Canada And Ontario Sign Agreement To Assist People With Disabilities
Toronto -- Ontarians with disabilities will be able to more easily participate in the labour market due to a new agreement signed today by the Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, and the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario. The Honourable Liza Frulla, Minister for Social Development and the Honourable Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Community and Social Services and Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, also participated in the ceremony.
"This agreement will assist persons with disabilities by removing barriers and fostering opportunities," said Prime Minister Martin, "it demonstrates how Canadian governments can work together to address issues faced by Canadians with disabilities. Equality of opportunity for Canadians is the pillar of our successful society."
According to Premier McGuinty, "for us to realize our full potential as a province, we need to ensure that all Ontarians can reach their full potential, as individuals. We can't afford to leave any one behind. This is why our goal is full inclusion of Ontarians with disabilities in all areas of society." Premier McGuinty said. "This is the right thing to do for Ontarians with disabilities. It's also the right thing to do for our economy and our society."
"Persons with disabilities have many skills to offer and would like nothing more than to fully participate in the economic and social life of Canada," said Minister Frulla. "This agreement is designed to help Ontarians with disabilities overcome the obstacles they face in entering the labour market. I am very pleased to be working with Ontario to improve access to employment for persons with disabilities."
"I believe this agreement brings us one step closer to our goal of full inclusion of Ontarians with disabilities in all areas of society," said Minister Pupatello. "We know that fairness and dignity matter to Ontarians. This agreement will greatly benefit people with disabilities, giving them a greater sense of independence and helping them to participate more fully as members of their communities."
This agreement supports a broad range of programs and services to respond to the employment-related needs of Ontarians with disabilities, from skills development, to encouraging employer readiness, to supporting a person at work, and ensuring that a person is able to remain at work.
Signed under the Multilateral Framework for Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, the Agreement replaces the Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities (EAPD) initiative, through which the Government of Canada contributes funding to help support eligible Ontario labour market programs for adults with disabilities.
The Agreement, which takes effect immediately, builds on the recent Government of Canada Speech from the Throne commitment to work with the provinces and territories to fill the gaps in education and skills development for people with disabilities. The March 23, 2004 federal budget increased the existing federal commitment of $193 million annually across the country to $223 million. The federal commitment of approximately $65 million annually for Ontario will be increased by an amount to be determined in the near future.
Ontario demonstrated considerable leadership in the development of the Multilateral Framework. As with other participating jurisdictions, Ontario will be reporting to its citizens annually on progress made under the agreement.
The Canada-Ontario Agreement is an example of governments working in partnership to support people with disabilities in their efforts to become more fully included in all aspects of society.
Government of Canada funding for this initiative is provided in the March 2004 Budget.