Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

June 23, 2009 14:00 ET

Government of Canada Breaks Down Barriers to Accessibility in Calgary

CALGARY, ALBERTA --(Marketwire - June 23, 2009) - Mr. Devinder Shory, Member of Parliament for Calgary Northeast, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today celebrated the groundbreaking of the North East Centre of Community Society's (NECCS) Genesis Centre of Community Wellness.

"The Government is breaking down barriers and improving accessibility across the country to improve the quality of life of Canadians with disabilities," said Mr. Shory. "This facility will help bring the community together by making this world-class centre accessible to people with disabilities in Calgary."

In February, Minister Finley announced an investment of $15 million through the Government of Canada's Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) to enable the NECCS to include extensive accessibility features in the new 225,000 square foot Genesis Centre of Community Wellness. The Centre will offer sport, health, educational and cultural programs to people in Calgary's growing northeast community, including those with disabilities.

Some of the accessibility features that will be included in the new facility are power doors with wide frames to allow for wheelchair access, accessible washrooms, visual fire alarms for the hearing impaired and Braille versions of signs.

The EAF is part of a $45-million, three-year commitment to expand opportunities for people with disabilities and improve accessibility across Canada. The goal of the EAF is to promote vibrant communities that benefit from the participation of people with varying abilities in everyday life activities.

The Government of Canada provides effective policies, programs and services that support opportunities for all Canadians, including people with disabilities, to participate in all aspects of life. Canada's Economic Action Plan and other recent federal initiatives are addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their families through important measures that include:

- providing $1 billion for social housing energy retrofits and renovations that increase accessibility, including renovations that support people with disabilities;

- investing $400 million over two years in the construction of new social housing for seniors, including seniors with disabilities;

- investing an additional $75 million over two years in the construction of new social housing units specifically for people with disabilities;

- investing $20 million per year for two years to improve the accessibility of federally owned buildings;

- increasing the maximum amount of the Working Income Tax Benefit, including the supplement for people with disabilities;

- extending the Home Buyers' Plan and the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit to people with disabilities who are not first-time home buyers but are buying a more accessible or functional home;

- beginning in fall 2009, increasing access to post-secondary education for students with permanent disabilities, including a new Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with a Permanent Disability.

- creating an Enabling Accessibility Fund to support community-based construction and renovation projects across Canada that improve physical accessibility for people with disabilities; and

- creating the Registered Disability Savings Plan and matching grant and income-tested bond, as a way to help eligible individuals with disabilities, parents and others save for long-term financial security.

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

Further information on federal programs for people with disabilities can be found at www.hrsdc.gc.ca/disability.


BACKGROUNDER

Budget 2007 announced the creation of an Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF), with $45 million over three years to contribute to projects that improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

The objective of the EAF is to support community-based projects across Canada that improve accessibility, reduce barriers and enable Canadians, regardless of physical ability, to participate in and contribute to their communities and the economy.

The EAF has two funding streams: small projects and major projects. Eligible activities for small projects funding include renovations for buildings within Canada that improve physical accessibility; the enhancement of existing transportation through the modification of an existing vehicle that improves physical accessibility; and the modification or enhancement of media and/or hardware in order to increase accessibility to information and communication. All projects must be accessible to the public.

The major projects stream provides contribution funding of between $1 million and $15 million for participatory abilities centres, subject to an agreement with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Participatory abilities centres assist people with varying abilities, supporting social and labour market integration. These centres enrich quality of life and help people with disabilities achieve their goals. They encourage the pursuit of knowledge, skills development, and physical and mental health. Centres may offer services and programs ranging from fitness instruction to educational activities to art therapy.

This news release is available in alternate format upon request.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    819-994-2482
    or
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559