Harper Government Reaffirms Commitment to Persons with Disabilities

OTTAWA, May 2, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced the Government's support for private Member's motion 430, Strengthening Employment for Canadians with Disabilities. This motion endorses the findings of the report of the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities and commits to furthering public-private cooperation to improve the employment situation of Canadians with disabilities.

"Canada needs all of our available talent at work," said Minister Finley. "That is why Economic Action Plan 2013 is increasing opportunities for people with disabilities, helping them gain the skills and training they need to better participate in Canada's labour market."

The Harper Government created the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in Economic Action Plan 2012 to identify private-sector successes, challenges and best practices in employing people with disabilities. Motion 430, presented by Phil McColeman, Member of Parliament for Brant, calls for the Government to support the Panel's findings, recommending greater education and training to overcome barriers, dispel myths and better engage people with disabilities in contributing to a stronger economy.

"With the recent Panel report, the importance of strengthening employment opportunities for people with disabilities is gaining national attention," said Mr. McColeman. "Employers need to be looking at the strong business case for hiring people with disabilities."

"I am happy to see the Government taking action to help more Canadians with a disability enter the workforce," added Kathy Martin, Senior Vice-President, Loblaw Companies. "The motion is another positive step towards more employment and opportunities for people with a disability."

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to connect Canadians with available jobs and equip them with the skills and training they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups such as people with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal people and newcomers. To help people with disabilities in the workforce, the Government has committed to:

  • negotiate a new generation of the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities by 2014 to better meet the employment needs of businesses and the employment prospects of people with disabilities;
  • provide ongoing funding of $40 million per year starting in 2015-2016 for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities;
  • extend the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis at a level of $15 million per year;
  • additional funding of $7 million for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; and
  • a $2-million investment to support the creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum.

The measures announced in Economic Action Plan 2013 will help ensure continued economic growth, job creation and long-term prosperity, while better aligning training solutions to labour market demand.

For more information, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.



Backgrounder


Economic Action Plan 2013 measures supporting people with disabilities include:

Reforming Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities
Economic Action Plan 2013 announces the introduction of a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities by 2014 with an investment of $222 million per year. The reformed Agreements will be designed to better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for people with disabilities, in keeping with transformed Labour Market Agreements, and will put stronger accountability regimes in place.

Existing Agreements will be extended for one year, until March 2014, to allow for new Agreements to be renegotiated.

Provide ongoing funding for the Opportunities Fund for People with Disabilities
Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes ongoing funding of $40 million per year starting in 2015-2016 for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The program will also be reformed to provide more demand-driven training solutions for people with disabilities and make it more responsive to labour market needs. Employers and community organizations will be involved in project design and delivery.

Extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund
Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to extend the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis, at a level of $15 million per year, to support capital costs of construction and renovations related to improving physical accessibility for people with disabilities through projects with demonstrated community support, including workplace accommodation. This builds on the Budget 2010 commitment, which provided $45 million over three years to extend the Enabling Accessibility Fund and expand its eligibility to mid-sized projects, allowing communities to undertake larger retrofit projects to enhance accessibility of existing facilities or create new accessible facilities.

Support the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Economic Action Plan 2013 also proposes additional 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.

Creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum
Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide a temporary investment to support the creation of the Canadian Employers Disability Forum, as recommended by the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

The Forum, an initiative led by a number of Canadian businesses, will be managed by employers, for employers, to facilitate education, training and sharing of resources and best practices concerning the hiring and retention of people with disabilities. Under the leadership of the Forum, employers will help to promote and further the invaluable contributions that people with disabilities can make to their businesses.

Creation of Canada Job Grant
As announced in Economic Action Plan 2013, the Harper Government is creating the Canada Jobs Grant, which will take skills-training choices out of the hands of government and put them where they belong: in the hands of employers and Canadians who want to work. The Grant, as delivered through Labour Market Agreements, could provide up to $15,000 per person, including a maximum of $5,000 from the federal government, along with matching contributions from the provinces/territories and employers. Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for the Grant.

SOURCE Human Resources and Skills Development Canada




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