Federal funds help Toronto agencies improve accessibility

Americas, August 8 2011

Canada: Federal funding to help agencies and community groups to make their facilities more accessible to disabled people saw $400,000 go to nine agencies in the Greater Toronto Area.

Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, came to Toronto Friday morning to celebrate the funding, at one of the agencies – the Toronto Business Development Centre, in the Toronto Star building.

The organization had recently relocated to the building, and found it needed significant work to make it accessible for its clients with disabilities. The group tapped into the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund to renovate its entrance, washrooms and meeting rooms.

It was one of nine who were able to qualify for the small project grants – identified as projects requiring less than $50,000 to fund – in the Greater Toronto Area.

So far, 600 projects have been funded or are nearing completion from the fund, which totals $45 million.

“There have been many more applications for the program but 600 have been approved,” she said. “Right now we have a call for medium-sized proposals that is closed. They’re from right across the country.”

Finley said organizations should still feel able to apply for small proposals. Organizations – be they non-profit or small municipalities – can apply so long as 25 per cent of the project cost comes from non-federal government sources. Eligible organizations include small private-sector organizations with less than 50 employers and under $5 million in gross revenue a year, colleges and universities, territorial governments, and aboriginal governments as well as not-for-profits and municipalities with less than 250,000 residents.

The deadline for applications is September 23, 2011.

In Toronto, the nine organizations that succeeded in applying were the Bob Rumball Foundation for the Deaf, Dixon Hall, Geneva Centre for Autism, Houselink, Humewood House, Ontario Cornerstone Leadership Corporation, Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre, YWCA Toronto and the Toronto Business Development Centre.

“People need to know about this program because too many of our facilities aren’t accessible, and so many people expect that they will be,” she said.

Source: http://www.insidetoronto.com

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