Ottawa, Ontario, December 3, 2013 – The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, today marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
“From introducing the Registered Disability Savings Plan in 2007 to the initiatives in this year’s budget supporting job opportunities, our Government continues to support Canadians with disabilities and their families,” said Minister Flaherty. “We recognize that Canadians with disabilities play an important role in our society, and through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, we are committed to helping them achieve a better quality of life.”
“Our Government is hard at work to ensure our country benefits from the talents of Canadians with disabilities. Today, and throughout the year, we will continue to help Canadians with disabilities be active participants in the economy and their communities,” added Minister Kenney.
Since 2006, the Government of Canada has introduced a number of measures to address the needs of people with disabilities, including:
- Providing $1 billion for renovations and energy retrofits of social housing, including renovations that support people with disabilities.
- Investing $400 million over two years for the construction of new social housing for seniors, including seniors with disabilities.
- Investing an additional $75 million over two years for the construction of new social housing units for people with disabilities.
- Investing $20 million for each of two years to improve the accessibility of federally owned buildings.
- Introducing the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), which includes a supplement for persons with disabilities, and doubling the tax relief provided by the WITB.
- Increasing the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit and introducing the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, which contain special provisions for persons with disabilities.
- Increasing access to post-secondary education for students with permanent disabilities, including a new Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with a Permanent Disability.
Economic Action Plan 2013 continued to build on these initiatives by:
- Introducing a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities by 2014 with an investment of $222 million per year to better meet the employment needs of businesses and improve the employment prospects for persons with disabilities.
- Maintaining ongoing funding of $40 million per year for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities starting in 2015-16, and reforming the program to provide more demand-driven training solutions for persons with disabilities and make it more responsive to labour market needs. Employers and community organizations will be involved in project design and delivery.
- Extending on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year the Enabling Accessibility Fund. This Fund supports capital costs of construction and renovations to improve physical accessibility for persons with disabilities through projects with demonstrated community support, including workplace accommodation.
The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
For more information on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, visit the United Nations website.
For information about how Canada’s Economic Action Plan is helping persons with disabilities and their families, visit the Economic Action Plan website