April 14, 2021
New Investments Will Support Barrier-Free Services, Improve Service Delivery and Protection for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: Squires
The province is supporting accessibility and greater protection for Manitobans living with disabilities through a new $20-million endowment fund that will provide grants to municipalities, businesses and organizations to help eliminate barriers to their services, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced today.
“Our government is committed to ensuring services throughout the province are accessible and inclusive,” said Squires. “This investment will enable businesses, municipalities and organizations to make changes needed to ensure the services, goods and supports they provide are easily available to all Manitobans.”
The Winnipeg Foundation will manage the new Manitoba Accessibility Fund. The minister noted that grants through the fund will support projects such as developing training tools and awareness campaigns for the removal of barriers.
“The Association of Manitoba Municipalities commends the Manitoba government for providing funding to support accessibility in municipalities,” said Kam Blight, president, Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM). “As the AMM supports greater accessibility for all Manitobans, this new endowment fund should significantly benefit local communities and their residents.”
The fund will promote increased compliance with the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, which became law in 2013. The legislation calls for the development of standards to ensure accessibility in important areas of everyday life, such as customer service, employment and transportation. Customer service provisions of the act are now in effect with standards for government and public-sector organizations, businesses, non-profit groups and municipalities.
Applications for Manitoba Accessibility Fund grants are expected to open in the spring of 2022, Squires said.
The minister noted the province is also now providing more than $1.1 million to Abilities Manitoba to support two initiatives that will enable service innovation and improve service quality for adults with intellectual disabilities who are supported by the Community Living disABILITY Services (CLDS) program.
The Innovation and Transformation Fund will provide stakeholders working with CLDS participants an opportunity to present innovative ideas aimed at building capacity within the sector and improving services and outcomes for supported individuals. The fund will support proposals that benefit the sector as a whole including by expanding the use of technology to support meaningful connections within the community, developing employment opportunities for those who want to work during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and supporting service providers to deliver services that promote health, safety and independence for individuals.
The Quality Framework Project will introduce service standards and pilot a tool to gather quality-of-life data from individuals eligible for CLDS. The Personal Outcome Measures Tool looks at indicators such as health and employment to assess whether services are contributing to a good quality of life as defined by the individual. The tool will be used to strengthen policies and improve service delivery, the minister added, noting the project was launched last year before it was paused due to the pandemic.
Abilities Manitoba will administer and oversee both initiatives.
“The Quality Framework Project will ensure positive and meaningful outcomes for Manitobans with developmental disabilities, and we are very pleased the province continues to invest in this important work that will help shape the future of services,” said Margo Powell, executive director, Abilities Manitoba. “There are many innovative and creative ideas that help improve the lives of people with disabilities. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to advance projects that will be meaningful for people throughout Manitoba.”
Accessibility is a long-term goal with short-term priorities across the Manitoba government. For more information on accessibility in Manitoba, visit http://www.accessibilitymb.ca.