Government of Canada Announced $70.8 Million Funding for Accessibility Projects
In support of National AccessAbility Week 2023, the Government of Canada allocated $70.8 million to fund 903 accessibility projects led by organizations across the country. The announcement was made by Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, highlighting the government's commitment to enhancing inclusion and accessibility for persons with disabilities.
The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) small projects component, which had launched its Call for Proposals in 2022, selected various organizations to receive financial support. These organizations aimed to improve accessibility and inclusivity in spaces, communities, workplaces, services, and systems, ensuring that every Canadian could fully participate and contribute to society.
During the announcement at Mouvement d'entraide communautaire à l'emploi in Gatineau, Quebec, it was revealed that the organization would receive $100,000 through the EAF small projects component. This funding would be utilized to retrofit 12 accessible doors in a building that would soon be converted into 10 fully accessible housing units for individuals with disabilities. The joint initiative involving Exdeltra and Entre Deux Roues, the organization's partners, also secured $100,000 each in funding under the EAF small projects component. Once completed, this initiative would enable persons with disabilities to remain within their community, enhance their participation, and promote wider social inclusion.
Francine St-Jean, Director of Entre Deux Roues at Entre Deux Roues, expressed commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, stating, "Not only are we going to make our building more accessible, but we will also be offering adapted apartments for physically disabled people in the area by transforming an old school. One of the challenges we face in the community is the lack of suitable living spaces for individuals with disabilities who desire autonomy. Currently, there is a reliance on institutionalization for those who require round-the-clock assistance. Our goal is to create a space where they can maintain their independence while having access to necessary services on a full-time basis."
The EAF small projects component primarily supported construction, renovation, and retrofit projects aimed at increasing accessibility, inclusion, and safety in communities and workplaces. Eligible projects could receive grants of up to $100,000 each, facilitating substantial improvements in accessibility.
This funding aligned with the Government of Canada's Disability Inclusion Action Plan, which envisioned a fully inclusive Canada, free from physical, societal, and attitudinal barriers. By supporting organizations in enhancing accessibility through the Enabling Accessibility Fund, the government actively addressed overlooked barriers to participation for persons with disabilities.
Minister Carla Qualtrough emphasized the significance of ensuring that individuals with disabilities could participate fully in their communities, emphasizing its critical role in Canada's Disability Inclusion Action Plan. She stated, "By helping organizations across Canada make their buildings more accessible through the Enabling Accessibility Fund, we're removing barriers to participation that often went overlooked."
Steven MacKinnon, Member of Parliament for Gatineau, expressed his pride in witnessing the transformation of 55 rue Marengère into an adapted residence for persons with disabilities. He commended the Enabling Accessibility Fund for its contribution to the community, stating that the initiative would enable Gatineau residents with disabilities to remain in their communities and maintain their daily routines. MacKinnon further highlighted the collaborative efforts of community organizations, supported by the Government of Canada, in enhancing accessibility and inclusion for persons with disabilities across the Outaouais region.
Photo caption: Steven MacKinnon and fellow Ministers gathered with the community in Gatineau to celebrate National Accessibility Week and announced funding for Exdeltra and Entre Deux Roues initiatives.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Entre Deux Roues.