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Minister Bergen announces investment to help Canadians in B.C. Rockies region gain job skills

CRANBROOK, BC, Aug. 18, 2014 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada is helping Canadians with disabilities develop the skills and experience they need to find jobs, the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development) announced today.

Kootenay Employment Services will receive more than $509,000 from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities for its project to help those with varying abilities get jobs.

The project will provide up to 44 Canadians living in the B.C. Rockies region with help to overcome barriers to employment through either skills workshops on topics such as résumé writing and interview techniques or work placements with local employers. Participants join throughout the year and, since April, four have started the skills training component, while 17 have begun their work placements with the goal of gaining permanent jobs with their employer. The 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 Canadians with disabilities.

  • 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 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 http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/disability/eaf/index.shtml.

Quotes

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

"We know that there are some talented individuals who face unique challenges when it comes to finding work. This is why I am pleased that our government is helping Canadians in Kootenay-Columbia develop the skills and experience they need to find jobs."
- David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia

"It has been said that the best social program in the world is a good job, and that is where the Working Solutions Program comes in. This program creates a vital bridge for people with disabilities to access meaningful employment. Working Solutions is not a grant, but rather an investment in human capital that provides multiple returns. People with disabilities become valued members of the workforce, empowered with skills, self-confidence and an income that allows them to contribute to social systems rather than depend on them."
- Hugh Grant, Executive Director, Kootenay Employment Services Society

Associated Links

Backgrounder

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 people 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 was launched on August 6 and 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: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/disability/eaf/index.shtml

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

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