Government of Canada Invests in Projects to Increase Access to Employment Opportunities and Support Persons With Disabilities in the Workplace

News release
August 29, 2023 Sydney, Nova Scotia Employment and Social Development Canada

Building on the government of Canada’s commitment to improve inclusion and financial security of Canadians with disabilities, today, the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera, announced nearly $73 million in funding under the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (OF) to support 31 projects that organizations across Canada will launch this year.

This funding is in addition to $118 million announced in June 2023 to support 60 projects, which brings the Government’s total investment under the OF 2022 call for proposals to approximately $191 million.

Minister Khera made this announcement at the YMCA Cape Breton in Sydney, Nova Scotia, who received $1,119,755 in funding under the OF to assist persons with disabilities who face barriers to employment in Cape Breton and the Antigonish County. The organization will connect individuals who self-identify as persons with disabilities to subsidized employment and self-employment opportunities, supporting them through skills training, digital literacy and skills development that are required for high-demand positions in the region. Program participants will also have access to an entire host of services including, employment support, career counselling, and referral services to external agencies assisting in areas such as mental health and addictions disorders.

The OF brings together employers and employees with disabilities, to increase the participation of working-aged persons with disabilities in the workforce. The objective of the program is to assist persons with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and keep employment, advance in their careers, or become self-employed. Through the OF, more Canadians are able to achieve financial independence and participate in all aspects of society.

The funding announced today supports the Government of Canada’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan, specifically the employment pillar, and contributes to its ongoing commitment to create a truly inclusive Canada, free of physical, societal, and attitudinal barriers.


“Through the Opportunities Fund, we are creating inclusive workplaces and providing additional opportunities for persons with disabilities to connect with resources such as skills training and mentorship to help them succeed in the job market. We know that when everyone, regardless of their abilities has a chance to succeed our country, and our economy succeed”
– Minister of Diversity and Inclusion, and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera

“At the YMCA of Cape Breton, we believe everyone deserves to shine, and it is our mission to connect and ignite the potential in people, helping them grow and give back to our communities. The Opportunities Fund allows the YMCA to connect people with disabilities across Cape Breton Island with meaningful employment opportunities, supporting independence, employment equity and individual and community growth.” – CEO of the YMCA of Cape Breton, Sabrina Vatcher

“The opportunities fund is helping more Canadians with disabilities gain the skills they need to flourish in the workforce. The $1.1 million dollars announced for the YMCA here in Cape Breton will help more persons with disabilities, our community and our local economy!”
– Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria

Quick facts

According to the 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, the employment rates of persons with disabilities are much lower than those of Canadians without disabilities -59 per cent versus 80 per cent.

The Opportunities Fund (OF) helps persons with disabilities to overcome barriers by finding and keeping good jobs. It also helps employers hire and retain employees with disabilities. The OF funds a wide range of programs and services, including skills training, job search supports, pre-employability services, wage subsidies, work placements and hands-on supports to help employers create inclusive and accessible workplaces.

In Budget 2022, the Government of Canada committed $272.6 million over five years to support the implementation of an Employment Strategy for Canadians with Disabilities through the Opportunities Fund.

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