VANCOUVER, April 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The governments of Canada and British Columbia have reached an agreement that will help British Columbians with disabilities gain the skills and experience they need to get jobs. The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, and the Honourable Stephanie Cadieux, British Columbia Minister of Children and Family Development, on behalf of the Honourable Don McRae, British Columbia Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, made the announcement today.
The renewed Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPD) is designed to improve employment prospects for Canadians with disabilities and better meet the needs of Canadian businesses.
Under this agreement, the Government of Canada will provide over $30.7 million per year to British Columbia—a contribution that will be matched by the province.
As announced in the Economic Action Plan, this new generation of LMAPDs represents a federal investment of $222 million per year in the provinces and territories. This will allow provinces and territories flexibility to determine how to best address the needs of Canadians with disabilities, while helping Canadian businesses benefit from their skills and talent. With new requirements including mandatory employer involvement and improved reporting of outcomes, the new LMAPDs will better connect Canadians with disabilities with available jobs.
In addition, the governments of Canada and British Columbia recently signed several agreements to help connect Canadians with available jobs. One of these is the new Canada Job Grant delivered through the new Canada-British Columbia Job Fund, which will provide British Columbia with $65 million annually. The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers was signed at the same time, and will give British Columbia more than $8.7 million over three years. Also signed was a memorandum of understanding on ensuring that British Columbians have the skills needed to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities in the BC resource economy.
- Approximately 800,000 working-age Canadians with disabilities who are able to work are not currently doing so. Almost half of these individuals have some post-secondary education.
- Currently, LMAPDs allow provinces and territories to fund over 100 programs, which provide over 300,000 interventions per year.
- Last year, the Government of British Columbia used the agreement to fund services provided by the Employment Program of BC, Community Living British Columbia, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Advanced Education.
- More than 5,900 people with disabilities have gained employment using the Employment Program of BC since its launch in April 2012.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes new measures to support Canadians with disabilities, such as:
- $15 million over three years to the Ready, Willing and Able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living; and
- $11.4 million over four years to support the expansion of vocational training programs for Canadians with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Through the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, we are helping Canadians with disabilities gain the skills and experience they need to find jobs, while giving employers access to a better and larger pool of talented employees. Our government is very pleased that British Columbia has committed to participate in this new generation of agreements to help people with disabilities get jobs in their area."
- The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development
"This agreement supports government's commitment to reducing barriers and increasing accessibility in our province. It ensures that we will be able to continue providing a high level of services and supports to persons with disabilities. The full inclusion of persons with disabilities in our communities, work places and social systems is vital to the development and success of our province."
- The Honourable Don McRae, British Columbia Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation
"People with disabilities are underrepresented in our current workforce. Recognizing that challenges need to be met with strong leadership and support, this agreement reinforces the commitment by both levels of government to creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities in B.C."
- The Honourable Stephanie Cadieux, British Columbia Minister of Children and Family Development
Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities
The Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPDs) are the Government of Canada's single largest investment in helping Canadians with disabilities get jobs. As announced in the Economic Action Plan, this new generation of LMAPDs represents an investment of $222 million per year by the Government of Canada in the provinces and territories. This will allow provinces and territories flexibility to determine how to best address the needs of Canadians with disabilities, while helping Canadian businesses benefit from their skills and talent.
Additional support for Canadians with disabilities
Through Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada proposes to provide $15 million over three years to the Ready, Willing and Able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living to help connect people with developmental disabilities with jobs.
Economic Action Plan 2014 will provide $11.4 million over four years to support the expansion of vocational training programs for Canadians with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The Government of Canada also provided funding of $7 million per year for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, some of which will support research related to the labour market participation of people with disabilities.
These measures are in addition to:
- Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
Following up on a commitment made in Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government of Canada appointed a Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in July 2012 to consult with private sector employers, organizations and individuals on the labour market participation of people with disabilities.
In its report, Rethinking disAbility in the Private Sector, released on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2012, the Panel recognized that hiring people with disabilities is good for business and highlighted a number of actions employers can take to accommodate people with disabilities in their workplaces.
- Enabling Accessibility Fund
The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) was originally announced in 2007 as a three-year, $45-million program to support community-based projects that improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. In 2010, it was extended with an additional three-year, $45-million commitment. Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada extended the EAF on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year, including workplaces for the first time. Since 2007, over 1,100 projects have been awarded funding to improve accessibility in Canadian communities.
- Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
The Opportunities Fund helps people with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed. Economic Action Plan 2013 is maintaining ongoing funding of $40 million per year to the Opportunities Fund. Since 2006, the Opportunities Fund has helped over 34,600 people with disabilities across Canada develop skills and gain experience, so they can find jobs.
- Registered Disability Savings Plan
The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) helps people with disabilities and their families save for the future. The RDSP, Canada Disability Savings Grant and Canada Disability Savings Bond were introduced in Budget 2007 and became available to Canadians in December 2008.
To help people save, the Government of Canada provides a matching grant of up to $3,500 annually, depending on the amount contributed and the beneficiary's family income, and a bond of up to $1,000 annually for low- and modest-income Canadians. No contributions are necessary to receive the bond.
Canada Job Grant
The Canada Job Grant, delivered through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund, will help Canadians get the training they need for available jobs and put skills training decisions in the hands of employers. It will provide up to $15,000 per person for training costs, including tuition and training materials, which includes up to $10,000 in federal contributions. Employers would be required to contribute on average one-third of the total costs of training.
The Canada Job Grant will be flexible enough to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, in all industries and regions. All private and not-for-profit businesses with a plan to train Canadians for a new or better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant once it is implemented.
The Canada Job Grant will ensure that employers participate meaningfully as partners in the skills training system, sharing in the associated costs. This will ensure that training is better aligned with job opportunities, particularly in sectors facing skills mismatches and labour shortages.
Canada-British Columbia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a Strong Resource Economy
The resource industry is a significant economic driver in rural and remote regions and is important to British Columbia's and Canada's economic future. Canada's unique opportunity to expand its energy export industry will generate billions of dollars of investment, create thousands of jobs and strengthen Canada's global reputation as an energy leader.
Through this memorandum of understanding, Canada and British Columbia will work together to ensure that Canadians are first in line for jobs in British Columbia's fast-growing resources industry.
Targeted Initiative for Older Workers
The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) is a federal-provincial/territorial cost-shared initiative that provides unemployed older workers (generally between the ages of 55 and 64) with employment assistance services, skills upgrading and work experience. TIOW assists unemployed older workers to re-integrate into the workforce in communities of 250,000 or less that are experiencing high unemployment and/or significant downsizing or closures. As announced in Economic Action Plan 2014, TIOW is being renewed for a three-year period, representing a federal investment of $75 million. TIOW is also being expanded to include communities experiencing unfulfilled employer demand and/or skills mismatches so that communities with tighter labour markets can participate in the initiative, particularly if they have vacant jobs that could be filled by unemployed older workers.
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