Financial Aid Directory
Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities (EAPD)
Many readers may be familiar with EAPD under its former name, the Vocational Rehabilitation for Disabled Persons (VRDP) Program, which was created in 1962. There have been fundamental changes in government policy and the approach to disability issues since then. So while it was recognized that VRDP had served people with disabilities well, it was also clear that changes were required. In fact, the Federal Taskforce on Disabilities (in 1997) actually had a very explicit recommendation that the federal government should work with the provinces to reform the VRDP program.
The VRDP reform has been undertaken in a larger context as a social policy renewal, which sees the federal and provincial governments working more closely together to look at Canada's social programs and see how they can make them work more efficiently.
At the June 1996, First Minister's meeting, Premiers and the Prime Minister, recognized that some services and benefits to people with disabilities should be one of the priorities in an overall social policy reform process. One of the first concrete actions undertaken was around VRDP reform. There were consultations with the disability community around those reforms and NEADS was a part of the consultation process. The new directions of the EAPD Program are outlined in a document called the Multilateral Framework on Employability Assistance for People with Disabilities. Based on this framework the Federal Government negotiated new bilateral agreements with the provinces/territories during 1997 and 1998.
The new objectives of the program reflect an increased focus on employability. The goal is to help people with disabilities prepare for, find, and keep jobs. To do this, the EAPD program seeks to help people with disabilities overcome the various obstacles they may face when trying to enter the work place.
EADP, like the VRDP before it, is a cost sharing arrangement between the Federal and Provincial/Territorial Governments, where the Federal Government contributes up to 50 percent of the cost of eligible programs and services, to a set maximum for each province. Total federal funding is $190 million annually, and in all cases it is at least matched, dollar for dollar, by the province/territory.
EADP interventions are intended to cover a broad range of programming, including such things as pre-employment support, short-term assistance and on-going active employment support. This could translate into employment counseling and assessment, pre-employment training and skill development and or wage subsidies.
Post-Secondary education support is eligible under the Multilateral Framework as well. Funds may be used to cover things like tuition, books, assistive devices and other items.
The provinces have a great deal of flexibility to design their own programs and services under EAPD. That is why the following section, which outlines provincial/territorial programs, lists EAPD separately for each jurisdiction.
While in most cases the EAPD bilateral agreements, signed between Ottawa and the provinces, do specifically refer to post-secondary education support, in some jurisdictions they are electing to fund post-secondary education through their regular student assistance programming, as will be made clear below.
Finally, it is important to note that the agreements allow for a three-year transition period, which began in most jurisdictions during the fiscal year 98/99. This was agreed upon because some provinces/territories will have to make significant changes to the programming in order to meet the new employability focus of EAPD.
At the beginning of the transition period many provinces/territories continue to deliver basically the same programs and services that they did under the old VRDP program. However, at this point it is still difficult to say for sure what the changes will be across the country. Many governments are still sorting out what their new program directions will be.
It is important to keep this in mind when looking at the following information, since during the transition period much can change. The information contained here was collected during the summer and fall of 1999, and it was correct at the time. However, students should contact provincial authorities to see what the current status of EAPD is before making plans to access it for financial support. For this reason contact details for each jurisdiction are contained in the following pages. It is hoped that this information is accurate, or at least it will be a place to start when you are tracking down possible avenues of support for your education.
Also, it should be noted that some jurisdictions had not signed EAPD agreements at the time of writing. In these cases information is presented for the VRDP program, which continues to function in the absence of a new EAPD agreement. Again, it is important to contact provincial officials in order to determine the exact situation when you are looking for financial assistance.
Also, for further information, or for copies of the multilateral framework document, you can contact:
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