Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

October 15, 2009 13:00 ET

Government of Canada Helps Persons With Disabilities in Calgary Become Self-Employed

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2009) - People with disabilities will get help preparing for jobs as a result of the Government of Canada's support for a local employment program. Mr. Deepak Obhrai, Member of Parliament for Calgary East, 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 Mr. Obhrai. "By supporting this project, our government is helping Canadians with disabilities maximize their potential and independence."

Opportunity Works Calgary Inc. will receive $240,431 under the Self-Employment component of the Opportunities Fund for its Business Advising for Mental Health project. This project will help 90 persons with mental health disabilities to become self-employed.

"Opportunity Works helps people help themselves," said Mr. Glen Hickerson, Chair of Opportunity Works Calgary Inc.'s Board of Directors. "By encouraging self-employment and independence, the impact on the community of these funding dollars is multiplied several times over. Programs like these give people with mental health challenges hope."

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

The Opportunities Fund helps support 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 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 it's commitment to this strategy 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.


The Business Advising for Mental Health project run by Opportunity Works Calgary Inc. is the only government-funded project in Calgary that offers self-employment supports to persons with mental health disabilities. Since 1998, the organization has provided business and mental health self-management support to over 500 clients. Between October 1, 2009, and September 30, 2010, Opportunity Works Calgary Inc., through the Business Advising for Mental Health project, will provide 90 individuals with mental health disabilities with one-on-one support services to enable them to become self-employed.

The Self-Employment component of the $30-million Opportunities Fund is designed to help Canadians with disabilities who have little or no work experience, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. The Fund is available to eligible organizations that provide technical and consultative expertise to eligible participants to help them assess, develop and implement their business plan. These individuals will develop the skills and work experience they need to participate in the job market.

Contact Information

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