Abilities Centre in Whitby delivered $3.5 million in program funding from Queen’s Park

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Published May 25, 2023 at 11:53 am

The Abilities Centre in Whitby will now have the ability to do a lot more to make the Durham community more accessible after the Ontario government delivered $3.5 million in funding over three years.

The investment to the Abilities Centre, a community hub in Whitby that offers a range of inclusive programming for people with disabilities, will support programs like therapeutic recreation, skills development, and post-rehabilitation programs that help people with disabilities build life skills and stay healthy and active, as well as employment services that help people with disabilities find meaningful work.

Sharon Cochran, the Chair of the centre’s Board of Directors, said the funding will help employers and businesses across Ontario to become more accessible and inclusive, creating employment opportunities that are “equitable and meaningful” for job seekers with disabilities. “We know that when businesses implement a disability inclusion strategy, the result is a diverse and innovative workforce that greatly impacts a company’s growth and bottom line.”

Ontario Children, Community and Social Services Minister Michael Parsa said at a press conference Thursday morning the facility does “important work” to ensure people “of all ability levels” have the supports and opportunity to succeed.

“The Abilities Centre is at the forefront of revolutionizing accessibility and creating innovative programs that meet the needs of people with disabilities, their families and their community,” he said.

Some of the services and programs supported by this funding include:

  • Abilities Centre Core: Projects that support the Abilities Centre’s development as a community hub, and research and development to expand services and programs.
  • Thrive and Post Rehab: Skills development programs that help adults with cognitive disabilities become more active participants in their community.
  • LEAD ON: Helping government, public and private sector organizations build inclusion and accessibility goals into their strategic plans and company culture.
  • Abilities Enterprises, Skill Development & Employment: Helping people of all abilities prepare to work in their communities and achieve their economic goals.
  • Therapeutic Recreation and Abilities 360: Intervention, education, and recreation programs that help people with disabilities build life skills, increase their independence, and improve their overall quality of life.
  • Physical Literacy and Inclusion: Engaging people in physical activity and encouraging them to adopt healthy behaviours for life.

“Our government is helping people of all abilities participate and thrive in their communities. With our investment, the Abilities Centre will continue to provide inclusive programming and meaningful employment opportunities,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario’s Finance Minister and MPP for neighboring Pickering Uxbridge Riding.

The Abilities Centre provides services to more than 4,000 members and 100,000 visitors every year at its Whitby location, as well as through regional programs.

Whitby MPP Lorne Coe said the money will help the facility “remove barriers” between employers and people with disabilities looking for work. “This investment will allow the Abilities Centre to provide employment supports and programs to help people with disabilities participate in the workforce in Whitby and other parts of the Region of Durham.”

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