Canada And Ontario Sign Agreement To Assist People With Disabilities
On December 5, 2003, Ministers Responsible for Social Services approved the Multilateral Framework for Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, to replace the Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities (EAPD) initiative.
Ministers also approved the companion Framework for Demonstration or Bilateral Evaluations, which will be used to guide joint evaluation undertakings, as well as jurisdictional evaluations where appropriate. Under the Multilateral Framework, each province will sign individual bilateral agreements, as Ontario has now with the Canada --Ontario Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities.
The Canada-Ontario Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities supports a broad range of programs and services to respond to the needs of Ontarians with disabilities. Through the agreement, the federal government and the Province of Ontario will continue to cost-share programs, initiatives, services and goods that help people with disabilities to obtain training and jobs. It is expected that up to 90,000 Ontarians with disabilities will benefit from this agreement.
Under the new Labour Market Agreement, Canada and Ontario will continue to cost-share 18 employment-related programs for people with disabilities which are funded through the Ministries of Community and Social Services, Health and Long-Term Care, and Training, Colleges and Universities.
The agreement will help people with disabilities:
- prepare for employment through job training and skills development;
- get help to find a job that meets their individual needs;
- complete their post-secondary education; or
- keep a job they might otherwise lose because of their disability, by providing supports and accommodations in their workplace.
In 2002-03, the Ontario government contributed approximately $65.8 million to eligible labour market programs for people with disabilities, while the Government of Canada contributed $65.3 million.
The goal of the agreement is to improve the employment situation of Ontario citizens with disabilities, by enhancing their employability and increasing the employment opportunities available to them. The common principles, objectives and priorities agreed to by both governments should encourage greater coherence in the programming offered to support the participation of Ontarians with disabilities in the labour market.
The agreement also marks a step forward in how governments work together to address the issues facing people with disabilities. It provides a new opportunity for governments to work together under more flexible arrangements and focus together on improving the labour market situation of people with disabilities. It also underlines the importance of reporting to citizens on progress made, with the first public report scheduled for December 3, 2004.
Canada and Ontario look forward to continuing their partnership to support Ontarians with disabilities to participate more fully in the labour market.
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