(Back row, from left) MP David Wilks, Kootenay-Columbia; Mayor Gerry Taft, District of Invermere; Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State for Social Development; Mayor Wayne Stetski, City of Cranbrook; Scott Sommerville, CAO, City of Kimberley. (Front row) Mike Gauthier and Joanne Gauthier.
Recently, the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), highlighted Government of Canada support for six community projects aimed at improving accessibility for people with disabilities. The funding, which totals $140,723, is provided through the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF).
“All across Canada and right here in the Kootenay Region in BC, we are improving accessibility for Canadians with varying degrees of abilities in their communities and workplaces to ensure that they can participate in and contribute their many skills to Canadian society. Through this fund, we are working together to achieve our government’s goals of job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)
Recipients of the grants include the City of Cranbrook (two projects), the District of Invermere, the City of Kimberley (two projects), and the Valley Community Resource Society. Funding received through the EAF supports projects aimed at improving accessibility.
The cities of Cranbrook and Kimberley, the District of Invermere and the Valley Community Resource Society have all received funding to improve the accessibility of their facilities through projects to install automated doors and exterior ramps, lower sinks and counters, and widen doorways so that people with various abilities can participate in the lives of their cities.
“Improving accessibility for people with disabilities is a priority for me as Mayor and for Council. I am so proud of the work that our city is doing to help the community and people with disabilities have barrier-free access to community programs and services offered here in Cranbrook. On behalf of Council and the City of Cranbrook, I wish to thank those who have helped to bring these projects to life, and the federal government for providing financial support through the Enabling Accessibility Fund. This is an important step in the right direction,” said Wayne Stetski, Mayor of the City of Cranbrook
Minister Bergen also took the opportunity to reiterate the EAF Workplace Accessibility Stream call for proposals that opened on August 6, 2014. This stream allows small businesses to submit applications to receive grants of up to $50,000.
Since the creation of the EAF in 2007, our government has funded over 1,400 projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain better access to their communities’ facilities, programs and services.
Economic Action Plan 2013 extended the EAF on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to improve accessibility in facilities across Canada, including workplaces.
The EAF launched a call for proposals for workplaces on August 6, 2014. The call will be open for small businesses to apply until October 1, 2014. Up to $5 million in funding support is available through this year’s call for proposals.
To be considered eligible for the Workplace Accessibility Stream, projects must be aimed at creating or maintaining job opportunities for people with disabilities through renovation, retrofitting or construction of accessible workplaces, and/or the provision of assistive technologies for work use, among other requirements.
Our government also supported the creation of a Canadian Employers Disability Forum, expanded the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities, created a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, and expanded the Ready, Willing & Able Initiative.