Carolyn Fenny smiling in a crown of runners

Goals for Action

The goals identified at the 1986 Jasper Talks - a national symposium on physical activity and disability - continue to guide our actions and initiatives. Central to each goal is the belief that the individual must be considered first when developing any program or service, and that the rights and dignity of the individual must always be respected.

#1 Self-Empowerment


To facilitate the growth of self-empowerment through awareness, education and support.

Canadians with disabilities are often not aware of the programs and services that are available to them. With encouragement, support and opportunities to accept more responsibility, people with disabilities can be empowered to set personal goals, control everyday events and choose and maintain an active way of living. Leaders must realize and respect a person's own knowledge of his or her personal abilities and limitations. At the same time, leaders must continue to encourage and support individuals, enabling them to participate as fully as possible to fulfill their potential.

ALACD is committed to promoting self-empowerment and increasing opportunities for Canadians with disabilities to actively participate in planning, designing and evaluating programs and services.

To facilitate self-empowerment for persons with disabilities, active living partners can:

  • Encourage individuals to make their own informed decisions about the physical activities they will participate in.
  • Help people develop the knowledge, skill and support they need.
  • Ensure that leadership training opportunities are available and accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Ensure that all information, materials and communications are available in alternate media formats.
  • Promote the use of practical, user-friendly resource packages that explain how to advocate and lobby effectively.

#2 Effective Networks


To develop quality networks and delivery systems with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and communication links at all levels.

There is a lack of coordinated effort among organizations developing physical activity programs and services, resulting in delivery systems that are fragmented and disjointed.

ALACD is committed to developing network capacity to share information on the types of programs, initiatives and services that individuals, agencies and associations have to offer. This spirit of cooperation and communication can mean that a successful program at one end of the country can be adapted to suit the needs in another region. It provides the opportunity to benefit from many quality programs and services regardless of where we live. It also helps prevent unnecessary duplication of effort when programs are being designed and delivered.

To develop quality networks active living partners can:

  • Strengthen the communications networks among the individuals and agencies that are working to increase active living opportunities for Canadians with disabilities.
  • Develop, implement and share information about programs in which community and provincial partners work together to increase opportunities for active living.
  • Create province-wide linkages to form a communications bridge, sharing information on community, provincial and national-level initiatives.
  • Maintain the Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability as a coordinating body with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
  • Encourage and develop a communications network among the federal and provincial ministries that provide services for Canadians with a disability, such as the Ministries of Health, Transportation and Education.
  • Develop, join and contribute to Internet list-serves that focus on issues relevant to active living and persons with disabilities.

#3 Better Plans and Policies


To enhance organizational planning and policy development by providing resources and support mechanisms.

Organizations need to examine their plans and policies to ensure that participation opportunities for all Canadians are an integral part of every program, service or policy being developed. It is crucial for organizations to recognize the rights, interests and needs of people with disabilities when planning policy or making organizational changes.

ALACD is committed to advocating and providing support to community organizations in enhancing their plans and policies to ensure that all Canadians can participate in every program, service or policy they develop.

To enhance planning and policy that promote opportunities for persons with disabilities, active living partners can:

  • Develop strategies that encourage organizations to support Canadians with disabilities in living actively.
  • Adopt guidelines to evaluate policies and establish new ones that meet the needs of participants with disabilities.
  • Develop guidelines on how to plan and implement processes that improve active living programs and services.

#4 Better Programs and Services


To identify, develop and promote effective programs and services at the national, provincial and local levels.

Many inactive Canadians with disabilities say they do not participate in physical activities because they are physically unable to do so. People with disabilities also cite fear of injury and lack of skills as barriers to increased activity, substantially more often than those without disabilities. These barriers sometimes result from traditional interpretations of fitness which place more emphasis on structured or athletically challenging activities such as organized sports, aerobics or running. This interpretation gives rise to the notion that fitness and physical activity are not available to or appropriate for those with disabilities. While many successful community-based programs and services are accessible to Canadians with disabilities, there is very little awareness of those programs.

ALACD is committed to identifying, supporting and effectively promoting existing programs and services that actively include Canadians of all abilities.
To promote effective programs active living partners can:

Promote active living in schools:

  • Create information kits for people with disabilities, parents, caregivers, teachers, and others to help them understand and support active living.
  • Identify and promote successful program models and ideas for providing physical activity opportunities for Canadians with disabilities.
  • Develop and distribute curriculum guidelines on physical activity, fitness and recreation for colleges and universities.

Reach out to Canadians with disabilities:

  • Use the Internet to deliver and retrieve active living information.
  • Review and adapt programs and services to ensure they are accessible to all.
  • Ensure program and service information is available in alternate formats.

Make information more widely available:

  • Promote active living for Canadians with disabilities at local, provincial, national and international conferences.

#5 Effective Leadership


To develop and promote leadership by providing programs and support.

Canadians with disabilities can be more effectively served by a thoughtful leadership system that values them as leaders, promotes coordination among existing agencies and develops new leadership programs that recognize the many roles leaders play in facilitating physical activity. Too often, the people who provide recreational and fitness services and programs in communities across Canada are either not willing or not able to accommodate the active living needs of people with disabilities.

ALACD is committed to developing and supporting leadership programs that enhance the ability of communities to include Canadians with a disability as participants, advisors and leaders.

To promote active living programs and services among community leaders, active living partners can:

Develop active living leaders:

  • Ensure that all leadership-development programs contain a component on how to meet the needs of participants with disabilities.
  • Ensure that leadership-training opportunities are available and accessible to people with disabilities, such as how to become a board member.

Improve accessibility to current programs:

  • Review and adapt existing programs and services to ensure they are accessible to all.
  • Adopt guidelines to help evaluate organizations' current policies and establish new ones to ensure they meet the needs of participants with disabilities.

Develop and share new ideas:

  • Use existing models and resources to train instructors and caregivers on how to teach active living for Canadians with disabilities.
  • Organize workshops, seminars and other events that provide a continuing source of new information.
  • Continue to hold regular forums to exchange ideas and resolve issues.

#6 Public Awareness


To develop public awareness through promotional strategies involving community action and public education.

Service and program providers often lack the information, support or knowledge that would allow them to include individuals with disabilities. Others have not yet been made aware of the need or the possibilities for improved access. While Canadians with disabilities have become more active in their communities, and public education campaigns have shown that active living is a need shared by all Canadians, negative stereotypes about people with disabilities still exist. There is an ongoing need to educate and develop broad public awareness about the abilities and rights of Canadians with a disability.

ALACD is committed to developing and supporting effective campaigns on the rights, needs and interests of Canadians with disabilities.

To develop and enhance public awareness of the rights and capabilities of Canadians with a disability active living partners can:

  • Continue to develop and distribute guidelines for including Canadians with disabilities in promotional messages.
  • Ensure that an active living component is incorporated into other national strategies such as International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Promote the range of benefits of a physically active lifestyle for Canadians with disabilities.
  • Ensure that resource materials use a positive and respectful tone and terminology when portraying people with disabilities.
  • Inform the media and other interested parties of the preferred terminology, and provide them with creative ideas for news coverage.

#7 Research and Information


To identify, promote and support research priorities and to disseminate state-of-the-art information.

Ensuring that active living opportunities are available, accessible and inclusive for Canadians with disabilities requires a strong knowledge base. Creative and rigorous research maintains and develops the knowledge base. Effective tools for dissemination allow the research to be shared across a wide variety of communities and interest groups.

ALACD is committed to supporting and encouraging a wide spectrum of research initiatives and to developing effective modes of dissemination.

To support research and communicate active living partners can:

Promote innovative research:

  • Provide assistance to support research on active living for Canadians with disabilities.
  • Support and encourage student researchers working in the areas of recreation, physical education and kinesiology as it applies to people with disabilities.