totaling up to $1,920 per year) for children under the age of 6, and parents would receive a new benefit of $60 per month (up to $720 per year) for each child aged 6 through 17. The first payment of $3 billion to 3.8 million families represents the largest single-day direct payment to families in history.

“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

“Canadians with disabilities deserve every opportunity to participate in the job market, and that’s why partnerships with organizations like the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities are so important. Through projects like this one, our Government is helping people with disabilities, including in the Niagara Region, get the skills and experience they need to succeed in the workforce.”  – Rick Dykstra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for St. Catharines

“This project will assist Persons with Disabilities to be successful in the workforce. The support they will receive for training and wage subsidies will ensure that they able to take those steps to long term employment. We are grateful to Service Canada for their support and recognition that these programs provide an essential service to Canadians with Disabilities and look forward to working with employers in the Niagara Region.”
–Linda Soulliere, Executive Director, Coalition for Persons with Disabilities

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The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities helps Canadians with disabilities 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.

In St. Catharines, The Coalition for Persons with Disabilities is receiving over $406,000 for this project.

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.