April 25, 2019 Regina, Saskatchewan Employment and Social Development Canada
Ensuring Canadians of all abilities have safer, easier access to our public spaces and workplaces.
Today, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, announced financial support of more than $11 million over two years through the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) mid-sized projects component to 14 organizations across Canada. The announcement took place at the University of Regina, with the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Member of Parliament for the Regina-Wascana constituency, in attendance.
The University of Regina is one of the organizations to receive support this year through the EAF mid-sized project component. With $1 million in support over the next two years, the University plans to renovate and improve the accessibility of its Darke Hall building in all areas, including the stage, washrooms, theatre, balcony, lobby, and back of house.
The EAF is a federal grants and contributions program that supports community-based projects across Canada aimed at improving accessibility and safety in public spaces and workplaces. Under the 2018 funding process, the EAF mid-sized projects component provided grant funding of up to $1 million per project to support construction, renovation or retrofit of facilities or venues that offer programs and services geared towards addressing the social and/or labour market integration needs of persons with disabilities.
While in Saskatchewan, Minister Qualtrough also participated in the third meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for persons with disabilities, that took place on Wednesday, April 24 in Saskatoon. At the meeting, the Minister discussed opportunities for collaboration on disability supports with her provincial and territorial counterparts, shared highlights of Government of Canada’s initiatives on accessibility, and provided a status update on Bill C-81, the proposed Accessible Canada Act.
Bill C-81, currently making its way through the Senate, is another concrete step the Government of Canada is taking to break down barriers to accessibility. This proposed piece of legislation is meant to promote broad organizational and cultural change, while proactively identifying, removing and preventing barriers toward the realization of a truly accessible Canada.
“Through programs like the Enabling Accessibility Fund and partnerships with organizations like the University of Regina, our government is ensuring persons with disabilities in Canada have opportunities to participate in society on an equal basis. Canada is at its best when everyone is included, and all of society benefits from this inclusion. Together, we are building a more inclusive and accessible Canada.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility
“There’s no question that everyone-visitors and students at the University of Regina-will benefit from this great project. Thanks to federal support and the hard work of people in communities like ours, more and more workplaces and public spaces across Canada are becoming accessible and inclusive for all. I’m so pleased that Darke Hall will soon be one of them.”
– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
The University of Regina is committed to ensuring that our learning community is as inclusive and accessible as possible. That commitment extends to everyone from the campus community and beyond who will be enjoying cultural events in the years to come at the refurbished and renovated Darke Hall. We appreciate the federal government’s support in making this beautiful and historic venue fully accessible.”
– Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Regina
Today’s announcement falls under the mid-sized projects component of the Enabling Accessibility Fund.
Budget 2017 provided $77 million over ten years, starting in 2018-19, to expand the activities of the EAF, allowing the program to support even more small and mid-sized projects and to launch a new youth-driven innovation component, so that Canadians of all abilities have better access to their community spaces and workplaces.
The EAF received additional funding as part of the Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. Through this plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
The Government of Canada will provide financial support for the following 14 accessibility projects across the country, through the EAF mid-sized project component:
- For renovation / retrofit: Arnaitok Complex; Atwater Library and Computer Center; Blackburn Arena; Donald Yaldei Developmental Centre; Friendship Circle Quebec; Meaford Public Library; Nova Scotia Community College,Truro Campus;Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence Society; University of Regina, Darke Hall; and Sonshine Community Ministries.
- For construction: Albion Community Centre; Camp Canak accommodations and activities building; Lionel E. Lalonde Therapeutic Pool; and P.E.I. Indigenous Urban Services Centre.