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Canoe Kayak Canada – Since 2007, Canoe Kayak Canada has supported its Clubs in creating and growing programing for Canadians with intellectual disabilities. The Paddle All program has grown at clubs across the country, giving opportunities for athletes who were previously unable to enjoy the sport to get out on the water. At a competitive level, races for athletes with intellectual disabilities are now included in Provincial and Divisional competitions, and are included at the Sprint National Championships.
The recognition in the Province of Ontario of Canoe Kayak as a ‘Partners in Play’ program is a significant step forward for Canoe Kayak Canada, Canoe Kayak Ontario and member clubs in the province, as they collectively look to increase opportunities for paddlers with intellectual disabilities. The ‘Partners in Play’ initiative fosters the development of partnerships between Special Olympics Ontario and local community sport organizations. These partnerships will increase the support for club programing for athletes with intellectual disabilities, help to remove barriers for participation and enhance outreach and engagement. The programing also offers branding opportunities with Special Olympics Ontario and makes Special Olympics Ontario resources available for member clubs.
Glenn MacDonell, President and CEO of Special Olympics Ontario spoke of the opportunity this partnership offers, “We pride ourselves on being an organization that breaks down barriers and creates sport opportunities. This new partnership adds an option that aligns well with our mission and aspirations for the future”
For the 2018 Season, the Canoe Kayak Ontario ‘Partners in Play’ program will include Special Olympics Ontario educational opportunities, connections with regional Special Olympics Ontario staff for clubs and will also include recognized Special Olympics competition at the Divisional, Provincial and Ontario Summer Games level.
“We are very excited to partner with Special Olympics Ontario and Canoe Kayak Canada to improve and expand the quality, opportunity and accessibility of canoeing and kayaking to individuals with an intellectual disability,” said Ryan Blair, Technical Director of the Ontario Canoe Sprint Racing Affiliation. “Special Olympics Ontario’s mission to enrich the lives of Ontarians with an intellectual disability through sport perfectly aligns with the great programs already provided by our member clubs.”
With this landmark agreement in place, Canoe Kayak Canada will work with its Paddle All Committee and Special Olympics Chapter leadership to use the Ontario agreement as a model for expanding the Canoe Kayak Canada and Special Olympics partnership across the country. The goal is to give more Canadians the opportunity to safely enjoy the sport.
Paolo Paiment, a Special Olympics skater and swimmer, who is also an accomplished paddler having won Provincial medals and competed at Canoe Kayak Canada’s National Championships for Ottawa River Canoe Club was asked about his reaction to the new partnerships. Paiment’s reply was enthusiastic, “Oh yes …It is so exciting, I have wanted to race in my kayak as a Special Olympic paddler. Going to the Ontario Summer Games will be fun!” 

For more information about the Special Olympics Ontario ‘Partners in Play’ program contact Chris Mehak (, for information regarding the Canoe Kayak Ontario’s Special Olympic programing and competitions contact Ryan Blair, Technical Director OCSRA (, for general inquiries regarding Canoe Kayak Canada’s programing contact Ian Mortimer, Director of Development, (

For more information:

Joannie Verret
Communications Coordinator
(418) 271-3785