Youth leaders from across Canada help build more inclusive and accessible communities and workplaces

Employment and Social Development Canada

June 4, 2020              Ottawa, Ontario    From: Employment and Social Development Canada

During these trying times it is increasingly important that youth remain engaged in their communities, as changes to routine and isolation can have a negative impact on their mental and physical well-being. Canada’s youth have an important role in creating meaningful change in their communities, and can gain valuable experience through community engagement.

Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, launched a call for expressions of interest under the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) youth innovation component, a Government of Canada grants and contributions program. This EAF component engages and challenges youth to volunteer and collaborate with local community-based organizations, and apply for funding of up to $10,000 for accessibility projects.

This initiative supports youth between 15 and 30 years of age to promote awareness of accessibility needs in their communities, gain valuable experience, including how to apply for government funding, further develop their presentation skills and build their sense of social responsibility through a volunteer experience that positively impacts the lives of persons with disabilities in their communities. Youth must submit their expressions of interest by October 30, 2020.

In 2019, there were 119 youth-led projects funded across Canada through a call for expressions of interest, representing a total investment of $1 million. These youth-driven projects helped increase accessibility for persons with disabilities in their communities and workplaces. Some of the projects funded include an accessible chairlift for a community pool, purchasing a digital platform that helps train persons with disabilities, an accessible park structure, adaptive software, accessible washrooms and automatic doors.

Across Canada, we are changing the way we interact with those around us to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Youth, and all Canadians, should continue to consult their local or regional public health authorities for the latest guidelines to protect them during the process.

By making workplaces and community spaces more accessible, the Government of Canada is breaking down barriers to inclusion and access. All Canadians deserve the same opportunities for success.