M-430 – Strengthening Employment for Canadians with Disabilities - Backgrounder

The Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities:

The Government of Canada recognizes that economic growth and prosperity requires greater participation of Canadians with disabilities in the job market. To this end, Economic Action Plan 2012 announced the creation of a Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

The Panel’s mandate was to engage private-sector businesses and other organizations and individuals to identify best practices and successful approaches, as well as the barriers employers face, in increasing the labour market participation of persons with disabilities. The Panel was then to prepare a report based on these elements for the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

The Panel’s report was publicly released on January 16, 2013. It highlights actions employers can take to accommodate people with disabilities in their workplaces, as well as the benefits to both individuals and businesses. As well, the report recognizes the need for business leadership and effective community partnerships.

Members of the Panel include:

Mr. Kenneth J. Fredeen, Chair - Mr. Fredeen is General Counsel, Secretary to the Board, and member of the Leadership Team of Deloitte & Touche LLP. Mr. Fredeen is responsible for Deloitte’s corporate responsibility mandate and chairs the Firm’s Inclusion and Diversity Council. He and his legal department were recently acknowledged for their work with the Canadian General Counsel Award for social responsibility. Mr. Fredeen was one of the founding members of Legal Leaders for Diversity, a group of 60 Canadian General Counsel that is working towards a more inclusive legal profession.

Dr. Gary Birch - Dr. Birch is the Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society, an organization that develops programs, services and assistive technology for people with physical disabilities. Dr. Birch, who has a mobility disability, is a leading specialist on employment and adaptive technology for people with disabilities.

Ms. Kathy Martin - Ms. Martin is Senior Vice-President Human Resources with Loblaw Companies. She is responsible for all national human resources strategies and programs including recruitment, graduate program, talent management, succession planning, training, leadership and executive management and inclusion and change management at Loblaw Companies.

Mr. Mark Wafer - Mr. Mark Wafer is the owner of six Tim Hortons locations in Toronto. Mr. Wafer and his wife, Valarie, have employed 82 people who have a disability over the past 17 years, and currently have 33 employees with disabilities in all areas of their business, from entry-level positions to logistics, production and management.

Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities (LMAPDs):

Through the LMAPDs, the Government of Canada transfers over $218 million to provinces to support programs and services designed to improve the employment situation for persons with disabilities.

In 2011, the Government renewed the LMAPDs with the provinces for 2 years ensuring continued support for the integration of persons with disabilities into the labour market. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of these agreements and is working towards a timely decision with respect to renewal.

The objectives of LMAPDs are to enhance the employability of persons with disabilities, increase their available employment opportunities and build on the existing knowledge base (such as the sharing of best practices).

Through the LMAPDs, the Government of Canada transfers funds annually to the provinces for programs and services designed to improve the employment situation for persons with disabilities. The Multilateral Framework for LMAPDs is the basis for the bilateral agreements.

The Government of Canada contributes up to 50 percent of the costs incurred by provinces for funded programs and services, up to a maximum identified in each bilateral agreement. Provincial governments are responsible for the design and delivery of programs and services that address the needs of Canadians with disabilities in their jurisdictions. The three territories have not entered into agreements due to the impact on Territorial Formula Financing (TFF). Approximately 300,000 interventions are provided annually for persons with disabilities through over 100 programs which are designed and delivered by provinces.

The Youth Employment Strategy (YES):

The Youth Employment Strategy provides over $300 million annually to support young Canadians, including those with disabilities.

The objective of the YES is to assist youth in enhancing their employability skills while increasing the number of skilled young Canadians in the workforce. In 2011-12, this investment helped to provide nearly 60,000 Canadian youth with the work experience and skills development needed for employment or return to school.


The Skills Link component is specifically targeted to youth facing barriers to employment, which includes youth with disabilities. This program helps develop basic employability skills and provides valuable work experience to assist youth in making a successful transition into the labour market or return to school.

The Opportunities Fund:

Through the Opportunities Fund, the Government of Canada provides $30 million annually to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain and keep employment or become self-employed.

The overall goal of the OF is to increase the labour force participation of persons with disabilities who have little or no labour force attachment.

In 2011-12, the OF served 5,449 Canadians with disabilities, of which 1,429 found employment and 291 were able to return to school. The OF Summative Evaluation of May 2008 demonstrated that participation in OF activities had positive impacts on skills and employability for persons with disabilities.

Budget 2012 invested an additional $30 million over three years in the OF to enable more Canadians with disabilities obtain work experience with small and medium-sized businesses, and to ensure employers are aware of the invaluable contribution persons with disabilities can make to their business and the Canadian economy.