KAWARTHA LAKES-The Ontario government says it is investing $13.5 million in Ontario’s After School Program.
Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, made the announcement while visiting the Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families in Ottawa. Minister MacLeod was joined by Stephanie (Mikki) Adams, Executive Director of the Inuuqatigiit Centre.
“This has been a challenging and unprecedented time for Ontario families. It has had a strong impact on the physical and mental well-being of children,” said Minister MacLeod. “As parents return to the workplace and kids are back in school, our government recognizes the significance of our after school programs. This funding will ensure programs are accessible in high-priority neighbourhoods and tailored to the needs of each community.”
Officials say Ontario’s After School Program supports safe, supervised activities for students during the school year in priority neighbourhoods across the province. The program helps kids stay active and engaged, improves academic performance and encourages leadership skills through activities such as sport, recreation and physical activity, personal wellness, anti-bullying, nutrition education and internet safety. It’s unclear what they classify as a “priority” neighbourhood.
BGC Kawartha Lakes in Lindsay is the only local organization to receive funding.
“With kids now back in schools across Ontario – learning alongside their friends and teachers – we are stepping up to support families with quality child care that meets their needs,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “We will continue to expand access to before and after school programs, along with more affordable, accessible and quality child care for working parents.”
“After school programs provide children with the opportunity to safely participate in fun interactive activities with their friends,” said Jane McKenna, Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “By ensuring these programs are available and accessible, parents and families in priority neighbourhoods across the province will benefit.”
This funding will help organizations develop and deliver programs virtually or in-person and continue to implement health and safety protocols to ensure a safe experience for participants and staff according to the government.
“After school programs play a very important role in enriching and enhancing children’s developmental skills academically, emotionally, mentally and physically,” said Stephanie (Mikki) Adams, Executive Director, Inuuqatigiit Centre for Inuit Children, Youth and Families. “Inuuqatigiit Centre strives to be a safe place for our children and youth to access culturally relevant programs that are equitable and affordable.”