New funding from the federal government will play a critical role in helping Canadians with disabilities become active members of the labour force, says the executive director of the Neil Squire Foundation.
Dr. Gary Birch, whose non-profit agency helps provide people with disabilities secure employment through use of technology and training, was commenting on the announcement of $223 million in federal job-creation funding. Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC) says is earmarked to help Canadians with disabilities develop skills and secure meaningful long-term employment.
The increased funding is made available through the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, which involves joint programs between federal and provincial governments.
"Developing marketable skills and finding a good job is an important part of building a brighter future,” HRSDC Minister Monte Solberg said in announcing the new funding.
The agreement strengthens supports and services to help people with disabilities achieve their goals, said Claude Richmond, minister of employment and income assistance for British Columbia.
The labour market agreements support a range of provincially-delivered programs and services, including:
The latest announcement extends the labour market agreement from this month through March 2008. A recent report from the federal government said Canadians with disabilities are starting to make inroads in the labor market, but their unemployment rates remains at 35 percent, almost three times that of others in the population.
- job coaching and mentoring
- pre-employment training and skills upgrading
- post-secondary education
- assistive aids and devices and a variety of other workplace supports.