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Support for People with Disabilities - Minister Finley

  • Published: 2010-11-02 : Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
  • Synopsis: Government of Canada initiatives that are helping Canadians with disabilities overcome barriers to income security.

Main Document

The Honorable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, highlighted Government of Canada initiatives that are helping Canadians with disabilities overcome barriers to income security, during a speech at the End Exclusion 2010 conference.

"For Canadians with disabilities, and for their families, day-to-day living can provide unique challenges," said Minister Finley. "That is why the Government of Canada makes strategic investments that address the needs of people with disabilities, in order to ensure that they are able to participate fully in society."

The Government has introduced a number of initiatives to support low-income Canadians with disabilities, such as the Canada Disability Savings Bond and tax benefits that include additional supplements for people with disabilities and their families.

The Government of Canada partners with the provinces and territories, and not-for-profit organizations to improve opportunities for people with disabilities.

End Exclusion 2010 is hosted by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, the Canadian Association for Community Living, and Canada Without Poverty.

Each year, the Government invests in programs such as the Opportunities Fund, the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Disability component of the Canada Pension Plan, Labor Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities and post-secondary education assistance measures for students with disabilities.

Budget 2010 includes several measures to help people with disabilities and their families:

Recognizing that families of children with disabilities may not be able to contribute regularly to their Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Government introduced a 10-year carry forward of the Canada Disability Savings Grant and the Canada Disability Savings Bond entitlements.

To provide parents with more flexibility in ensuring that their savings may be used to support a child with a disability when they are no longer able to support his or her needs, the Government now allows a deceased taxpayer's Registered Retirement Savings Plan or Registered Retirement Income Fund proceeds to be transferred, on a tax-free basis, to the Registered Disability Savings Plan of a financially dependent child or grandchild with a disability.

To enhance accessibility for people with disabilities, the Government is extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund and providing $45 million over the next three years. The Fund will continue to support small projects that focus on removing barriers and enhancing accessibility. The program will also support mid-sized projects that will allow communities to undertake larger retrofit projects or foster partnerships for new facilities.

To build on the successes of our Paralympians and continue to encourage people with disabilities to actively participate in sport, the Government provided $5 million a year over a period of two years to the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Canada's Economic Action Plan and other recent federal initiatives are also addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their families through a series of important measures, including the following:

allocating $1 billion for renovations and energy retrofits to social housing, including renovations that support people with disabilities;

allocating an additional $75 million over two years for the construction of new social housing units for people with disabilities;

allocating $40 million over two years to improve the accessibility of federally owned buildings;

doubling the tax relief provided by the Working Income Tax Benefit, which includes a supplement for people with disabilities;

extending the increase in the Home Buyers' Plan limit and the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit to people with disabilities who are not first-time home buyers but are buying a more accessible or functional home; and

allocating $32 million for the operation of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

The Government of Canada is also promoting skills development, labor market participation and inclusiveness through the following initiatives:

Labor Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities provide provinces with funding for programs and services that improve the employment situation of people with disabilities. The provinces have the flexibility to determine their own priorities and approaches to address the needs of people with disabilities in their jurisdictions. The Government of Canada provides an annual investment of $223 million, and provinces match or exceed the federal contribution.

The Opportunities Fund assists people with disabilities in preparing for, obtaining and keeping employment or becoming self-employed, thereby increasing their economic participation and independence. Since its launch in 1997, the Fund has assisted more than 51 000 Canadians by providing $30 million each year to support people with disabilities in achieving their employment goals.

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