"Because of our investment even more people right here in Ottawa and all across Ontario have a greater opportunity to lead more active and healthy lives," said Watson. "We have invested more than $23 million over the past four years to boost physical activity programs across Ontario, directly benefiting approximately 1 million people."
Today's grants were made possible by an additional $2.5 million funding boost announced in the 2007 Ontario Budget. The government announced $5 million in grants this past May, bringing the total to Communities in Action Fund (CIAF) investment to $7.5 million in 2007/08.
Earlier today, Minister Watson, along with McNeely announced $158,000 in funding to six Ottawa area organizations. They include the Ottawa River Canoe Club, Gloucester Recreation Development Organization, the Ottawa Titans Water Polo Association, Patro d'Ottawa, Orleans Youth Resource Centre and the School of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa.
"Local community groups benefit tremendously from these grants and I know that people in Ottawa and Orleans will use this funding to increase sport and physical activity participation in our neighbourhood," McNeely said.
Recipients of this second round of grants will implement a wide range of programs that include the development of canoeing programs for youth and disabled persons by the Ottawa River Canoe Club and the introduction of a specialized soccer and basketball program by Patro d'Ottawa to benefit 120 low-income ethno-cultural Francophone children and youth in the Ottawa area.
"The Communities in Action Fund grant will ensure both continuity and growth for our "Kids in Shape" project. This community-based partnership, initiated in 2005, will now be further developed and will continue to make a positive impact on underprivileged children in the Vanier/Lowertown-East/Overbrook-Forbes area for another year," said Dr. Milena M. Parent, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa.
CIAF is just one example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results in increasing sport participation and physical activity throughout Ontario. Other initiatives include:
- ACTIVE2010, Ontario's Sport and Physical Activity Strategy, which supports increased physical activity rates and sport participation in order to improve the quality of life in the province.
- The $10 million Quest for Gold Program launched to help Ontario's high-performance athletes achieve excellence in sport. Quest for Gold is part of the government's commitment to improving the performance and number of athletes participating at national and international competitions. This program specifically works to achieve the goal of "Enhanced Excellence" under ACTIVE2010.
- Ontario Trails Strategy, a $3.5 million investment over five years to improve and enhance Ontario's trails. This includes establishing a coordinating committee for trails; developing a website to provide easy access to trail information for trail users; and, mapping the location of Ontario's trails for use by the province's trail organizations and the general public.
The Ministry of Health Promotion was established to improve and deliver programs that contribute to healthy living and wellness in Ontario. Key priority areas include Ontario's smoke-free strategy, healthy eating, active living, sport and recreation, injury prevention and mental health promotion.
For further information: Adam Grachnik, Minister's Office, (416) 326-8497; Julie Rosenberg, Communications Branch, (416) 326-4833