TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 10, 2012) - Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to Canada's Labour Minister, today announced that the Harper Government is helping up to 1,600 Canadians with disabilities get jobs.
"Our top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, and we know that employers across this country are looking for workers," said Dr. Leitch. "That's why I am proud to announce that the Harper Government is helping 1 600 Canadians with disabilities get jobs through the Opportunities Fund program."
According to a recent survey by the Bank of Montreal, 56% of small businesses in Canada have never hired anyone with a disability. When asked why they had not the most common answer from small business owners was that they do not know how to recruit them. The Harper Government is taking action to address this problem by working with small business owners to help connect willing workers with jobs.
Through the Opportunities Fund, the Harper Government is making an investment in Canadians with disabilities. The new investment is designed to provide work experience to Canadians with disabilities that will lead to ongoing employment in small or medium-sized enterprises across Canada. Some of the projects will increase employer awareness of the valuable contribution people with disabilities can make to their businesses and the Canadian economy.
Dr. Leitch's announcement is one of a series taking place across the country today. Minister Finley kicked off the nation-wide events by launching a Call for Proposals under the Opportunities Fund to deliver the funding.
"To support Canada's continued economic growth, we must ensure that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity-including under-represented groups such as people with disabilities," said Dr. Leitch.
"The Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work has a rich history of supporting employment programs for people with disabilities across Canada. Many of these programs have been enabled through funding provided by the Government of Canada's Opportunities Fund," said Maureen Hann, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work. "This announcement today will continue to support initiatives enabling the success of people with disabilities and strengthen partnerships in our communities."
The Harper Government will partner with eligible organizations such as businesses, not-for-profit organizations, Crown corporations and educational institutions to develop and manage large-scale national projects. Organizations have until November 16, 2012 to apply. Information is available at www.servicecanada.gc.ca.
The Harper Government is improving labour market opportunities for all Canadians through a wide range of effective policies, programs and services, including the Opportunities Fund, Targeted Initiative for Older Workers, Youth Employment Strategy and labour market agreements with provinces and territories.
To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.
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This news release is available online at: www.actionplan.gc.ca.
Through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, the Harper Government is helping up to 1 600 Canadians with disabilities develop the skills and work experience they need to participate fully in the economy.
The Opportunities Fund helps people with disabilities who have little or no labour force attachment prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed. It supports projects that help Canadians with disabilities develop a broad range of skills and work experience they need to participate in the job market.
The new funding will enable people with disabilities to obtain work experience with small and medium-sized enterprises, and ensure employers are aware of the valuable contribution people with disabilities can make to their business and the Canadian economy. It will be allocated to projects chosen through a Call for Proposals.
In addition, to further support people with disabilities and help them get jobs, the Government recently established the Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. The Panel will identify private sector successes and best practices regarding employing, retaining and accommodating Canadians with disabilities in the workforce, and better connecting potential employees to employers that provide jobs. As well, the Panel will identify barriers and disincentives to the employment of persons with disabilities. For more information on the Panel, please visit http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/consultations/panel/index.shtml.