FAST for Employment

FAST for Employment


The Focusing Access on Skills and Training (FAST) for Employment program is a time-limited, federally funded program of ILRC Thunder Bay. We have just began a new, 3-year project on April 3, 2023 and is set to conclude on March 31, 2026! This is exciting news for the many persons with disabilities in our community who are committed to becoming employed. The FAST Program assists a limited number of eligible, suitable participants to gain the skills to help themselves become employed.

Program Team: The program team is comprised of Program Lead Emily Bailey, Kerry Youmans and Caro Whipp - Outreach and Community Engagement; under the coordination of Jennie Gibbons. They bring a comfortable and genuine approach to working with you while assisting you to become employed. We partner with you directly and even though you may wish to include those that already support you, our mandate is to work with you, ensuring you are in control of your employment path. We encourage you to work with the FAST program independently, and that the choices you make are your own.

Participant Expectation:

To participate in our FAST for Employment program, it is imperative that you are ready to make the commitment to yourself to become employed. You must agree to work with us directly and stay in regular contact with us so that we can provide you with the best possible service. We're here to assist you in helping yourself; expecting you to be an equal partner and putting in the effort it may take to become successfully employed. 

Benefits for Participants:

There is no ‘one size fits all’, so as you work with our FAST team, a plan that best fits you will be identified.
The FAST Program may provide eligible participants with some of the following services to promote your employment success:

  • Services that can assist you with identifying the best employment goals for you
  • Funding for skill development training such as: Security Guard, Forklift Operator, etc.  
  • Funding for specialized training such as: First Aid, CPR, Safe Food Handling
  • Assistance with developing your resume, cover letter and interview skills
  • Assistance with job search and applications (including online applications)
  • Funding for incidental work related requirements such as: short term public transportation, uniforms, work books, safety wear
  • Ability to offer employers a subsidized wage period to provide you Work Experience.
Work Experience - Defined:

In part, this program may offer Work Experience Funding (WE) to eligible participants for eligible employers offering employment. Work Experience funding is intended to provide you with just that, "work experience". This opportunity MAY result in an employer retaining you after this pre-determined period or it may result in an end to your employment. Not all employers can afford to retain all staff after the funded period has concluded. This program is designed to enable you to leverage the WE period to continue your employment search and success independently. When a Work Experience concludes, you will be closed in the FAST Program. 

Success Disclaimer:

The ILRC Thunder Bay and the FAST Program DOES NOT find you or give you a job. We do NOT operate a placement agency style employment service and we do NOT have a list of employers waiting to hire you. You will be expected to invest time and effort into finding employment with our assistance and guidance. We work with you in partnership to identify the best path for you to take to achieve employment success. You should be ready to take all the initiative required to become employed by working with us directly. We understand that you may have a support system and/or family who is also partnering in your employment goals, but ILRC insists on having regular and direct contact with you. Not all participants in this program will achieve the "success" they expect, but the process experience in itself is designed to help promote your ability to create future success for yourself.

Getting Started - Program Eligibility:

The FAST Program MUST check that you meet the eligibility criteria (as set out by ESDC) before we can consider your involvement in this program.

Currently, with COVID 19 Restrictions to Public Access, we can assess your eligibility over the phone and then continue with regular virtual meetings using ZOOM or telephone appointments.

  • You must self-disclose a disability
  • You must be legally entitled to work in Canada
  • You must have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • You must not be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits
  • You are unemployed (or working less than 20 hours per week)
  • You have not been a participant in past Programs. 

Please keep in mind, we do not have control over your eligibility, but rather we submit the information you provide to Canada. If for any reason you are found not eligible, we can typically provide you the reason why you are found not eligible.

Benefits for Employers

Our ability to subsidize work experience could not be easier to access for employers – and it’s on purpose!

If you are an employer and are seeking to hire eligible participants of our FAST Program, OR if you have a potential employee candidate in mind that you think would benefit from our program: contact us!

We are eager to partner with all employers and seek to make accessing our services as easy and efficient as possible. Most employers and employment types will qualify for our program if:

  • You are interested in providing people with disabilities who are eager to work an opportunity to gain work experience for a specified duration of time
    • You are a licensed business with WSIB coverage for employees
    • You pay an hourly wage through standard payroll practices (not commissions, stipends, honorariums, etc.)
  • The prospective employee is NOT a relative of the business owner (some exceptions apply)
  • The prospective employee is NOT on your payroll prior to subsidized work experience (volunteers that are transitioned to paid employment do quality)
Subsidized Wage Reimbursement:

We always prefer to discuss this directly, but our ability to reimburse employers is designed to be as simple as possible.

  • FAST will reimburse to a maximum of 80% of the current Ontario Minimum Wage for any program eligible employee on a monthly basis
  • The duration of subsidy is flexible (up to 14 weeks) and is intended to best meet the requirements of both the employer and the employee

Contact Us Today!

Emily Bailey -

Kerry Youmans - 

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