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March of Dimes Canada's new strategic plan promises real change for people living with disabilities

·4 min read

65+ years after the polio vaccine was developed, the leading charity is evolving once more to meet the needs of people living with disabilities

TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2021 /CNW/ - October 24 is World Polio Day, a day for people everywhere to support the fight to end polio. March of Dimes Canada is marking the occasion by unveiling a new strategic plan that boldly reimagines what the organization can be and do to transform the lives of the more than six million people living with disabilities across the country. Called "Champion Equity. Empower Ability.", the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan also comes with a new purpose, mission, and vision to meet the needs of today.

(CNW Group/March of Dimes Canada)
(CNW Group/March of Dimes Canada)

"As a national leader in the disability service sector, we have an important role to play in creating a better future for people living with all forms of disability, in every part of Canada," says Leonard Baker, President and CEO, March of Dimes Canada. "Our new strategic plan is our most ambitious yet, but if our history has taught us anything, it's that ambitious goals can be achieved; barriers can be broken, and we can create communities in which people living with disabilities live and thrive nationwide."

March of Dimes Canada was formed in the 1950s when a group of mothers banded together to find a cure for polio. When a vaccine was developed, the organization pivoted to support polio survivors, people with physical disabilities, and later, all forms of disability. Now one of Canada's largest and most respected disability service providers, March of Dimes Canada is evolving once more. Through the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan, the organization aims to change the way people living with disabilities are understood and included in society, and improve equity in all aspects of Canadian life.

"The needs of the disability community are shifting, and so is March of Dimes Canada," adds Mr. Baker. "Our organization has been a trusted resource for more than seven decades. This strategic plan is our promise to people living with disabilities; we're listening, and we're committed to taking on the barriers they've told us continue to hold them back."

To create the plan, March of Dimes Canada consulted with nearly 1,000 people impacted by disability. The plan focuses on four areas, which reflect the barriers faced by Canada's large and diverse disability community, and their needs, wants and aspirations. Each area builds on a core strength of March of Dimes Canada in service of a better future for people living with disabilities.

The four focus areas in the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan are as follows:

  • The best start for children, youth, and families: The journey of growing up with disability can be a challenging and turbulent one that affects the whole family. March of Dimes Canada will work to ensure children and youth living with disabilities can achieve their full potential, thriving at every stage of their development.

  • Independence at home and in the community: People with disabilities seek choice and control over how they live their lives, through better access to services, housing, and home and vehicle modifications. March of Dimes Canada will work to ensure people living with disabilities can live safely and independently, where and how they choose—and can fully participate in all aspects of community life that matter to them.

  • Active, healthy, and connected lives: Whether from social stigma, discrimination, or the challenges of navigating a fragmented system, people living with disabilities feel disconnected from society, the supports they need, and each other. March of Dimes Canada will work to ensure people living with disabilities can have the best possible physical and mental health, and enjoy strong, supportive relationships and a sense of community belonging.

  • Financial security: In Canada, people with disabilities disproportionately face unemployment and strikingly high poverty rates. March of Dimes Canada will work to ensure people can have the financial means to avoid or escape poverty, and live well with disability.

Over the next three years, March of Dimes Canada will embark on a series of projects to advance the organization's mission; develop and expand programs and services to reach more people in more places than ever before; and drive innovation across its nationwide operations. Partnerships will be an essential focus, as the organization strives to engage people living with disabilities, their families, disability sector stakeholders, funders and supporters in the movement for change.

March of Dimes Canada expresses sincere gratitude to the clients, caregivers, and family members, as well as experts and thought leaders in the disability sector, who participated in the process. Special thanks to March of Dimes Canada's Board of Directors, staff and volunteers, and Strategic Planning Advisory Committee members.

For more information about the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan, visit marchofdimes.ca/strategy.

About March of Dimes Canada: March of Dimes Canada is a leading national charity committed to championing equity, empowering ability, and creating real change that will help people living with disabilities across the country unlock the richness of their lives. As a leading service provider, resource, and advocate, we're paving the way for people living with disabilities to experience full and meaningful lives in an inclusive world. And we hope you'll join us. marchofdimes.ca

SOURCE March of Dimes Canada

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