For Immediate Release
April 8, 2022
OTTAWA, ON – Federal Budget 2022 commits a $20 million investment to the Ready, Willing, and Able program (RWA). RWA is a national employment program jointly sponsored by Inclusion Canada and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA) for persons with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum. This 3-year investment by the Government of Canada will enable RWA to expand its work with employers and community agencies to generate employment opportunities for people with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum.
Jonathan Lai, Executive Director, CASDA, said, “We are thrilled that Budget 2022 has allocated funding for RWA. Over the last 2 years, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the lives of Autistic Canadians. Now is the time to invest in inclusive employment as we recover and build back. This funding will contribute to the economic inclusion of our community.”
People with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum only have a 20% employment rate in Canada. Ready Willing and Able is an international award-winning employment program that is turning that statistic around by working with employers to identify their labour market needs and matching those needs with qualified candidates with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum who are looking for work. Since its inception, RWA has delivered well over three thousand jobs without the use of wage subsidies in competitively paid employment. Real work for real pay.
Ready, Willing, and Able works with employers in a cross-industry cross-sector approach. It’s transforming companies and cultures that benefit everyone. RWA operates currently in twenty primary communities with outreach to one hundred and fifty communities. Today’s budget investment will allow us to undertake a much-needed expansion.
Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of Inclusion Canada, said, “Together with the Federal Government, we are working to build a more inclusive workforce. Even with the pandemic, the rate of employment through RWA has increased. 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 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 while providing 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. We look forward to continued conversations with the government to expand and grow RWA.
Please visit http://readywillingable.ca/ to learn more about the Ready, Willing, and Able initiative and keep up-to-date as the next phase is implemented across the country.
About the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance
CASDA is an alliance focused on addressing complex issues that Autistic persons and their families face across their lifespan. Members of CASDA are part of a pan-Canadian endeavour to make a better Canada for Autistic people, their families, and their communities. CASDA coordinates and catalyzes innovation across sectors in policy, research and systems to achieve with others what no single organization can achieve on their own.
About Inclusion Canada
Inclusion Canada is composed of ten provincial and three territorial associations, with over 300 local associations across the country and more than 40,000 members. Inclusion Canada leads the way in helping Canadians build an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone can belong.