Ontario Launches Free Job Training for People with Disabilities
New projects helping people with intellectual and physical disabilities train for meaningful work in their communities
May 29, 2023
Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
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TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $6.5 million to support five innovative projects to help more than 3,770 people with disabilities find meaningful jobs with businesses in their communities. These projects will connect jobseekers to careers in a variety of sectors, including health care, information technology, retail and hospitality. More than 2.6 million people in Ontario live with a disability, which can significantly increase risk of unemployment.
“At a time when nearly 300,000 jobs are going unfilled around the province, giving people with disabilities a fair shot at a life-changing job isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also good for the bottom line,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Our government is proud to invest in training programs that will lift people living with physical or intellectual disabilities up, giving them training and confidence they need to find meaningful work, earn a good paycheque, and lead purpose-driven lives.”
The first project announced today is run by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and will be providing specialized employment services to 1,300 people who are blind, partially sighted or Deafblind. The program will provide one-on-one and peer support, skills building and goal-setting workshops, and accessible technology training needed to prepare for work with local employers.
“Our government believes that anyone who wants to work should have the opportunity to work. That’s why we are committed to removing barriers to employment for people with disabilities and connecting jobseekers and employers,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “These projects help create inclusive opportunities for Ontarians with disabilities to thrive in the workplace, strengthen our economy and enrich our communities.”
The other four projects are run by Community Living Toronto, Do Good Donuts, the Geneva Centre for Autism and PTP Adult Learning & Employment Programs in partnership with George Brown College. These programs will support 2,470 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who will have the chance to build in-demand skills, receive employment counselling, job coaching, hands-on training, and paid work placements. Additional mental health services will be available for those who need it.
“MyJobMatch is changing the way the developmental services sector approaches employment,” said Brad Saunders, CEO, Community Living Toronto. “We make supported employment easier by quickly matching job seekers with employers based on the skills, experience, and values employers are looking for. We welcome this important funding that will empower people with a developmental disability to participate in their own job search.”
These projects are funded through the Skills Development Fund, a $700 million initiative, which supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home. The government will be unveiling more programs to help people with disabilities in the coming months.
For more information and the list of funding recipients, see the Backgrounder.
- Businesses that hire people with disabilities have been shown to grow profits up to three times faster than their competitors.
- In the winter, there were about 300,000 job vacancies in Ontario.
- Through its first three funding rounds, the Skills Development Fund has supported 595 projects and helped almost 522,000 people around the province take the next step in their careers.
- Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
“Thanks to the Skills Development Fund, CNIB’s Come to Work program can continue our critical work of breaking down barriers and eliminating stigmas in the workplace for Ontarians who are blind, partially sighted, or Deafblind, while connecting those looking for work with employers. Whether it’s a potential talent pool member or employer, we’re asking the same thing: join this proven program and help build the way forward together.”
– Thomas Simpson
Vice President, CNIB Voice and Executive Director, Come to Work
“Young adults with developmental disabilities have so much to offer the workforce. In return, employment offers them a meaningful connection to the community and improves mental health, physical health, social inclusion and belonging. This support from the province for our “Scale to Succeed” project means we can hire more youth into our real work for real pay training program where our employees with disabilities gain the skills, experience, and confidence they need to succeed as employees in the community.”
– Melanie Côté
Founder and President, Do Good Donuts
“With this timely investment from Ontario’s Skills Development Fund, Geneva Centre for Autism is launching the Autism Workforce Development Hub, a one stop shop for autistic job seekers and employers to access training, job matching, and individualized consulting. By working directly with both employers and job seekers to understand their needs and address potential workplace barriers, we can facilitate appropriate, inclusive employment opportunities for a largely untapped pool of talent.”
– Abe Evreniadis
CEO, Geneva Centre for Autism
“PTP – Adult Learning and Employment Programs is thrilled to receive Skills Development Funds to create a seamless pathway to meaningful employment for youth with intellectual disabilities in partnership with George Brown Colleges’ College Vocational Program. The funds will support the development of an innovative and integrated approach to program and service delivery that will include community and employer partnership development, as well as enhanced job search and job coaching support for youth participants.”
– Barbara McFater
Chief Executive Officer, PTP Adult Learning and Employment Programs
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