New Brunswick has released two action plans containing recommendations designed to increase the participation, inclusion and employment of persons with disabilities.
"We need to engage all New Brunswickers to strengthen our economy and rebuild our province together,” said Premier David Alward. “I am confident these plans will help us to develop a system of disability supports that enable people with disabilities to actively contribute, and to live their lives with dignity and respect."
The Employment Action Plan for Persons with a Disability in New Brunswick was developed by an independent steering committee and contains 38 recommendations to change and build policies within government, enhance services, build a culture of true collaboration, engage employers and fundamentally shift how government, organizations and the private sector address disability and employment.
It’s an ambitious five-year plan, said committee co-chair Danny Soucy.
"It will require a shift in the way government has designed policies and delivered programs and services. It will also require a shift in the way of thinking to ensure the first objective of policies and programs will be to support persons with a disability to work to their fullest potential."
Some of the recommendations include:
•The government of New Brunswick appoint a key point of responsibility within government for overseeing the development, implementation and co-ordination of all employment-oriented policies for persons with a disability.
•The provincial government, in consultation with other government, private sector and community partners, develop, adopt and implement a provincial policy on transition from high school for youth with a disability, with a particular focus on assisting youth make a successful transition from school to employment or post-secondary education or training.
•Review and make necessary changes to experiential workplace programs.
•Develop and provide high school students with a disability, who have completed grade 11, with structured summer intern work opportunities.
•The government of New Brunswick, in partnership with private and public sector employers and community stakeholders, design, develop and implement a structured intern program for persons with a disability.
•A Premier’s Forum on Employment for Persons with a Disability be held, with a particular focus on engaging employers in order to generate interest in hiring people and to promote awareness of and interest in the Employment Action Plan.
The private sector has an important role to play in helping people with disabilities achieve their full and effective participation in society, said Jonathan Davenport of UPS Canada, co-chair of the steering committee.
"These persons are dedicated, motivated, hardworking and respectful, and they can model the core values of any company each and every day."
The second report, Disability Action Plan – The Time for Action is Now, was developed by the premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons and identifies priority areas of concern for people with disabilities. Consultation sessions were held across the province in an effort to capture the more pressing issues and concerns from various regions. The resulting action plan advances 41 recommendations designed to create a more inclusive province.
"We hope that this report will provide government with new feedback and ideas which they can use to include persons with disabilities in their decisions as they move towards the goal of full participation and inclusion of people with disabilities in the province,” said Christyne Allain, executive director of the Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons.
The council will follow up with government departments and stakeholders on these two reports and report to the premier on the annual progress in achieving results.
Both documents can be found at Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons.
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