Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

October 18, 2010 09:15 ET

Government of Canada Helps Canadians with Disabilities Maximize Their Potential and Independence

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 18, 2010) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, emphasized Government of Canada initiatives that are helping Canadians with disabilities get into the workforce, during a speech at the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work 2010 National Conference.

"Our government is creating new opportunities for all Canadians, including people with disabilities, to participate and succeed in the labour market," said Minister Finley. "By supporting innovative programs such as the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, we are helping Canadians with disabilities maximize their potential and independence."

The federal government's 2010 budget built upon existing initiatives that help people with disabilities and their families. One significant new investment is the three-year extension of the Enabling Accessibility Fund, which focuses on removing barriers and enhancing accessibility.

Each year, the Government invests close to $9 billion in programs such as the Opportunities Fund, the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Disability component of the Canada Pension Plan, Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities and post-secondary education assistance measures for students with disabilities.

"People with disabilities want to work, and they have the skills to make an important contribution to our economy," added Minister Finley. "Creating a truly inclusive society can only make us a stronger, more prosperous country."

The Government of Canada works with partners to improve opportunities for people with disabilities as part of its ongoing effort to create a productive workforce and a stronger economy. The federal government is determined to break down barriers that prevent Canadians with disabilities from reaching their full potential with a wide range of policies, programs and services.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

BACKGROUNDER

Budget 2010 includes several measures to help persons with disabilities and their families:

  • Recognizing that families of children with disabilities may not be able to contribute regularly to their Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Government introduced a 10-year carry forward of the Canada Disability Savings Grant and the Canada Disability Savings Bond entitlements.

  • To provide parents with more flexibility in ensuring that their savings may be used to support a child with a disability when they are no longer able to support his or her needs, the Government now allows a deceased taxpayer's Registered Retirement Savings Plan or Registered Retirement Income Fund proceeds to be transferred, on a tax-free basis, to the Registered Disability Savings Plan of a financially dependent child or grandchild with a disability.

  • To enhance accessibility for people with disabilities, Budget 2010 extends the Enabling Accessibility Fund and provides $45 million over the next three years. The Fund will continue to support small projects that focus on removing barriers and enhancing accessibility. The program will also support mid-sized projects that will allow communities to undertake larger retrofit projects or foster partnerships for new facilities.

  • Budget 2010 provided $5 million a year over a period of two years to the Canadian Paralympic Committee to build on the successes of our Paralympians and continue to encourage people with disabilities to actively participate in sport.

Canada's Economic Action Plan and other recent federal initiatives are also addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their families through a series of important measures, including the following:

  • allocating $1 billion for renovations and energy retrofits to social housing, including renovations that support people with disabilities;

  • allocating an additional $75 million over two years for the construction of new social housing units for persons with disabilities;

  • allocating $40 million over two years to improve the accessibility of federally owned buildings;

  • doubling of the tax relief provided by the Working Income Tax Benefit, which includes a supplement for persons with disabilities;

  • extending the increase in the Home Buyers Plan limit 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; and

  • allocating $32 million for the operation of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

The Government of Canada is also promoting skills development, labour market participation and inclusiveness through the following initiatives:

  • Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities provide provinces with funding for programs and services that improve the employment situation of people with disabilities. The provinces have the flexibility to determine their own priorities and approaches to address the needs of people with disabilities in their jurisdictions. The Government of Canada provides an annual investment of $223 million and provinces match or exceed the federal contribution.

  • The Opportunities Fund assists people with disabilities in preparing for, obtaining and keeping employment or becoming self-employed, thereby increasing their economic participation and independence. Since its launch in 1997, the Opportunities Fund has assisted more than 51,000 Canadians by providing $30 million each year to support people with disabilities in achieving their employment goals.

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