Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

May 13, 2009 10:00 ET

Government of Canada Helps Albertans With Vision Loss Prepare for Meaningful Employment

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 13, 2009) - Albertans with vision loss will get skills development and job preparation help thanks to the Government of Canada's support for a local employment program. The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment and Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre-North, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"In today's environment, it is more important than ever that all Canadians have the skills they need to participate and succeed in the job market," said Minister Prentice. "By supporting this project, our government is helping Albertans with disabilities maximize their potential and independence."

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) will receive $118,546 under the Enhanced Employment Assistance Services component of the Opportunities Fund for the CNIB Bridge to Employment Program. This project will help 45 people with vision loss in the Calgary area find and maintain meaningful employment.

"The CNIB Bridge to Employment Program is a comprehensive job readiness program that acknowledges the unique work-related needs and capabilities of people with vision loss," said Ms. Helena Lake, Associate Director of Services and Operations for CNIB. "Through a combination of individualized employment counselling, advocacy and support; group workshops, seminars and educational sessions; and a heavy emphasis on computer training with adaptive technology, program participants are given the skills, knowledge and support needed to achieve their employment-related goals."

The federal government is working with stakeholders to make sure that Canadians get the skills and opportunities they need to participate in the workforce and contribute to the quality of life in their communities.

The Opportunities Fund supports an array of activities, such as increasing employability skills, providing work experience and preparing individuals for self-employment. The Government of Canada is committed to breaking down barriers that prevent Canadians from reaching their full potential with a wide range of effective policies, programs and services tailored to people with disabilities.

The Opportunities Fund is part of the Government of Canada's strategy to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. The Government underscored this commitment in January when it introduced Canada's Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more and better opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development.


Founded in 1918, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to research, public education and vision health for all Canadians. From May 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010, the CNIB Bridge to Employment Program will provide assessment, case management, interactive skills workshops and one-on-one services to 50 unemployed people who are living with vision loss, in order to help ease their transition to the workplace.

The $30-million Enhanced Employment Assistance Services component of the Opportunities Fund helps Canadians with disabilities who have little or no work experience, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. The Fund works with community organizations and the private sector to support projects that help Canadians with disabilities develop the skills and work experience they need to participate in the job market.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office