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Advanced Education and Skills
Transportation and Works
April 19, 2012

Access. Inclusion. Equality. Supported with $6.5 Million in Budget 2012

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador today released Access. Inclusion. Equality., a strategy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. A first for Newfoundland and Labrador, the strategy is a framework to support action towards inclusion, making everyday activities accessible and inclusive. To complement this provincial strategy, Budget 2012 will allocate $6.5 million towards initiatives to advance inclusion.

Leading by example, across the province and across the country, the strategy is taking a long-term cross-disability approach designed to bring about substantive change within policies, services, programs and attitudes.

“Reflecting ideas and solutions from persons with disabilities and their families, this strategy provides a clear blueprint for preventing and removing barriers, and changing how society views disability,” said the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities. “Budget 2012 investments are helping to remove barriers, moving us closer to our goal of an inclusive society where everyone has a role to play to ensure equal opportunities and choices.”

The strategy was developed through extensive collaboration and consultation – over 600 individuals and organizations provided input, including the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. Consultations were held in 18 communities throughout the province and were supplemented by focus groups, one-on-one interviews and written submissions.

“The launch of this strategy is the result of hard work and collaboration, signifying the importance of full inclusion and equal access for all,” said Joanne MacDonald, Chairperson of the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. “With a continued commitment, barriers can be removed and we can become a fully inclusive Newfoundland and Labrador.”

To advance inclusion, Budget 2012 will allocate $3 million to establish and implement in the coming year the following initiatives to complement the strategy:

Guidelines for the vehicle retrofit program and grants to community organizations will be developed in consultation with the Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities.

“I am pleased that one of the Provincial Government’s first investments to support the strategy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities will be used to enhance accessibility in some provincial public buildings in the province,” said the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Transportation and Works. “We now have a solid starting point for building far greater inclusion and accessibility in our province, and I look forward to seeing the positive and enduring change this strategy will create.”

The strategy will provide guidance to departments and agencies across the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Budget 2012 also provides $3.2 million in funding to the Office of Employment Equity for Persons with Disabilities to continue programs and services to increase the number of persons with disabilities employed in the public service.

The Provincial Strategy for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities is driven by five strategic directions:

The Provincial Government has recently introduced other initiatives to advance inclusion and support the strategy:

“With the launch of this strategy a framework is now in place that will guide us in the long term towards enhancing inclusion in our province,” said Minister Burke. “Working together, we will lead the way forward, with each step to inclusion building on the last, to a society free of barriers where individuals can actively participate in all aspects of life in our province.”

Access. Inclusion. Equality., a provincial strategy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities is available, including alternate formats, at www.gov.nl.ca/DisabilityPolicy/ or upon request at 1-888-729-6279, TTY 1-888-729-5440.

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Media contacts:

John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Advanced Education and Skills
709-729-0753, 728-7762
Jason Card
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 699-0470

2012 04 19                             11:25 a.m.

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