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Minister Bergen announces investment to help Canadians with disabilities in Victoria gain entrepreneurial skills

VICTORIA, Aug. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), announced today that the Government of Canada is helping Canadians with disabilities develop the skills and experience they need to find jobs.

The Greater Victoria Economic Development Association (GVEDA) is receiving more than $298,000 from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities for its EntreActive project to help those with disabilities in Victoria overcome barriers to employment and start their own businesses.

GVEDA's project will provide up to 48 participants with entrepreneurial training, coaching, networking opportunities and mentoring to help prepare them for self-employment. Over a 24-week period, participants will attend entrepreneurial workshops, prepare their own business plans and learn how to set up a business. Each week, they will attend a three-hour workshop designed to help them explore and implement their business ideas. Participants will also have dedicated time each week to complete their assignments and conduct market research. In addition, they can benefit from monthly one-on-one mentoring.

The one-year project runs from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015.

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.

Quick Facts

  • To provide more training solutions related to in-demand jobs for Canadians with disabilities, Economic Action Plan 2013 announced an increase in funding, to $40 million annually, for the Opportunities Fund.

  • Since 2006, the Opportunities Fund has helped over 34,600 people with disabilities across Canada.

  • On April 25, 2014, Minister Kenney announced that the governments of Canada and British Columbia signed a renewed Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities that will better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for Canadians with disabilities, helping residents in British Columbia get much-needed skills and training to find jobs.

  • The Government of Canada is inviting organizations to apply for funding through the Enabling Accessibility Fund for projects that will increase workplace accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. The Call for Proposals, which opened on August 6, gives eligible organizations in all provinces and territories the opportunity to submit proposals until October 1, 2014. For more information, visit


"To support Canada's long-term prosperity, we must ensure that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so. Canadians with disabilities face particular challenges entering the job market, and that's why partnerships with organizations like the Greater Victoria Economic Development Association are so important." 
- The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)

"We would like to thank the Government of Canada for their funding and support of the EntreActive program. This program has allowed people with disabilities in Greater Victoria access to classes, mentors and further support, to help them realize their entrepreneurial vision and turn it into a reality."
- Bonnie Gillatly, Program Coordinator, Greater Victoria Economic Development Association

Associated Links


The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities provides $30 million annually to help people with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed.

Economic Action Plan 2013 announced a $10 million increase in ongoing Opportunities Fund funding, to $40 million annually, starting in 2015-16. Employers and community organizations will be involved in designing and delivering training projects.

In addition, through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada is:

  • providing $15 million over three years to the Ready, Willing & Able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living to help connect persons with developmental disabilities with jobs; and

  • providing $11.4 million over four years to support the expansion of vocational training programs for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

To further help Canadians with disabilities in the workforce, the Government:

  • introduced a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities with an investment of $222 million per year to better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for people with disabilities;

  • 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 introducing the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups, including people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth.

The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) was originally announced in 2007 as a three-year, $45-million program to support community-based projects across Canada, and it was renewed in 2010 with the creation of a new mid-sized project component. Since the first call for proposals in 2008, over 1,400 projects have been awarded funding to improve accessibility in Canadian communities.

Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government extended the EAF on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to continue to help improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities in their communities as well as in their workplaces.

Projects receiving funding under the workplace accessibility stream must create or enhance accessibility in workplaces and create or maintain job opportunities for Canadians with disabilities. This call for proposals closes on October 1, 2014. Project costs will be shared between the recipient and government.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $5 million in gross revenue per year are eligible to apply through this year's call for proposals.

For more information about how to submit proposals, please visit:

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

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