June 1, 2021 Victoria, British Columbia Employment and Social Development Canada
The Government of Canada remains committed to building a more inclusive and accessible Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. One way to strengthen Canada’s workforce and economic recovery is to address the barriers faced by persons with disabilities when trying to find a job.
Today, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, held a virtual event with the University of Victoria, to announce over $958,000 from the federal Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities for the CanAssist Program. An organization of the University of Victoria, CanAssist is dedicated to helping people with disabilities improve their quality of life and gain work experience. The program provides young Canadians who experience physical or cognitive barriers with innovative technologies, programs and services that address unmet needs and increase independence, inclusion and well-being.
The federal Opportunities Fund supports projects that assist Canadians with disabilities who have little or no work experience. Through these projects, persons with disabilities acquire the tools and skills required to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment or become self-employed. Some of the activities supported by the program include setting up accessible and effective work-from-home measures; expanding online training opportunities; wage subsidies, and training for in-demand jobs. The program also funds projects that raise awareness of the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities, and helps employers to create inclusive workplaces.
As Canada continues to address the COVID-19 pandemic, job opportunities will be an important part of building back better. Equally important to the country’s pandemic recovery is making sure all Canadians can participate right from the start.
As announced in the September 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada is developing its first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan, which will include a new Canada Disability Benefit, improved processes for eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits, and a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities. These initiatives and programs will help more persons with disabilities successfully join and fully participate in the Canadian workforce.