Government of Canada employment program for people with disabilities benefits T’Sou-ke Nation

SOOKE, BRITISH COLUMBIA, June 1, 2009—The T’Sou-ke Nation will provide a band member with disabilities with work experience to develop valuable employment skills thanks in part to Government of Canada support. The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport) and Member of Parliament for Saanich–Gulf Islands, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.“In today’s environment, it is more important than ever that all Canadians have the skills they need to participate and succeed in the job market,” said Minister of State Lunn. “By supporting projects like this one, our government is helping Canadians with disabilities maximize their potential and independence.”

The T’Sou-ke Nation will receive $7,644 under the Wage Subsidy component of the Opportunities Fund to hire a band member with disabilities to perform general maintenance and learn about the community’s innovative solar hot water program. It is expected that the skills and experience gained will lead to ongoing employment for this participant.

“We are very pleased to receive federal support for our community members to work on our T’Sou-ke Solar Project. This funding will allow us to help an individual with disabilities in our community gain skills and experience that will lead to future employment in the new fast-growing field of clean energy production,” said Chief Gordon Planes of the T’Sou-ke Nation.

The federal government is working with stakeholders to make sure that Canadians get the training, skills and opportunities they need to participate in the workforce and contribute to the quality of life in their communities.

The Opportunities Fund helps support an array of activities, such as increasing employability skills, providing work experience and preparing individuals for self‑employment. The Government of Canada is committed to breaking down barriers that prevent Canadians from reaching their full potential with a wide range of effective policies, programs and services tailored to people with disabilities.

The Fund is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. The Government underscored this commitment in January when it introduced Canada’s Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more and better opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development.

A backgrounder is attached.

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This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

For further information (media only):

Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley

Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada




The T’Sou-ke Nation is committed to preserving traditional values while embracing technology to create a thriving and sustainable community. As part of its five-year plan to end its dependence on fossil fuels, the Nation is installing solar and photovoltaic panels to pre-heat water and provide electricity for public buildings and homes on the reserve. To maximize the benefits to the community and ensure a supply of skilled workers for this fast-growing industry, the T’Sou-ke Nation and its partners are providing installation and maintenance training to band members. Between May 25, 2009, and November 20, 2009, the Nation will provide a 26-week work experience to a person with disabilities. This individual will learn about the solar hot water program and how to maintain its systems. The skills learned should lead to ongoing employment, enabling a successful transition to the labour force.

The Wage Subsidy component of the $30-million Opportunities Fund is designed to help Canadians with disabilities who have little or no work experience, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance benefits. This subsidy encourages employers to hire workers they may not otherwise have hired. The Fund works with community organizations and the private sector to support projects that help Canadians with disabilities develop the skills and work experience they need to participate in the job market. The Opportunities Fund is an important employment element of the Disability Agenda for the Government of Canada.

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