Ontario Investing $4.5 Million in Whitby’s Abilities Centre

Funding helping people with disabilities build life skills and stay healthy

February 17, 2022

WHITBY — The Ontario government is investing $4.5 million over three years to support the Abilities Centre in Whitby. The funding will support programs like therapeutic recreation and employment services that help people with disabilities build life skills, stay healthy and active, and find meaningful work.

“The Abilities Centre provides important supports for our loved ones in Whitby who have varying levels of ability, and is an excellent example of how a local facility can help create a strong community of inclusion,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “Our government is committed to supporting this work and to building an Ontario where individuals with a disability have the opportunity to fully engage in their communities and to live the lives they choose.”

This investment will directly support Abilities Centre programs that focus on health, social inclusion and economic opportunity for adults and young people with disabilities, and the development of an evaluation framework to promote continuous improvements.

Those programs include:

  • Thrive and Post Rehab: A skills development program suite focusing on helping adults with cognitive disabilities become more active participants in their community
  • LEAD ON: A program supporting government, public and private sector organizations to build inclusion and accessibility objectives into strategic plans and organizational culture
  • Abilities Enterprises, Skill Development & Employment: A program helping people of all abilities prepare to work in their communities and achieve their economic goals
  • Therapeutic Recreation and Abilities 360: A program using intervention, education, and recreation to help people with disabilities build life skills, increase their independence, and improve their overall quality of life.

“I am thrilled to support this new advancement in programs that enhance accessibility for all Ontarians,” said Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility. “The Abilities Centre in Whitby is paving the way for future community centres to ensure a more inclusive environment.”

“We have all felt the impacts of COVID-19 but the pandemic has disproportionately impacted people living with disabilities who have been faced with extensive barriers to accessing the most appropriate supports they need and deserve,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “With this new investment in the Abilities Centre, our government is taking another important step forward in building a system that ensures individuals living with a disability are fully supported and have the opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life.”

“Today’s investment in the Abilities Centre speaks to the principles of participation and inclusion that the Centre embodies,” said Whitby MPP Lorne Coe. “I am so proud to represent a riding with a dedicated centre where everyone has their needs considered, and feels welcomed, regardless of ability.”

“We are grateful to our Government of Ontario partners for their continued investment in Abilities Centre, and for their commitment to advancing accessibility and inclusion throughout the province,” said Stuart McReynolds, President & CEO of the Abilities Centre. “The negative impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for Ontarians with disabilities, and it is critical we provide adequate supports to ensure needs are being met. This investment will help us serve more people and communities locally and across the province, in addition to supporting us and those we work with in leveraging accessibility and inclusion as tools to improve economic participation, social inclusion and health and well-being outcomes, while contributing to full provincial recovery post COVID-19.”

Quick Facts

  • The Abilities Centre is a community hub that delivers a range of inclusive programming to promote health, community relationships, and skills development for individuals with disabilities.
  • The Centre provides services to over 4,000 members and 100,000 visitors annually at its Whitby location, as well as through regional programs.
  • Ontario’s three-year, $4.5 million investment brings the government’s total support for the Abilities Centre to $8.57 million.

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