Last week was National AccessAbility Week. As we celebrated, highlighted and promoted inclusion and accessibility across Canada, we remained especially aware of how greatly society benefits when all Canadians can participate equally in their workplaces and communities.
To help achieve a more accessible Canada, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, invited businesses, community organizations and other eligible recipients to apply for funding through the 2017 Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) Call for Proposals.
Canadians with disabilities face challenges every day which prevent them from participating fully in their communities and the economy. Through programs such as the EAF, the Government of Canada is committed to reducing these accessibility barriers and ensuring that everyone has equal access and opportunity.
This call for proposals includes Workplace Accessibility and Community Accessibility funding streams.
The EAF Workplace Accessibility Stream gives eligible businesses and other employers across Canada the opportunity to submit funding proposals for projects that improve accessibility and safety for people with disabilities through the construction, renovation or retrofit of workplaces and the provision of accessible information and communications technologies.
The EAF Community Accessibility Stream provides funding for projects that help improve accessibility and safety through the construction, renovation or retrofit of community facilities and the provision of accessible information and communications technologies so that community programs and services can be accessed by people with disabilities.
Businesses with up to 99 full‑time equivalent employees and community organizations can receive government grant project funding of up to $50,000. Not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, small municipalities (population under 125,000), Indigenous organizations (including band councils, tribal councils and self-government entities) and territorial governments are eligible to apply.
Eligible applicants in all provinces and territories can submit proposals until Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
In addition to this call for proposals, and in celebration of Canada 150, a portion of the 2017–18 EAF funding budget will support a pilot project for up to 150 youth-driven projects aimed at increasing accessibility in community facilities and workplaces across Canada. The maximum funding per project will be $10,000. Youth interested in participating will identify accessibility barriers in public places or workplaces in their communities and/or surrounding communities and seek out interested organizations willing to work with them to lead the development of accessibility project proposals.
- The Enabling Accessibility Fund has an annual budget of $15 million.
- Since the creation of the Enabling Accessibility Fund, the Government of Canada has funded over 2,890 projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain access to employment opportunities and their communities’ programs, services and workplaces.
- Budget 2016 provided an additional $4 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, for the Enabling Accessibility Fund’s community stream to support the capital costs of construction and renovation related to improving physical accessibility and safety for Canadians with disabilities.
- Budget 2017 proposes to provide $77 million over 10 years, starting in 2018–19, to expand the activities of the Enabling Accessibility Fund. This will enable the program to support more small and mid-sized projects in Canadian communities and workplaces.
- On November 1, 2016, a one-day national forum for youth took place as part of the consultation process to inform the development of planned federal accessibility legislation. Youth (15 to 30 years of age) from across the country took this opportunity to share their life experiences and ideas on how to improve accessibility, remove barriers and increase the participation of people with disabilities in Canadian society.
- National AccessAbility Week is being celebrated from May 28 to June 3, 2017 to promote inclusion and accessibility in communities and workplaces.
“The launch of a new call for enabling accessibility funding is another example of what the Government of Canada is doing to help Canadians of all abilities to fully participate in and contribute to their workplaces and communities. I encourage all eligible businesses and community organizations to join their efforts and make our communities and workplaces more inclusive for all Canadians.”
– Mike Bossio, Member of Parliament for Hastings—Lennox and Addington
“We’ve made great strides in promoting inclusion for Canadians with disabilities, but there is still much work to do. That’s why, as part of National AccessAbility Week, I encourage businesses, community organizations and other eligible applicants to apply for Enabling Accessibility Fund funding, so that together we can create a more accessible Canada.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) was originally announced as a three-year, $45-million program to support community-based projects across Canada. It was then renewed for another three years prior to being renewed on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year, to continue to improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities.
Budget 2016 provided an additional $4 million over two years, starting in 2016–17, for the Enabling Accessibility Fund’s community stream to support the capital costs of construction and renovation related to improving physical accessibility and safety for Canadians with disabilities.
Budget 2017 proposes to provide $77 million over 10 years, starting in 2018–19, to expand the activities of the Enabling Accessibility Fund. Eligible projects could include the construction of accessible ramps and the installation of automatic doors, and the provision of accessible information and communications technologies. Since its creation, the EAF has funded over 2,890 projects.
Projects funded under the Workplace Accessibility Stream, the more recent of the two funding streams, must aim to improve accessibility or safety in workplaces in order to create or maintain job opportunities for Canadians with disabilities.
Projects funded under the Community Accessibility Stream must aim to remove barriers and increase accessibility for people with disabilities in Canadian communities, thus allowing access to community programs and services.
Eligible activities for both funding streams under the 2017 call for proposals include renovation, retrofit or construction activities specifically designed to eliminate barriers and increase safety for people with disabilities. This also includes the provision of information and communication technologies that eliminate systemic accessibility barriers.
The EAF offers up to $50,000 in project funding. Project costs are shared between the recipient or other project contributors and government. Contributions equal to or greater than 35 percent of the total eligible costs of the project must be provided by sources other than the federal government (which can include the applicant’s own organization). Both funding streams for this call for proposals close on July 26, 2017.
For more information about how to submit proposals, please visit: Canada.ca/accessibility-fund