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Manitoba government invests in 30 organizations supporting accessibility

wheelchair user in the street

Manitoba government is providing a total of $756,000 from the Manitoba Accessibility Fund (MAF) to 30 organizations across the province that are undertaking projects to promote accessibility and remove barriers for people with disabilities, Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for accessibility, announced Wednesday.

“The MAF was established to help organizations make the changes necessary to improve accessibility to their services, thereby enhancing the lives of all Manitobans and allowing everyone to participate more fully in their communities,” said Squires. “Today’s funding will assist 30 projects that promote accessibility and inclusivity for all. It’s exciting to see the variety of work the inaugural grants from the fund are supporting across the province.”

One of the projects receiving $20,000 in MAF support is the Good Will Social Club’s Free Will project, which raises awareness about the prevention and removal of barriers within Winnipeg’s arts and culture scene and creates a more accessible community for patrons, performers, and staff.

“Everyone should be able to be heard and have the ability to share their stories. The MAF support is very much appreciated in how it will allow us to support accessibility,” said Donavan Robinson, operations manager, Good Will Social Club. “The Good Will Social Club has seen many challenges over the past few years, but the support from our community and funding such as this have given us the opportunity to see the business as more than just a live music venue. The Manitoba Accessibility Fund grant will give opportunities to those who want to contribute where they may not have had the ability or option to do so before.”

The University College of the North (UCN) will receive $50,000 from the inaugural funding to support an accessibility audit and consultation as well as upgrading its library database system to remove barriers related to information and communication.

“The Manitoba Accessibility Fund Grant initiative will have a positive impact on students, employees and visitors to the University College of the North. UCN is committed to provide inclusive experiences in all services,” said Cindee Laverge, chief administrative officer, University College of the North. “The grant will allow us to increase awareness and improve accessibility in education throughout the north.”

The Manitoba Accessibility Fund, managed by the Winnipeg Foundation, was launched in 2021 with a $20-million investment. The fund promotes increased compliance with The Accessibility for Manitobans Act, which became law in 2013 to ensure accessibility in important areas of everyday life. The law’s accessibility standards target government and public sector organizations, businesses, non-profit groups and municipalities. The customer service and employment provisions of the act are now in effect.

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