Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
Service Canada provides funding contributions towards helping persons with disabilities start their own business, increase their job skills, converge into the workplace through special needs services, and encourage employers to provide them with valuable work experience and skill development opportunities. The $30M program is called the Opportunities Fund (OF) and provides funding under two streams: (1) the individual for start-up support and (2) for employers interested in hiring.
Government Funding for Start-Up Activities
Eligible candidates for this stream must self identify as having a permanent physical or mental disability that limits daily activity. Candidates must be unemployed or work less than 20 hours per week, not currently collecting EI, and legally entitled to work in Canada.
Eligible costs include living expenses, costs of participating in the activity, and training or course costs.
Government Funding for Small Businesses
Companies interested in hiring persons with disabilities under OF must be incorporated in Canada and can either be for-profit, not-for-profit, a public health & educational institution, a municipality, or a governmental department.
Funding is available up to three years towards wage subsidies, funding towards work experience development, and financial support to incorporate new services and technology that help integrate the new hire into the workplace.
Canadian Government Funding Support Services
If you are interested in applying for OF, please visit Service Canada or contact Mentor Works for helpful resources and support throughout the application process. We also offer support for other human resources & training grants, as well as funding for business expansion, conduct research & development, and to invest in capital equipment.
Hi we have recently hired a massage therapist who has a disability due to hearing loss. Are there resources we could access to assist her in the workplace through this program? Thanks, Karina
Thanks for commenting, Katrina. This program is intended to help companies hire a prospective employee, but have not already done so. Fortunately, Service Canada offers other resources that could help with the transition into the workplace. Please call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) for more details.
I have a small web development company and am looking to hire a couple of people one with autism and another with severe ADHD. Are both of these disabilities covered? If so where do I start this process?
Thanks for your message. Hiring people with a disability is a great way to tap into government funding programs. I’ve asked a colleague who understands the program well to follow-up with you directly. She’ll be in touch within 1-2 business days and can answer any question you have!
I know of an employer who has hired a youth with learning disabilities and FASD at his workplace. Is there funding and/or wage subsidy program for an this employer if they have already hired someone and that person is not an adult?
Hi JS – Most wage subsidies require the employer to apply and be approved for funding prior to placing the candidate on payroll. Please contact your local Employment Ontario Centre to see if they are able to offer any support. If the candidate is in an official co-op post-secondary program and this is one of their work terms, they might also be eligible for the Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit.