National Educational Association of Disabled Students Launches The Building Employment Pathways For People With Disabilities Project with funding from the Government of Canada

(Ottawa, May 5th 2023)

The National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) is excited to announce that it has been selected as a recipient of contributions funding from Employment & Social Development Canada’s Workplace Opportunities Removing Barriers To Equity program for a three-year project.

On February 27, 2023, the Minister of Labour, Seamus O'Regan announced that the Government of Canada will invest 9.5 million dollars of funding through The Workplace Removing Barriers To Equity Program over the next three years in a select group of projects aimed at removing employment barriers experienced by women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minority groups within Federally regulated, private sector workplaces. The contribution agreement provided to the National Educational Association of Disabled Students as the lead organization in the Building Employment Pathways for People With Disabilities project is $967,887.

NEADS’ project, entitled Building Employment Pathways For Persons With Disabilities, will focus on identifying barriers, needs and best practices for accessible employment within the postal and courier service sector with a focus on Canada Post as a federally regulated employer under the Accessible Canada Act. The project also strives to increase the percentage of persons with disabilities employed in managerial, administrative, clerical, services, sales and manual labour roles within Canada Post.

The Building Employment Pathways for Persons With Disabilities project will build upon a strong existing relationship that NEADS has with Canada Post. Since 2021, NEADS and Canada Post have partnered to offer the annual $10,000 Canada Post Award For Students With Disabilities, the largest tuition scholarship offered to date under the NEADS National Student Awards Program.

The project will be carried out in partnership with several other non-governmental organizations with disability expertise and two post-secondary institutions. Project partners include Sustainable Livelihoods Canada, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities, the Quebec Association for Equity and Inclusion in Post-Secondary Education, Nipissing University and Ontario Tech University. Dr. Charles Anyinam, Assistant Professor at Nipissing University will lead the research aspects of the project to understand the landscape of employment accessibility in Canada's postal and courier services and work with NEADS and associated partners to develop and evaluate a best practices toolkit and employment pathway tailored for Canada Post Corporation, one of Canada's largest employers.

This project will offer students and graduates with disabilities who self-identify as interested in employment options with Canada Post the opportunity to receive personalized employment readiness supports that will build the necessary foundation for a successful transition to work. These employment supports will be delivered by coaches, trained by Sustainable Livelihoods Canada. Sustainable Livelihoods Canada is a national, not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to promoting awareness and use of a holistic strength-based framework for building livelihood strategies and moving people out of poverty.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities and Quebec Association for Equity and Inclusion in Post-Secondary Education will provide disability expertise to numerous areas of the project. These organizations will be integral in providing recommendations to Canada Post's current policies and procedures, increasing awareness within the disability community of accessibility and inclusion initiatives of Canada Post, connecting Canada Post with qualified applicants with disabilities, offering insights into regional differences in barriers to employment for persons with disabilities as well as contributing to the creation of a best practices toolkit that could be implemented in other Federally regulated, private sector workplaces.

"On behalf of the Board of Directors of the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) I want to express how thrilled we are that this important employment project has been supported by the Government of Canada," said Adam David, Chair/Alberta Director of NEADS. "We are a cross-disability organization of post-secondary students and graduates with disabilities. We support full access to higher education and employment for persons with disabilities. This initiative will make a significant difference for disabled students and graduates across Canada in accessing careers that recognize their skills, credentials and passions. The project continues an existing partnership with Canada Post and with leading disability organizations in our community."

Nipissing University and Ontario Tech University will contribute expertise in research and evaluation. They will conduct research on effective practices and strategies for employing and retaining persons with disabilities as well as lead program evaluation and knowledge translation aspects of the project.

For further information:

National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, (613) 380-8065, ext. 201

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