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Ontario Supporting Inclusion and Accessibility in Whitby

News Release

Ontario Supporting Inclusion and Accessibility in Whitby

Province Investing in the Needs and Priorities of Communities

WHITBY — Ontario is investing $1.07 million in 2019-20 to support the Abilities Centre in Whitby to advance inclusion and accessibility for people of all ages and abilities.

Today, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, made the announcement at the Abilities Centre in Whitby. He was joined by Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board and MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge, Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, Lindsey Park, MPP for Durham, and Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby.

"Our government has a plan to build more inclusive and accessible communities," said Minister Smith. "We are committed to supporting programs that promote health, help people build key life skills and connect youth and adults with disabilities to jobs."

With this investment, the Abilities Centre will be able to expand its services and training and engage with community, school board and municipal partners to identify service gaps and design various pilot projects. Initiatives include:

  • Researching social inclusion and social enterprise
  • Developing a pre-employment skills program
  • Piloting a 12-week pan-disability program for adults with disabilities
  • Supporting local private and non-profit sector organizations to develop inclusion and accessibility plans.

"Our government has taken steps to strengthen our finances, our economy and critical public services," said Minister Phillips. "These practical and meaningful actions will help make life easier and more affordable for people. This plan allows us to invest in priority areas of health care and education and in programs such as those here at the Abilities Centre."

"We are supporting employment opportunities for people with disabilities and helping employers create more accessible and inclusive workplaces," said Minister Cho. "This funding is another example of our government's commitment to supporting people with disabilities to fully participate in their communities and the economy."

"We are extremely pleased with the announcement today from the Government of Ontario and its commitment to advance inclusion and accessibility throughout the province," said Stuart McReynolds, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Abilities Centre. "This investment will help us serve more people in the Durham Region and across the province through the expansion of our programs, services and partnerships. This strategic, partnership-based approach will ensure sustainable program and service delivery while providing models for other communities to leverage the values and benefits of inclusion and accessibility."

Quick Facts

  • The Abilities Centre is a not-for-profit organization based in Whitby, Ontario that delivers sports, health and fitness, arts and culture, research, education and life skills programs for people of all abilities.
  • One in five Ontarians, or about 2.6 million people, have a disability.
  • It is estimated that by 2035, 40 per cent of Ontario’s consumer base will be people with disabilities.

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