Harper Government helps 1600 Canadians with disabilities get jobs

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley image:pm.gc.ca

Calgary, Alberta—The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced on Oct 10 2012 that the Harper Government is helping up to 1,600 Canadians with disabilities get jobs.

“Canadians with disabilities have a tremendous amount to offer employers but they remain underrepresented in our workforce,” said Minister Finley. “Today, I am pleased to announce that our government is helping up to 1,600 hardworking Canadians with disabilities get jobs.”

According to a recent survey by the Bank of Montreal, 56% of small businesses in Canada have never hired anyone with a disability. When asked why they hadn’t, the most common answer from small business owners was that they don’t know how to recruit them. The Harper Government is taking action to address this problem by working with small business owners to help connect willing workers with jobs.

Through the Opportunities Fund, the Harper Government is making an investment in Canadians with disabilities. The new investment is designed to provide work experience to Canadians with disabilities that will lead to ongoing employment in small or medium-sized enterprises across Canada. Some of the projects will increase employer awareness of the valuable contribution people with disabilities can make to their businesses and the Canadian economy.

“Through discussions with employers from across the country, it is clear that skills shortages are top of mind,” said Minister Finley. “In order to support Canada’s continued economic growth, we must ensure that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity to do so, including under-represented groups such as people with disabilities.”

“Programs and services that connect job seekers with disabilities to the employers who need them are an excellent investment by the government. There is a ‘business case’ for diversity and employment inclusion for people with disabilities; the needs of local business are just as important as the needs of our clientele,” said Sean McEwen, Career Development Manager, Calgary Alternative Support Services. “Our employment placement and job retention supports result in a win-win scenario for all Canadians.”

The Harper Government will partner with eligible organizations such as businesses, not-for-profit organizations, crown corporations and educational institutions to develop and manage large-scale national projects. Organizations have until November 16, 2012 to apply. Information is available at www.servicecanada.gc.ca.

The Harper Government is improving labour market opportunities for all Canadians through a wide range of effective policies, programs and services, including the Opportunities Fund, Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, Youth Employment Strategy and labour market agreements with provinces and territories.

To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

Backgrounder

Through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, the Harper Government is helping up to 1,600 Canadians with disabilities develop the skills and work experience they need to participate fully in the economy.

The Opportunities Fund helps people with disabilities who have little or no labour force attachment prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed. It supports projects that help Canadians with disabilities develop a broad range of skills and work experience they need to participate in the job market.

The new funding will enable people with disabilities to obtain work experience with small and medium-sized enterprises, and ensure employers are aware of the valuable contribution people with disabilities can make to their business and the Canadian economy. It will be allocated to projects chosen through a call for proposals.

In addition, to further support people with disabilities and help them get jobs, the Government recently established the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. The Panel will identify private sector successes and best practices regarding employing, retaining and accommodating Canadians with disabilities in the workforce, and better connecting potential employees to employers that provide jobs. As well, the Panel will identify barriers and disincentives to the employment of persons with disabilities. For more information on the Panel, please visit http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/consultations/panel/index.shtml.

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