Gov't helping Canadians with disabilities

On March 8th, I will be participating in the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)’s Kelowna Strategies to Employment Forum on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. 
Youth Awareness funding for this event was announced by my colleague the Honourable James Moore last September.
As you know, Canada is facing skills and labour shortages in many sectors, and finding ways to get all Canadians working is fundamental to meeting this challenge.
People with disabilities face particular challenges entering the job market and that’s why partnerships with associations such as the National Educational Association of Disabled Students are so important.
Canadians with disabilities have a tremendous amount to offer employers but they remain under represented in our workforce: the overall labour market participation rate for working age adults with disabilities is just under 60%, compared with other working-age Canadians at 80%.
Following up on a commitment made in the Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government appointed a Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in July 2012 to consult with private-sector employers, organizations and individuals on the labour market participation of people with disabilities.
Panel members were the chair, Mr. Kenneth J. Fredeen, General Counsel of Deloitte & Touche LLP; Ms. Kathy Martin, Senior Vice-president, Human Resources, with Loblaw Companies Limited; Mr. Mark Wafer, owner of Megleen Incorporated, which operates six Tim Hortons’ franchises in Toronto; and Dr. Gary Birch, the Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society.
The Panel submitted its report to Ministers Finley and Flaherty on December 3, 2012, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
The Panel found that, while many companies are making strides in hiring people with disabilities, more education and training is needed to overcome barriers. The report recognized that hiring people with disabilities is good for business. The Panel also advised that leadership and effective community partnerships are essential to success in increasing employment among people with disabilities and highlighted a number of actions employers can take to accommodate people with disabilities in their workplaces.
The report is available at www.hrsdc.gc.ca .
Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. To address critical skills shortages, we must ensure that everyone who wants to work has the opportunity.
Through Economic Action Plan 2012, our government is investing an additional $30 million in the Opportunities Fund to help more people with disabilities gain the hands-on experience they need to find jobs.
Events such as the NEADS’s Kelowna Strategies to Employment Forum provide an opportunity for students with disabilities to connect with employers who can benefit from their skills and talent.
I’m looking forward to talking with local employers, service providers and post secondary students and graduates with disabilities to discuss ways in which the federal government can work in partnership to help people with disabilities obtain the skills and training they need to participate in the workforce in our community.
The participation of people with disabilities in our workforce is important to the economic and social well-being of our country and our federal government is committed to working with our partners to remove barriers and help Canadians with disabilities find jobs and achieve their full potential.
Should you have any questions about this issue or any matter related to the federal government, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] .

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About the Author

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee. He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons. His hobbies include music and sports.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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