TORONTO, Feb. 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Today marked another important milestone for Special Olympics Canada (SOC), which is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with an intellectual disability through active participation in sport. The Government of Canada's 2014 federal budget has approved an additional $10.8 million for SOC over the next four years. This additional funding will supplement Sport Canada's current annual funding of more than $2.8 million.
As a national sport organization, SOC provides year-round community sport, training and competition opportunities for athletes of all ages and abilities, from coast to coast to coast, in communities across Canada, large and small. With today's announced funding, SOC will be able to increase the number of athletes registered with Special Olympics in Canada, reach more young athletes aged 2-21, reduce participation barriers for those in lower income brackets, grow and improve our national games, and expand the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program.
"Special Olympics Canada is very pleased to be included in today's 2014 federal budget announcement. This commitment will allow Special Olympics Canada and the twelve provincial and territorial Chapters to extend our reach to even more Canadians with an intellectual disability," said Sharon Bollenbach, CEO of Special Olympics Canada. "We are extremely grateful to the Government of Canada and thank them for their ongoing support and commitment to Special Olympics in Canada."
In 2012, SOC launched a five-year strategic plan which aims to broaden the delivery of its high-impact, cost effective, community-based programs for athletes with an intellectual disability. Currently, approximately 5% of Canadians with an intellectual disability are registered with Special Olympics in Canada. SOC and the twelve provincial and territorial Chapters are committed to significantly increasing this number. Additional funding such as that committed to in the 2014 federal budget will go a long way in helping Special Olympics Canada and its Chapters achieve their objectives.
About Special Olympics Canada
Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, close to 37,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 17,000 volunteers, including more than 13,000 trained coaches.
SOURCE Special Olympics Canada