Special Olympics Athletes and Members of Parliament Working Together on the Hill!

TORONTO, Nov. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - November 26 marked another important milestone for Special Olympics Canada, which is dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals with an intellectual disability through active participation in sport. More than 70 Special Olympics athletes, family members, volunteers and staff gathered from across the country for "Hill Day," an opportunity to meet one-on-one with Senators and Members of Parliament and participate in a friendly sport competition on the front lawn of Parliament Hill, hosted by Olympic Gold medalist and Special Olympics Canada board member Mark Tewksbury.

The daylong initiative served as an opportunity to thank the federal government for its sustained support over the years and to request, in person, additional support through increased federal funding. Special Olympics Canada delegates met with more than 100 MPs and Senators on Hill Day, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Jim Flaherty, Bal Gosal and Nancy Greene Raine.

"The support of our federal government is integral to the ability and success of Special Olympics to positively impact the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through sport," said Lindsay Glassco, President and CEO of Special Olympics Canada. "With increased federal funding we will be able to reach more Canadians with an intellectual disability without compromising the quality of Special Olympics programs."

In 2012, Special Olympics Canada launched a five-year strategic plan which aims to broaden the delivery of 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. Special Olympics Canada and the twelve provincial and territorial Chapters are committed to significantly increasing this number.

The additional funding requested of the federal government will go a long way in helping Special Olympics Canada achieve its targets. Special Olympics Canada looks forward to the 2014 federal budget announcement to see if the federal government has decided to continue to support the Special Olympics movement in Canada, and invest in communities across Canada, by including its request for additional funding.

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 all Canadian provinces and territories, except Nunavut, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 35,880 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 16,452 volunteers, including more than 12,209 trained coaches.

For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@SpecialOCanada).

Image with caption: "Special Olympics athletes pose with Senator Jim Munson, Minister of Sport Bal Gosal, MP Ryan Leef and Olympic Gold Medalist and Special Olympics Canada board member Mark Tewksbury on Parliament Hill, before participating in the Special Olympics Amazing Race. Photo by Glyn Davies (CNW Group/Special Olympics Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131127_C5610_PHOTO_EN_33969.jpg

SOURCE: Special Olympics Canada

For further information:

For media enquiries and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Bill Wilson
Director, Marketing & Communications
Special Olympics Canada
T: 416.927.9050, ext. 4383
C: 416-455-8960
Bwilson@specialolympics.ca

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Special Olympics Canada

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