The [email protected] program supports people with disabilities, including people with mental health issues, by offering wage subsidies to employers.
Program Manager Darcy Beck says the program, offered through the PEI Council of People with Disabilities (PEICOD), has been extended for the next three years. “It offers a 50 percent wage subsidy for up to 22 weeks to the private sector, non-profit organizations, and municipalities.”
People with mental health issues are now eligible to access this wage subsidy. “Statistics from the Government of Canada say one in five Canadians will experience mental illness at some point in their lives.”
People do not need a doctor’s referral to participate in the [email protected], but they do need a case manager from a recognized PEI employment assistance service agency. “They should not have drawn employment insurance in the last three years, but some exceptions can be made, so it’s worthwhile to call us to discuss options.”
“[email protected] offers supports such as an ergonomic keyboard or mouse, or speech-to-text software,” Darcy says. “We look at what would help participants succeed on the job. This may also include employment counselling, where we come up with strategies to search for a job, network, and retain a job. Plus, we identify any training or further education the participant may pursue.”
Other features include enhanced employer supports. “It’s important to us that we make good matches. We can have a job coach on hand until participants are comfortable doing the work. We can also act as a mediator if any conflict arises.
“A major part of my job is meeting with employers to educate them on accommodation requirements and dispelling myths.
“There are many hidden disabilities to consider, such as a learning disability, autism, ADHD, chronic fatigue, diabetes, stroke or cancer.”
Darcy says previous employers have contacted them saying they want to participate in the program again.
“Clients have told us the opportunity to have someone advocating for them on the job has been life-changing. Our goal is to have clients employed part-time or full-time after the wage subsidy runs out.”
PEICOD statistics for employment assistance 2017-2018
- 125 Islanders living with disabilities secured employment or became self-employed
- 50 job seekers with disabilities accessed [email protected]
To learn more about [email protected], contact Darcy Beck, at 902-892-9149 ext. 234. Email [email protected]. Visit the PEI Council of People with Disabilities at www.peicod.pe.ca/programs_workabilities.php.
The [email protected] program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities program.