Federal Government continues to break down barriers through investments in accessibility and seniors

Bob Nault Weekly Column

Bob Nault MP

Week of March 18

KENORA – Every year, investments made in the Kenora riding through the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) and the New Horizons for Seniors Fund (NHFS) work together to break down barriers which prevent persons with disabilities from fully participating in all aspects of Canadian society and help foster social inclusion and the engagement of seniors.

This year alone, the EAF invested capital into three organizations in the Kenora riding, including the Lake of the Woods District Hospital, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, and the Kiizhik Education Corporation, for a total of over $119,000.

Locally, since 2015, we have had more than $530,000 in investments for 14 EAF projects. Red Lake, Dryden, Vermilion Bay, Pickle Lake, Kenora, Wabauskang First Nation and Naotkamegwanning (Whitefish Bay) First Nation are some of the communities that received grants for projects to improve accessibility.

These types of investments help to increase accessibility and safety for persons with disabilities in communities and workplaces in the North and throughout Canada. The result is that they create more opportunities for people with disabilities so that they can more easily participate in community activities. It also enables them to have greater access to programs and employment opportunities.

The EAF funding for small projects helps eligible organizations with up to $100,000 per project, under the Community Accessibility and Workplace Accessibility fund. This fund is designed to help eligible organizations across Canada to improve accessibility and safety for persons with disabilities in the workplace.

The Community Accessibility program provides funding for projects to help improve accessibility and safety through renovations, retrofits or construction of community facilities and venues so that programs and services can be more easily accessed by persons with disabilities. This includes providing modern information and communication technologies to eliminate accessibility barriers.

In addition, the New Horizons for Seniors Fund (NHFS) invested in nine organizations this year, including Ahze-mino-gahbewewin/Reconciliation Kenora, Eagle Lake First Nation, Ignace Silver Tops Seniors Centre, Bearskin Lake First Nation, Sunrise Echoes Seniors Club, Dryden Go Getters, as well as programs in Kenora, Ear Falls, and Pickle Lake, for a total of over $150,000.

All these projects are lead or inspired by seniors and help to improve their quality of life. To qualify for funding, projects must support volunteerism or engagement among seniors, expand awareness of elder abuse, or provide capital assistance for new or existing community projects for seniors.

Seniors and persons with disabilities play an important role in the lives of Northerners and Canadians. These projects are a worthwhile investment as they help ensure safety and inclusion in community activities and accessibility to programs. The North is stronger when we all have an equal opportunity to participate, and these types of investments help us build better and more vibrant communities here in the North.