May 28, 2019

OTTAWA, ON – The Government of Canada has committed $12 million to fund Phase II of the Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) employment program. This 3-year investment will allow RWA to continue its work in connecting employers with individuals with an intellectual disability and autism seeking gainful employment in their communities. 

The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) and Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) applaud the support of the Federal government, which signals their commitment to an inclusive and accessible Canada.

In response to the budget news, Cynthia Carroll, Spokesperson of CASDA, said “This signals the government’s commitment to an inclusive and accessible Canada. This investment allows RWA to continue working toward the vision of an inclusive and effective labour market with an employment rate for people with intellectual disabilities and ASD on par with the national average.”

RWA is one of the most successful national employment initiatives of its kind in Canadian history. Since its inception in 2015, RWA has reached out to over 8000 employers, and actively engaged with over 4000 of those employers to facilitate 2300 jobs for persons with an intellectual disability or autism in 20 communities across the country. This investment will help even more job seekers with an intellectual disability or autism find meaningful work and break down the policy and systems barriers that keep this group out of the labour market.

Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of CACL, stated “We are so grateful for this investment from the Federal government, which will allow us to continue to demonstrate that with targeted support, community involvement and employer leadership, job seekers with an intellectual disability or autism can gain and retain  employment within the labour market.  Employment for persons with a disability is a key pillar of an inclusive and accessible Canada.”

There are approximately 500,000 working age adults with an intellectual disability or autism in Canada. The employment rate for this group currently sits at about 20% making this group one of the most marginalized when it comes to the labour market.  This investment will help to change that.  Government financing of RWA will ensure that this untapped labour force is utilized across the country. We look forward to continuing collaborating with the Federal government to grow and expand RWA to its greatest potential.

Please visit http://readywillingable.ca/ to learn more about the Ready, Willing and Able initiative and stay up-to-date as Phase II is rolled out across the country.

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Media Contact: Marc Muschler, Senior Communications Officer, CACL, mmuschler@cacl.ca