Parks and Recreation Ontario

A group of young children playing with gym building blocks

Vision, Mission and Membership

Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO) is grateful to conduct work as visitors on the traditional lands of the Anishinabewaki, Huron-Wendat, and Haudenosaunee, and the Toronto Purchase – Treaty 13 (1805) and Williams Treaty (1923) lands. PRO envisions an Ontario where recreation and parks support healthy people, vibrant communities, and sustainable environments. PRO’s mission is to advance quality recreation and parks through advocacy, standards, tools and training. PRO has over 6,500 members, including individuals and organizations in municipal, non-profit and private recreation and parks, public health, conservation authorities, academics, students, elected officials, and leaders in sport, fitness and related fields.

How PRO is Supporting Inclusion and Access for Persons with Disabilities

In Ontario, there are programs designed specifically for individuals with a disability, but PRO also emphasizes the importance of programs that are inclusion-based, with individuals of all abilities welcome. Currently, children are the major focus of the delivery of programs for individuals with disabilities within the municipal recreation system. Inclusive services are offered widely across Ontario so that individuals with disabilities have the ability to join general recreation programs. PRO supports its members and other stakeholders by providing opportunities to share best practices and network with others offering inclusive programming.

Community Spotlight: Town of Milton

Milton provides additional support to children with disabilities through their Inclusionary Care for Assisted Needs (I-CAN) program. Participants of the I-CAN program are paired with an Inclusion Support Worker who provides support in varying capacities to include the participant in programs and camps. “Special Needs Activity Program” (S.N.A.P.) camp is also offered during March Break and in summer camp season. S.N.A.P. is a camp for individuals with disabilities between the ages of 10 to 18 that focuses on social and life skills development. A monthly craft program for adults 18-plus with disabilities is also offered.

In June 2019, a Coordinator, Recreation (Children, Youth and Inclusion) was hired due to the need for more expertise related to participants with disabilities. Milton is also launching two new inclusion programs: A drop-in “Sensory Friendly Skate” and a drop-in “Welcoming Wednesday Preschool Gym Time”. Both of these program environments will have controlled sensory stimuli to build a more inclusive space for persons with disabilities.