The Rick Hansen Foundation receives Government funding to help more persons with disabilities participate in Canada’s workforce

The Government of Canada announced an investment of up to $7.5 million to the Rick Hansen Foundation for a project funded under the Sectoral Initiatives Program (SIP).

With this investment, the Foundation will establish a new standardized profession of “accessibility professionals,” which will increase expertise and information on how to build accessible spaces in a way that includes people of all abilities.

This project is part of the Government of Canada’s investment of up to $36 million to create employment and career-building opportunities for persons with disabilities through the SIP. This funding will support projects that will help remove barriers, improve employer resources and provide training tools to Canadians with disabilities.

It will support employers and industry stakeholders to develop strategies to attract and retain skilled workers, and build capacity through investments in training and human resources tools.

Budget 2021 announced $1.78 billion over three years through several new initiatives that support the skills development and training of workers, and provide incentives for employers to hire and retain them.

In particular, $960 million was allocated toward the new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program (SWSP). It will connect Canadians with the training they need to access good jobs in sectors such as green economy, healthcare, and sectors hard hit by the pandemic, where employers are looking for skilled workers. The SWSP will build on the successes of the SIP by supporting a broader range of sector-focused activities, including training and upskilling for workers and developing solutions to employers’ workforce challenges. 

In addition, in the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Government committed to developing the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), which will include: 

  • a Canada disability benefit;
  • a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities; and
  • a better process to determine eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits. 

Furthermore, in Budget 2021, the Government committed to undertake consultations that would feed directly into the design of the new disability benefit, including engagement with provinces and territories, which play a central role in providing support to many Canadians with disabilities.

The public engagement survey on the DIAP is now open until September 30, 2021. Canadians are encouraged to complete the online survey and share their views, to help guide the development of DIAP.

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