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Federal funding to promote accessibility

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One of the many things I love about Winnipeg is our openness to celebrate and embrace diversity.


Whether it’s our fantastic variety of ethnic restaurants, our abundance of thriving cultural centres, or the countless groups and organizations that contribute to the rich mosaic of our daily lives, Winnipeggers are known for their generosity and spirit of inclusiveness.


But what about those individuals who find themselves left out of their favourite activities because of a physical disability?


Now more than ever it is essential that we keep moving forward toward greater equality and acceptance. Each and every one of us should enjoy the opportunity to participate and be included, regardless of age or disability. That is why I am thrilled that the Canadian government recently announced the availability of grants for organizations in need of funds for small projects that promote accessibility for people living with disabilities in Canadian communities.


With this new Enabling Accessibility Fund, organizations such as not-for-profit groups, colleges and universities, and small private-sector agencies can now apply to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada for grants of up to $50,000 to put towards:


• renovating, constructing, or retrofitting buildings;


• modifying vehicles for community use;


• alterations and enhancements that promote accessibility to information and communication technologies.


These grants will now make it possible for eligible organizations to make much-needed updates or modifications to their facilities in order to make their services more accessible to individuals living with a disability. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, activities such as:


• making doorways and entranceways more accessible


• improving accessibility of washrooms


• improving lighting


• installing wheelchair lifts on community-based vehicles


• computer enhancements (e.g., installing interactive speech capability)


Proposals will be accepted until Oct. 5. For more information about this fund or to learn how your organization can apply, visit the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website at www.hrsdc.gc.ca/disability.


 No one should be left out of life because of a physical disability. Let’s continue to do everything we can to make sure everyone is included — that’s the true spirit of Winnipeg!
Joyce Bateman is the MP for Winnipeg South Centre.


Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in The Sou’wester area and would like to contribute to this column, contact jim.timlick@canstarnews.com.

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