Toronto, Ontario, November 29, 2013 — The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development, today announced new support that will help Canadians with disabilities gain the skills and experience needed to get jobs.
“Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs and economic growth. Since 2006, through the Opportunities Fund, we have helped over 34 600 people with disabilities across Canada get the training they need for available jobs,” said Minister Bergen. “What we are announcing today will help even more Canadians with disabilities gain work experience, particularly with small and medium-sized businesses that would benefit from their skills and talents.”
The Government of Canada will provide the March of Dimes Canada with more than $7 million through the Opportunities Fund to help Canadians with disabilities across the country overcome barriers to employment. This investment is in keeping with the Government’s overall strategy to equip all Canadians with the skills and training they need to connect with available jobs.
Participants in the March of Dimes project will develop the skills needed to enter and participate in the job market. The March of Dimes will also raise awareness among employers of the valuable contribution that Canadians with disabilities can make to the workforce and the economy.
“The March of Dimes would like to thank the Government of Canada for its support,” said Andria Spindel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the March of Dimes Canada. “This project will help facilitate employment for people with disabilities by linking them to employers who are actively hiring. Our goal is to create awareness among employers that hiring people with disabilities is not only a good thing to do, but good for business.”
“Often, people with disabilities have the very skills and abilities needed to grow a business but not the means to transition into a thriving workplace,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Vice-President of National Affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). “The CFIB hopes that businesses struggling to find employees will use this opportunity to meet their needs and grow their team.”
“This project is a true win-win for people with disabilities and the restaurant industry,” said Joyce Reynolds, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “It will open up new opportunities for people with disabilities who want a foothold in the labour force, while giving restaurant employers access to a committed group of workers who are currently under-represented in the workplace.”
Canadians with disabilities have a tremendous amount to offer employers but they remain under-represented in our workforce. That’s why the Government of Canada works in partnership to help them develop the skills and experience they need to get jobs. Economic Action Plan 2013 is maintaining funding for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities so the program can provide even more training to Canadians with disabilities for in-demand jobs.