Government of Canada creating a more inclusive Canada by helping to improve the access of people with disabilities to the workforce

News release

August 16, 2018                    Vancouver, B.C.                    Employment and Social Development Canada

Ensuring people with disabilities have fair chance at obtaining gainful employment is a key part of the Government of Canada’s plan to create a more inclusive, accessible Canada. Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, announced that organizations across Canada will receive financial support through the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (OF).

The Minister made the announcement at the Vancouver location of the Neil Squire Society, one of the national organizations that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will be working with under the OF as a result of the program’s 2018 call for proposals. The Neil Squire Society will receive up to $10 million for its Working Together with Employers and Enhancing Employment project that will provide work experiences and enhanced employment assistance services to persons with disabilities, as well as employer supports to ensure the successful inclusive integration of employees with disabilities into the workplace.

As a result of the competitive Call for Proposal process that ran between January and March 2018, the Department will be working with approximately 70 organizations across Canada on projects that support persons with disabilities in preparing for, obtaining and maintaining employment or becoming self-employed, thereby increasing their economic participation and independence.

Through programs like the OF, the Government of Canada is working collaboratively with partners in both the public and private sectors to create opportunities for the full participation by people with disabilities in their communities and workplaces, and helping to change the way society thinks, talks and acts about disability and accessibility.



“Our government is committed to ensuring all Canadians have an equal opportunity to succeed. Thanks to programs such as the Opportunities Fund, and partner organizations such as the Neil Squire Society, people with disabilities can get the support they need to find and keep good jobs. Everyone benefits when we’re all included, can contribute, and have the chance to earn a living.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

Quick facts

  • The Opportunities Fund has an annual budget of $40 million.
  • The Government of Canada is investing an additional $18.4 million, over six years to enhance OF program activities through matching services and in-house recruitment and retention strategies for small- and medium-size enterprises with the aim of improving the labour market participation of people with disabilities.
  • The OF provides financial support to community organizations that assist people with a permanent physical or mental disability that restricts their ability to perform daily activities.
  • Since its inception in 1997, the Opportunities Fund has helped approximately 110,000 people with disabilities across Canada.
  • In 2017-2018, 5,230 people with disabilities were served through OF programming with 2,268 participants finding employment, 307 returning to school and 3,266 enhancing their employability.

Associated links


Ashley Michnowski
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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