Making digital technologies more accessible to Canadians with disabilities

technology

$5.8 million investment to help Canadians with disabilities fully participate in the digital economy

OTTAWA, ON, Nov. 7, 2022 /CNW/ – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

All Canadians deserve the opportunity to find good jobs, contribute to their community and build a better life for themselves and their family. Yet even today, many Canadians with disabilities still face barriers to fully participating in the digital economy. That’s why the Government of Canada continues to push the envelope to find new and innovative ways of helping remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched the second phase of the Accessible Technology Program (ATP) and highlighted a $5.8 million federal investment in the program. The ATP is seeking applications for projects to develop new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies to make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to participate fully in the digital economy.

Given the unique needs of Canadians with disabilities, the current level of support for the development of accessible technologies is insufficient. While mainstream technologies typically decrease in price and become more readily available, the opposite is true for assistive and adaptive devices, since they must be customized to the unique needs of their users.

The ATP will help overcome these barriers, reduce the costs associated with developing assistive and adaptive technologies, and address the employment challenges persons with disabilities face. This will help ensure that they can be more independent and get the well-paying middle-class jobs they want. This program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.

All Canadian organizations that are developing new assistive and adaptive digital devices and technologies are invited to verify their eligibility for the program and submit an application on the ATP website.

The deadline to submit an application is December 9, 2022, at 11:59:59 pm (ET). If you have any questions about the program, please visit the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Contact Centre web page.

Quotes

“Being connected is important to maintain professional, social, economic and cultural networks within the digital economy. However, many Canadians are still facing barriers preventing their full participation in the economy. This is why our government is investing in the Accessible Technology Program to help empower Canadians with disabilities. By working with great organizations across the country, we are increasing accessibility and helping Canadians with disabilities access high-quality assistive and essential equipment to ultimately increase their quality of life.” 
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Persons with disabilities are an untapped pool of talent who have so much to offer to our workforce and will help grow Canada’s economy. Canadians with disabilities deserve the tools, skills and support they need to enrich and thrive in their workplaces. This new call for proposals under our Accessible Technology Program will create valuable partnerships in Canada’s digital sector to ensure that persons with disabilities have the same opportunities to enter the workforce and help drive our economy.” 
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Quick facts

  • The Accessible Technology Program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.
  • The Accessible Canada Act was tabled in Parliament on June 20, 2018. It received royal assent on June 21, 2019, and came into force on July 11, 2019.
  • In its first phase, the ATP provided a total of $18.9 M in funding. Through its initial investment, the program supported 28 projects with 24 recipients, resulting in the development of over 28 technologies. More than 10 of these new technologies are now commercially available to Canadians.
  • Funding applicants must be a Canadian legal entity, including for-profit organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and research institutes.
  • Applications are being accepted until December 9, 2022, at 11:59:59 pm (ET) and can be submitted on the ATP website.

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SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

For further information: Laurie Bouchard, Senior Manager, Communications, Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, laurie.bouchard@ised-isde.gc.ca; Media Relations: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, media@ised-isde.gc.ca