A Continued Commitment to an Inclusive and Diverse Workforce
We are pleased to announce that as of November 1, 2022, the Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) program has secured funding necessary to ensure its continued delivery until at least October 2027. RWA is a national employment program, jointly sponsored by Inclusion Canada and Autism Alliance of Canada, designed to increase the labour force participation of job seekers with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum.
This continuation was made possible through a $20 million investment by the Government of Canada in the Ready, Willing, and Able program as announced in Budget 2022. This was further amended to an extended 5-year, $30-million-dollar investment, which will now allow project delivery to 2027.
This investment has enabled RWA to continue and expand its work with employers and community agencies to generate employment opportunities for job seekers with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum.
We are thrilled that Budget 2022 has allocated funding for the continuation of RWA. As we move past the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time, more than ever, to invest in inclusive employment as a key element in our economic recovery. With support from RWA and its community partners, employers across the country will have greater access to a diverse and talented labour pool. We know that inclusive and diverse hiring will contribute significantly to creating a strong and inclusive economy.
People with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum only have a 20% employment rate in Canada. RWA is an international award-winning employment program that is trying to change that unacceptable statistic. RWA accomplishes this by working with employers to identify their hiring needs and aligning those needs with qualified job seekers with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum. Since its inception, RWA has facilitated more than 4000 hires without the use of wage subsidies in competitively paid employment. As we move through this continuation of RWA, an additional 2000 hires are anticipated.
RWA works with employers in a cross-industry cross-sector approach. It’s transforming companies and corporate cultures in ways that benefit everyone. The current federal investment will allow RWA to expand its presence to 30 primary communities (an increase from its current 20), with associated outreach to more than 200 communities across the country.
Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of Inclusion Canada, said, “Together with the Federal Government, we are working to build a more inclusive workforce. The work of changing corporate culture and building capacity for inclusion is paying off, and we’re so excited to be given the opportunity to facilitate more employment opportunities for people with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum across Canada. RWA has literally changed the lives of thousands of Canadians”
RWA has empowered thousands of job seekers with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum who previously were unable to enter or remain in the competitive labour force. It has provided employers with a source of talent that was previously overlooked. Recognizing the government’s strong commitment to supporting persons with disabilities, the funding announced in Budget 2022 for RWA will ensure this critical initiative continues to contribute to an inclusive and accessible Canada.
Learn more about the Ready, Willing, and Able initiative and stay updated as the next phase is implemented across the country.