TORONTO – The community-based campaign to secure better recreation programs in Toronto, will begin its next phase today as the countdown starts on the release of the City’s five-year Recreation Service Plan, expected November 7.
The campaign – Recreation Works! Toronto Needs More – was launched in August by Local 79 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Social Planning Toronto and the Toronto Youth Cabinet, with a statement calling on Toronto City Council to increase investment in city recreation programs. More than 20 organizations and nearly 1,500 individuals have committed their support to the campaign.
Community groups will spend the week ahead preparing their comments on the plan and adding 1,000 names to a petition calling for expanded recreation services.
“Today we begin the push toward the public release of the plan,” said CUPE Local 79 President Tim Maguire. “We want residents and community organizations to be prepared and ready to respond to the report’s recommendations.”
Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto John Campey noted, “This is a critical opportunity. Improved access to quality recreation programming in the city is an important strategy to challenge the growing economic and social inequality in our city – providing ladders of opportunity for young people and families from all income levels to develop important skills, relationships, and healthy, active lifestyles.”
Expanding Toronto’s community recreation programs benefits everyone. Research shows that targeted investment in recreation can reduce pressure on other, more expensive services, like healthcare, police, and social services.
Chair of the Toronto Youth Cabinet Claire McWatt said, “Recreation programs are critical to young people. They help keep us connected to our communities, and, importantly, the City’s recreation department is one of the largest employers of youth, providing many young workers with their first job, and the skills and experience that go with it. With youth employment at an all-time low, this is a major priority”
The Recreation Service Plan is expected to be released on November 7, as part of the City of Toronto Community Development and Recreation Committee’s agenda, and will be debated at the standing committee’s meeting on November 14.
The petition and more information are available on the campaign Website at www.recreationworks.ca.
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