Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities

The Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities (OFPD) is a program designed to help persons with disabilities to prepare for and obtain employment or self-employment in Canada. The program supports local, regional and national projects. The eligibility for local and regional projects differ by region and year contingent on the community needs but applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. More details can be obtained from Service Canada. National-level projects are decided through Call for Proposals.

Eligibility for program participation. Program participation is limited to people who identify themselves as having a physical or mental disability that restricts their daily activities. Participants must be legally allowed to work in Canada and be unemployed or employed for less than 20 hours per week.

Eligibility for service providers. Businesses, for profit and not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, band councils and persons with disabilities are eligible to seek funding under this program. These recipients are expected to transfer the funds to eligible program participants. The maximum duration of an agreement with a service provider is 3 years but the agreement is reviewed every year and negotiation is based on the performance exhibited at the end of each year.

Eligible parties can browse the FAQ page or call 1-800-622-6232 (TTY: 1-800-926-9105) for more information.

Youth Programs

The Skills Link program aims to assist young single parents, young people with disabilities, Aboriginal youth, recent immigrants and others considered to be disadvantaged in seeking employment to widen their scope by learning the required skills needed to enter the labor market. Youth must be between 15 and 30 years of age, legally entitled to work and not receiving EI benefits. The program provides funding to businesses, municipal governments, band councils and other organizations through agreements for up to 3 years to help them administer the required services.

WORKink™ serves as an employment and recruitment service resource center for people with disabilities. The website offers job search tools, career guidance and other resources for potential employees and employers. The website also has customized pages pertaining to every province.

Ability Edge offers internships to recent graduates with a college diploma or university bachelor’s degree. These special internships are designed for people with disabilities and available to qualified graduates who have minimal or no work experience to help them make their entry into the job market. Eligible potential employees who are legally entitled to work in Canada can fill out this application form to begin the process. The interns are offered a monthly stipend of ~$2000 (less tax deductions) to complement the valuable work experience, mentoring and networking opportunities.

The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program is available to eligible people interested in starting or expanding a small or medium-sized business while residing in Western Canada. Program participants get access to resources through the Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program. The same program is delivered through Community Futures offices in rural communities. The program offers business training and development, mentoring and counseling services.

A more comprehensive overview about education, job and financial programs for youth with disabilities can be found here.

Do you know of other programs that are available to persons with disabilities? Do you have any suggestions for people looking to use one of these programs?

About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.

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