Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

February 18, 2009 16:00 ET

Government of Canada Breaks Down Barriers to Accessibility in Calgary

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 18, 2009) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced Government of Canada support through the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) to the North East Centre of Community Society (NECCS).

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

The EAF contribution of $15 million will enable the NECCS to include extensive accessibility features to 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.

"Our goal is to make sure that the Genesis Centre will be accessible to everyone, regardless of ability, age, language, background or economic status," said Ms. Carol Steiner, President of the NECCS. "By adding human services to the usual recreational and educational services, we are able to offer a holistic approach to helping residents lead active, healthy lives."

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 EAF supports 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.

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 that include:

- $1 billion over the next two years for renovation and energy retrofits of social housing, including renovations that support people with disabilities;

- $75 million over two years for the construction of new social housing units for people with disabilities, which will be cost-shared with the provinces and territories;

- $20 million in each of two years to improve the accessibility of federally owned buildings for people with disabilities; and

- A number of tax relief measures proposed in the Budget contain enhancements to recognize special circumstances resulting from a disability or medical condition.

To apply for funding or for further information about the EAF program, please visit www.hrsdc.gc.ca, or call 1-866-268-2502.


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 to 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.

The first call for proposals closed on April 30, 2008, and 817 applications were received, including 729 applications for small projects and 88 for major projects. A total of 168 projects have been recommended for approval, providing they meet all terms and conditions.

Organizations that did not qualify under the first call for proposals are invited to submit another proposal under the $5.7 million small projects second call for proposals, which will open shortly.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

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