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The Ottawa Sport Council (OSC) is pleased to announce a new stop along the Ottawa Return to Play Roadmap: Inclusion & Accessibility.

Children, youth, and adults with disabilities continue to face barriers to accessing sport and physical activity. The pandemic has exasperated this situation due to the closure of facilities and additional health considerations.

To better reflect the unique challenges in promoting an accessible return to sport in Ottawa, the Return to Play – Sports for Athletes with a Disability Subcommittee was formed. This subcommittee, led by the Abilities Centre Ottawa, has compiled resources, documents and links to help create awareness and inform the sport community on the importance of inclusion and accessibility, to support quality participation and physical activity for all, and to support the safe return to play for athletes with a disability.

The resources found at the Inclusion & Accessibility stop will benefit organizations, parents and participants when it comes to inclusive, accessible and safe sporting environments and programs for athletes with a disability.   ​

Based on the results of the COVID-19 Disability Survey, conducted by the Abilities Centre and Canadian Disability Participation Project, the majority of respondents indicated their habits related to exercise and physical activity have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and “the sudden time out” caused by related shut downs. 76% of respondents indicated that their recreation and leisure needs are not being met during the pandemic. Additionally, the majority of respondents also identified that the pandemic has significantly impacted their mental health. Studies generally show that physical activity is linked to better mental health outcomes.

The Inclusion & Accessibility roadmap stop contains guidelines specific to athletes with disabilities regarding specific sports, health and safety, physical environmental set up, and communications/virtual programs. The stop also includes other documents, links, resources, and videos to guide sport organizations in adopting inclusive and accessible programs and to help anyone be active, regardless of their ability.

“I would like to thank the Ottawa Sport Council for supporting the Return to Play Roadmap initiative and for recognizing the benefit of one more stop (the Inclusion & Accessibility stop),” says Emily Glossop, Executive Director of Abilities Centre Ottawa. “Abilities Centre Ottawa feels so strongly about the need to bring our community together and support each other during the good times and the more challenging times.”

“It is all about teamwork and collaboration and this initiative was exactly that – teamwork! I want to thank and acknowledge the significant contributions made by local health care workers, sport organizations, Ottawa Public Health and Ottawa Tourism,” says Glossop. “We are all hopeful that this resource will be beneficial in supporting the return to play for athletes of all ages and all abilities.”

The Ottawa Return to Play Roadmap was created by more than 70 local sport organizations and the City of Ottawa to promote and enable the resumption of sport in our community. The Roadmap establishes a community-wide resource that is continually updated to reflect how Ottawa-area sport is impacted by changing COVID-19 restrictions.

The addition of this new stop will help further the Roadmap’s goal of mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the Ottawa sport community and ensure the entirety of the community is represented.

“We are very appreciative of the tremendous work completed by the subcommittee, led by Abilities Centre Ottawa,” says Marcia Morris, Executive Director of the OSC. “The OSC believes that sport should be accessible to all, and that the new Inclusion & Accessibility stop along the Roadmap will help to achieve that.”

For more information regarding the Ottawa Return to Play Roadmap and the Inclusion & Accessibility stop, please contact Marcia Morris, Executive Director, Ottawa Sport Council.

About Ottawa Sport Council
As the unified voice of amateur sport in Ottawa, the Ottawa Sport Council (OSC) facilitates advocacy and growth for all community sport organizations

We believe that there should only be positive experiences in sport