Living with a disability presents many challenges to a person and, unfortunately, some of the biggest challenges can be financial. In addition to the cost of the specialized equipment and services many individuals with disabilities require, many people with disabilities find their employment opportunities limited. The government of Canada has a number of grant programs designed to help ease the financial hardship of Canadians living with disabilities and their families.
Canada Disability Savings Grant
The Canadian government will match your contribution to a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) up to an annual maximum of $3,500. If your annual family income is less than $78,130, the government will contribute $3 for every $1 of the first $500 you put into an RDSP and $2 for every $1 of the next $1,000 you contribute. If your family income is more than $78,130, the government will match your contributions dollar for dollar up to $1,000 a year. You can set up an RDSP with your regular bank or financial institution.
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities
The Opportunities Fund is designed to help individuals with disabilities get and keep employment and to motivate employers to hire employees with disabilities. Grants are available to help individuals with disabilities to start their own businesses, upgrade their skills through education and training, or acquire the specialized equipment they need to perform jobs. Organizations and employers can receive funding for wage subsidies, the delivery of employment assistance services, and for providing work experience to disabled employees.
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities 140 Promenade du Portage Phase IV, 4th Floor Gatineau, QC K1A 0J9 800-622-6232 servicecanada.gc.ca
The government of Canada has several programs to assist those with disabilities to pursue higher education. Students with permanent disabilities who are registered at a post-secondary institution in a program lasting at least 32 weeks may qualify for $2,000 per year to cover education expenses. They may also qualify for up to $8,000 per year to cover extra expenses related to a disability, such as specialized equipment or services. Individuals with disabilities who have completed their education and are having difficulty repaying their Canada student loans may also qualify for forgiveness of all or part of those loans under the Permanent Disability Benefit.
National Student Loans Service Center P.O. Box 4030 Mississauga, ON L5A 4M4 888-815-4514 canlearn.ca
Richard Long is an English teacher in Toronto, Canada and has been writing for over five years. He has had work published in "Geist" and "Speak2Me" magazines and is currently completing a certificate in technical communication from George Brown College.