Minister Qualtrough Backs Ontario Special Olympics Rowing Program

Public Health Agency of Canada

Being physically active helps to improve our physical and mental health. Regular physical activity can also help to prevent chronic disease. That's why the Government of Canada is proud to invest in community-based initiatives that are providing more Canadians with opportunities to get physically active.

Through Budget 2023, the Public Health Agency of Canada committed $10 million over two years towards ParticipACTION's Let's Get Moving initiative. Part of this initiative includes the Community Challenge program that encourages everyone to get active throughout the month of June.

The Community Challenge provides organizations across Canada with grants to support physical activity programming. Earlier this week, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, visited the Special Olympics Ontario - Greater Ottawa Area Rowing Program at the Ottawa Rowing Club.

Through their Community Challenge grant Special Olympics Ontario, in partnership with the Ottawa Rowing Club, is providing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to experience rowing and participate in team sport. During its inaugural season in 2023, the program welcomed 11 participants and looks forward to reaching even more participants this year.


"The more we move, the better we feel. Our government is proud to partner with ParticipACTION to support organizations like Special Olympics Ontario and the Ottawa Rowing Club in providing opportunities to get physically active across Canada. Through initiatives like the Community Challenge, ParticipACTION is raising awareness and helping more Canadians lead healthier, happier and longer lives."

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough

Minister of Sport and Physical Activity

"National initiatives, like the Community Challenge, that reduce barriers and create opportunities for everyone to get active are critical to building stronger, healthier and connected communities. We welcome this investment and look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Canada and other partners to engage as many individuals and organizations as possible to support people in getting active where they live, learn, work and play."

Laura Richard

Chair, ParticipACTION Board of Directors

"We are honoured to be a ParticipACTION Community Challenge grant recipient for our Special Olympics Rowing Program this summer. This program marks the first time that rowing has ever been a Special Olympics sport in Canada, and support for inclusive sport and physical activity initiatives and programs can have an incredibly positive impact throughout Canada and beyond. We can't wait to see this program grow and we hope other rowing clubs will feel encouraged to develop Special Olympics programs of their own!"

Marley Mullan

Program Founder and Lead Coach, Ottawa Rowing Club

Quick Facts

  • Physical activity can help prevent a range of chronic diseases, most notably heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It is also an important part of overall health and well-being. Yet, evidence shows that only half of adults meet physical activity recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity per week.
  • ParticipACTION is a national non-profit organization that inspires and supports people living in Canada to make physical activity an integral part of their everyday life.
  • ParticipACTION helps people in Canada be less sedentary and move more through innovative engagement initiatives and thought leadership. The Let's Get Moving initiative aims to increase physical activity levels for people who are less active, including priority populations such as Indigenous Peoples, newcomers to Canada, people with disabilities, 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, people living on low income and racialized communities.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada supports projects that promote healthy living and help prevent chronic disease.
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