Expansion of Ready, Willing, and Able (RWA)

April 2022

Message from the Executive Director of CASDA, Jonathan Lai and Executive Vice-President of Inclusion Canada, Krista Carr

Inclusion Canada and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) are pleased to announce the expansion of the Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) program.

Federal Budget 2022 commits a $20 million investment to the Ready, Willing, and Able program (RWA). RWA is a national employment program jointly sponsored by Inclusion Canada and the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA) for persons with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum. This 3-year investment by the Government of Canada will enable RWA to expand its work until March 2025 with employers and community agencies to generate employment opportunities for people with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum.

Jonathan Lai, Executive Director, CASDA, said, “We are thrilled that Budget 2022 has allocated funding for RWA. Over the last 2 years, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the lives of Autistic Canadians. Now is the time to invest in inclusive employment as we recover and build back. This funding will contribute to the economic inclusion of our community.”

People with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum only have a 20% employment rate in Canada. Ready Willing and Able is an international award-winning employment program that is turning that statistic around by working with employers to identify their labour market needs and matching those needs with qualified candidates with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum who are looking for work. Since its inception, RWA has delivered well over three thousand jobs without the use of wage subsidies in competitively paid employment. Real work for real pay.

Ready, Willing, and Able works with employers in a cross-industry cross-sector approach. It’s transforming companies and cultures that benefit everyone. RWA operates currently in twenty primary communities with outreach to one hundred and fifty communities. The budget investment will allow us to undertake a much-needed expansion.

Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of Inclusion Canada, said, “Together with the Federal Government, we are working to build a more inclusive workforce. Even with the pandemic, the rate of employment through RWA has increased. The work of changing culture and building capacity for inclusion is paying off, and we’re so excited to be given the opportunity to facilitate more employment opportunities for people with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum across Canada.”

RWA has empowered thousands of job seekers with an intellectual disability or on the autism spectrum who previously were unable to enter or remain in the competitive labour force while providing employers with a source of talent that was previously overlooked. Recognizing the government’s strong commitment to supporting persons with disabilities, the funding announced in Budget 2022 for RWA will ensure this critical initiative continues to contribute to an inclusive and accessible Canada.

If you have any questions, please contact the RWA National Director, Don Gallant at dgallant@nl.rogers.com.