October 7, 2022 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
Persons with disabilities face physical, financial, attitudinal and other barriers to participating in society. Many of these barriers are systemic and long-standing. The Government of Canada is working with the disability community to remove those barriers, and to consciously create a more inclusive country. The work required to achieve this is extensive, and it requires meaningful and sustained action.
That is why today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, released Canada’s first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan. The Action Plan consists of current and future actions, including programs, policies and investments that aim to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in Canada. It is a blueprint for change that will challenge the Government of Canada to be more inclusive of persons with disabilities, and to create a more inclusive country for everyone.
The Action Plan has four initial pillars, which were identified by the disability community as key priorities:
- Pillar 1 – Financial Security: actions to improve the immediate and long-term financial security of persons with disabilities, such as through the creation of a new Canada Disability Benefit.
- Pillar 2 – Employment: actions to address long-standing barriers that persons with disabilities face in the labour market and workplace, including by providing supports to both persons with disabilities and employers.
- Pillar 3 – Accessible and Inclusive Communities: actions to address the physical, communication, and attitudinal barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from fully participating in their communities and the economy.
- Pillar 4 – A Modern Approach to Disability: actions to address the challenges that persons with disabilities face in accessing federal programs and benefits, as well as ensuring the needs of persons with disabilities are reflected in government policies and programs.
In the spirit of “Nothing Without Us,” the Government is working in close partnership with the disability community on the Action Plan. The lived experiences of persons with disabilities have informed every part of it. The Government will continue to work with the disability community to implement and adapt the Action Plan, to ensure it remains responsive to the needs of persons with disabilities.
“Everyone has a right to participate fully in their society. The Disability Inclusion Action Plan is a roadmap for our country to remove barriers that persons with disabilities face, and to build a more inclusive Canada. This is a plan with concrete actions that will challenge the Government of Canada to consider the needs of persons with disabilities in everything we do. It will challenge us to do better, and to be better as a country.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“Employment for people with disabilities in Canada needs a strategy that is robust, supportive and encompassing. CCRW is proud to endorse the Disability Inclusion Action Plan, including the Employment Strategy for people with disabilities. We, along with many of our clients and colleagues are excited to see how the four pillars will work together to ensure real life changes and opportunities for people with disabilities living in Canada.”
– President & CEO of Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW), Maureen Haan
“The ability to be active, thriving and included members of our communities and country is the right of us all. Unfortunately, due to systemic barriers such as poverty, overly restrictive and complex systems, discriminatory attitudes, etc., for many Indigenous people with disabilities, ‘inclusion’ is just a word and not their reality. Canada’s first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) has the ability to change that reality and, in doing so, lay the foundation for a better, more inclusive country. IDC/BCANDS congratulates the Government of Canada on the development of the DIAP and looks forward to our continued work together to ensure that the needs and directions of our members and communities are addressed through the plan’s four pillars of Financial Security, Employment, Accessible /Inclusive Communities and, A Modern Approach to Disability.”
– CEO of Indigenous Disability Canada (IDC) / British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (BCANDS), Neil Belanger
“Independent Living Canada and Muscular Dystrophy Canada have been pleased to work with our many partners to provide input and feedback from marginalized and hard-to-reach people with disabilities. As we continue to consult and engage, we are pleased to see the creation of the first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan. As our work continues with our partners, we look forward to seeing our collective input reflected in the Disability Inclusion Action Plan as it is implemented and adapted to meet the responsive needs of persons with disabilities.”
– CEO of Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Stacey Lintern and & National Executive Director of Independent Living Canada, Anne MacRae
“Canadians with intellectual and developmental disabilities face many barriers in our society. They often live in poverty. Many do not have jobs. Many are not included in social life. The Disability Inclusion Action Plan will help all Canadians with disabilities. It will help them get out of poverty. It will help them get jobs. And it will help them to be more included in their communities.”
– President of People First of Canada, Dewlyn Lobo
- According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, one in five Canadians aged 15 years and over – 22% of the population or about 6.2 million people – had one or more disabilities. The same survey found that employment rates of persons with disabilities are much lower than those of Canadians without disabilities —59 per cent versus 80 per cent.
- The Government’s 2020 Speech from the Throne included a commitment to develop a Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP). The DIAP would include a new Canada Disability Benefit, a robust employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities, and a better process to determine eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits.
- On June 2, 2022, the Government reintroduced the Canada Disability Benefit Act as Bill C-22 in the House of Commons.
- The DIAP is supported by earlier investments announced in Budgets 2021 and 2022 –
- In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada committed to providing:
- $11.9 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to undertake consultations to reform the eligibility process for federal disability programs and benefits, helping to maximize their reach and improve the lives of Canadians living with disabilities. This work would feed directly into the design of a new Canada Disability Benefit.
- $100 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to triple funding for the EAF to support small and mid-sized projects with not-for-profit organizations, women’s shelters, childcare centres, small municipalities, Indigenous organizations, territorial governments, small businesses, and businesses of all sizes. This funding would help offset the cost of renovations, retrofits and accessible technologies in workplaces.
- $29.2 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to the EAF to support childcare centres as they improve their physical accessibility. This funding, which could benefit over 400 childcare centres, would support improvements such as the construction of ramps and accessible doors, washrooms, and play structures.
- In Budget 2022, the Government of Canada committed to providing:
- $272.6 million over five years to support the implementation of an employment strategy for persons with disabilities through the Opportunities Fund.
- $25 million over five years to improve access to reading and published works for persons with print disabilities.
- In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada committed to providing:
Infographic: Canada’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan
For media inquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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