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Provincial funding supports return to work for people with disabilities

B.C. Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons.

British Columbia is investing $10-million to expand contracted employment services in order to support people with developmental disabilities who are eligible for Community Living BC (CLBC) services to return to the workforce and increase their digital literacy.

“Many people with developmental disabilities are precariously employed,” stated Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Nicholas Simons in a media release. “This funding will support those laid off due to the pandemic to get back to work, while assisting other people to enter the labour force.”

$9.7 million will be used to supplement CLBC-funded employment support services and assist about 1,100 people with disabilities who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 100 agencies that deliver specialized employment services to the people CLBC serves will be able to apply for funding.

This new funding can be used to hire additional employment support staff to help people find or reconnect to employment, support with job searching, assist individuals to understand and adhere to COVID-19 workplace requirements and help people reconnect with former employers to find out if an individual can be rehired.

The remaining $300,000 will go toward improving digital literacy throughout the province for all individuals CLBC serves, so they can enhance their employment prospects, work more from home and benefit from more social connections.

Inclusion BC will administer the grant funds for employment services over two years on behalf of CLBC.

“Inclusion BC is committed to helping people with intellectual disabilities and their families get through this pandemic,” stated Inclusion BC executive director Karla Verschoor. “The community-living sector has shown tremendous strength in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this additional funding will help meet the increasing demand for their employment services.”

Eligible employment service providers are invited to apply for funding based on the number of people they are working with who require assistance to reconnect to employment, according to the release. 

Applications open at 7 am on Monday, January 25, and will be accepted until midnight February 15.

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