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Human Resources, Labour and Employment
January 13, 2010

Government Investment Encourages Low-Income
Individuals with Disabilities to Avail of Savings Plan

The Provincial Government continued its efforts to reduce barriers to financial independence for persons with disabilities today with the announcement of new funding for the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living (NLACL). The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities, announced $300,000 that the NLACL will use to give eligible individuals a one-time $150 contribution as an incentive to start a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). The funding also includes approximately $45,000 to assist the association in promoting this federal savings plan throughout the province.

"The Provincial Government is pleased to encourage individuals to start a Registered Disability Savings Plan, which is an excellent savings tool that helps persons with disabilities pursue long-term financial stability," said Minister Sullivan. "The Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living is a well-respected organization with a presence in all regions of the province. I am confident that with this investment, the association will be able to encourage those individuals who have not yet availed of this savings plan to do so."

To be eligible, individuals must qualify for the Disabilities Tax Credit, be in receipt of Income Support and be under 59 years of age. The Registered Disability Savings Plan is a relatively new savings tool that was made available through certain Canadian financial institutions in 2008. Individuals who invest in an RDSP can grow their personal savings quickly by availing of money offered through the Canada Disability Savings Bond and the Canada Disability Savings Grant.

Today's announcement complements previous efforts by the Williams Government to encourage use of the RDSP, including the decision to exempt RDSP contributions and withdrawals from Income Support benefit calculations. This action was taken to ensure that RDSPs would be accessible to all persons with disabilities, irrespective of their economic circumstances.

Additionally, Minister Sullivan today announced $60,000 in renewed annual funding for the NLACL's Students Exploring Through Mentoring initiative, bringing the Provincial Government's total financial support for the program to $177,000 over the last two years. This program helps students with intellectual disabilities successfully transition from high school into meaningful opportunities in employment, education, and volunteerism by providing students with ongoing support that is tailored to meet their specific needs. This support is provided by a collaboration of partners, including family representatives, educators, and mentors who have experienced intellectual disabilities in their own life, and can coach youth by letting them draw on their experiences.

"These developments further demonstrate the Provincial Government's commitment to addressing issues experienced by people with disabilities and their families," said Debbie Howell, President of the NLACL. "I look forward to maintaining this high level of collaboration with the Provincial Government as we work toward expanding programs and finding new ways to build inclusion."

"As Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities, I think this is a great way to start 2010," said Minister Sullivan. "Today's announcements are indicative of the integrated approach the Williams Government is using to achieve inclusion, reduce poverty, and enhance employment opportunities for the people of this province."

Individuals who are interested in learning more about the Registered Disability Savings Plan should contact the NLACL's toll-free RDSP Hotline, 1-888-955-RDSP (7377).

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Media contacts:

Jennifer Collingwood
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and
709-729-0753, 690-2498
Debbie Howell
Newfoundland and Labrador Association for
Community Living

2010 01 13                                                      12:30 p.m.

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