As we look back on 2017-18 at Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, we see a year of strength, change and community.
In the midst of powerful social and political discourse in our province and around the world, we continued to speak out about injustice and fight for an inclusive and equitable Ontario, our mandate since 1945. History demonstrates that social change arises when under-represented and marginalized people unite together – despite their individual differences – to be seen, heard and counted as others already are.
This same spirit of social unity and collective change pervades Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. As an organization, we are as effective, engaged and relevant as our community makes us. We are composed of and belong to Ontarians with a spinal cord injury, as well as our volunteers, advocates, donors, staff and all those who work to advance the fair and equitable standing of those with a disability. The more active our community, the greater our power and louder our voice. Take a look at the many important outcomes of that work in this Report.
SCIO exists to enable our community to achieve its goals. Only together can we address those urgent objectives we share, such as resolving service gaps, increasing resources, changing laws, informing research, increasing funding and campaigning for greater accessibility. How do we do this? In short, through sweat equity and financial backing. With flat funding from the government, SCIO relies on you – every member of our community – for the engagement, donations, volunteer hours, advocacy, staff expertise and continual improvement we need to, together, make the greatest impact possible.
Since our founding, we have achieved dramatic change. Going forward, there is considerable work to be done to improve the quality of life of those living with a spinal cord injury and we believe we are up to the task. Our strategic priorities – Expand Our Impact Across Ontario, Share Knowledge and Amplify Our Community’s Voice – have begun to take shape and we thank you for supporting these vital goals this past year. You are the bedrock of this organization and we appreciate your commitment to creating an even stronger SCIO and a more equitable and accessible Ontario.
Bob Nigol Dr. Stuart Howe
Chair of the Board CEO
Research Assistant at Toronto Rehab’s Lyndhurst Centre, Anita Kaiser tirelessly champions fair and equitable services and supports for all Ontarians. Her bold and audacious attitude has made a significant impact on SCIO’s public policy accomplishments and on addressing systemic barriers to full community participation. She has been active in three SCIO campaigns (Primary Care, Alliance Retreat Community Mobilization, Provincial Election) and part of our government relations team. She is currently leading SCIO’s Quality Improvement Committee, is on our Board of Directors, and is a member of the Ontario SCI Alliance. As a trained researcher with an MSc in Rehabilitation Science from U of T, Anita also advocates for engagement of people with lived experience in SCI throughout research as a best practice. A powerful activist who amplifies our community’s voice, Anita is a worthy recipient of this award.
Apple has partnered with SCIO for two extremely successful hiring events which included 20 of our clients. One client explains, “Both Apple and I didn’t know how it would work. Nothing was impossible; it was about how to make it happen.” He was continuously asked by Apple management, “How can we make this a better experience?” Another client shared, “I am very blessed and no one can understand how happy Apple has made me and my family.” Apple embraces diversity and takes pride in ensuring its workforce reflects this. Our Employment Services recognizes Apple’s approach as the gold standard in successfully accommodating employees with a disability. We are thrilled to acknowledge Apple Canada as our Employer of the Year!
A donor for 27 years, a former board member and an event volunteer since 2001, Tom is personally committed to SCIO’s mission and financial health. He was recognized in 2006 with the Bill Adair Award, has been a member of the Ski Day Committee since 2001, and in 2018 as its Co-Chair helped secure $13,900 in sponsorship. The 2018 Ski Day event was our most successful to date, with Tom’s strategies, enthusiasm, recruiting and careful mentoring of new committee members. Over the years, Tom has encouraged giving and volunteering in others while he and his wife Bonnie have also made individual and company donations. Tom embodies philanthropy in his spirit and actions and is exceptionally deserving of this award.
This award was created to recognize a SCIO attendant for outstanding contribution to our Attendant Services program, our clients and fellow employees. The recipient is nominated by attendant peers for performance that exemplifies and demonstrates commitment to our mission and vision. Congratulations to our 2017-18 recipient, Clarita Mendigoria-Watson.
Clarita has made a significant contribution to SCIO in her four years. Her commitment and dedication to Attendant Services and her professional ethics are qualities that are frequently acknowledged by the clients she supports.
Clarita is keen on supporting and transitioning new clients to Attendant Services by keeping in line with the philosophy of client-centered service. She is proactive in educating clients in understanding their rights and directing them to the Supervisory Team to ensure their best interests are being met. Congratulations and thank you, Clarita!
Peer Volunteer of the Year Award
Health Care Professional of the Year Award
Family Volunteer of the Year Award
Health Care Professional of the Year Award
Volunteer of the Year Award
Peer Volunteer of the Year Award
Health Care Professional of the Year Award
John Agnew, Regional Services Co-ordinator
Arie Kojokaro, Controller
Andrea Campbell, Attendant
Joan Gayle, Attendant
Donald Ifil, Attendant
Marcia Smikle, Attendant
Veronica McFarlane, Attendant
Photo: l-r Sheila Casemore, Donald Ifil, Raki Gill, Joan Gayle, Stuart Howe, Arie Kojokaro
Declita Brown, Attendant
Vera Harris, Senior Manager
Theresa Power, Attendant
Photo: l-r Theresa Power, Stuart Howe, Vera Harris
On July 18, 2017 The Second City Toronto hosted an all-star benefit show to raise money for Jake Thomas and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario.
Jake, son of musician Ian Thomas and nephew of comedian Dave Thomas, sustained a spinal cord injury as a result of a snowmobile crash. His uncle, Dave, and fellow Second City alumni Martin Short hatched the plan to organise a star-studded reunion of comedy duo Bob and Doug McKenzie accompanied by SCTV favourites Catharine O’hara, Eugene Levy, Dan Aykroyd and a special guest appearance from Geddy Lee.
The event raised over $43,000 for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario!
On October 22, approximately 30 Spinal Cord Injury Ontario staff and supporters participated in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Although the majority of participants ran the 5K some ambitious individuals chose to run the half or full marathon. Together we raised over $21,000 for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario.
Everyone was enthusiastic and enjoyed the atmosphere and energy of the event. While more seasoned runners also relished the opportunity to challenge themselves to improve on their best times.
In March 2018, teams in both London and Kitchener hosted Roll & Bowl events. These fun, accessible and active events saw the two communities bringing people together and were a great testament to the strong spirit and dedication of our supporters. The team in London raised an outstanding $22,530 and in Kitchener they raised over $5,500 (a 91% increase on the year before!)
“If someone gets hurt they feel sad. I wanted to make people feel good and by raising money for the charity I could help people like Grandpa.”
Seven-year-old Jude was so inspired by his Grandpa Ron (who sustained a spinal cord injury four years ago), he decided to hand make and sell festive decorations to raise money for us. His hard work got noticed – with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and MP for Oakville North-Burlington Pam Damoff saying they were really impressed with everything he had achieved.
“The biggest disadvantage to someone with SCI is access to information, if you’re not in a large city. When you have an SCI, you have so many questions. Prior to my spinal cord injury I had a vision of where I saw myself in 20 years, and after the injury this path changed instantly and completely. SCIO helped guide me on my new path.
Now I have been a donor for years, and I give monthly because it was easy for me to set it up and forget it. Recently, however, I made the decision to leave a donation in my will. It’s an opportunity for me to make a significant contribution from my estate after I pass. It’s like me saying thank you one last time for what all SCIO has done for me over the year in terms of making me a better person.”
Artist Mark Grice from Alton, Ontario, was one of many vendors who donated time, goods or services to help make our 18th annual Ski and Snowboard Day such a success. Volunteers and other community organizations were on hand to introduce sit skiing to first-timers, many of whom had recently sustained a spinal cord injury. Helen Bond is a CADS (Canadian Adaptive Snowsports) volunteer and was the highest bidder for Mark’s painting of Max Parrot, silver medalist snowboarder at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. She was thrilled to take home a unique piece of art created right before our eyes. We are grateful to our community for their generous support of our events and initiatives throughout the year.
“We are very proud to be the lead Premier Partner of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and support their tireless efforts to revolutionize spinal cord injury care from 1945 till today. Whether through financial contributions from employees or supporting events like Comedy Night, we see the value in promoting SCIO in the communities we serve because we see the impact this support has on our clients.”
– Kim Donaldson, IBC Vice-President, Ontario Region
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has been supporting SCIO since the 1980s. Established in 1964, IBC is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers.
“Coloplast strives to better understand the challenges faced by our consumers, and works to make a difference in their everyday lives. Through our partnership with SCIO, we are able to touch the lives of hundreds of consumers and their family members. We are proud of our partnership with SCIO, as it brings us closer to our consumers, and amplifies our ability to create lasting change. As a corporate donor, we get to see our donation’s vital impact.”
– Melanie Lecours, General Manager, Coloplast Canada
Coloplast’s mission is to make life easier for people with intimate healthcare needs. Coloplast Canada have partnered with SCIO since the early 2000s. They have supported special events and educational programing in London, Winsor, Barrie, Hamilton, Toronto and Ottawa. Support has also been through donations, sponsorship and as a Preferred Medical Supply Partner for SCIO’s new Bowel & Bladder program.
“We recently became a Preferred Medical Supply Partner with SCIO on their new Bowel & Bladder program. With over 80 Peer Connections meeting across the province annually, we could count on SCIO’s Peer Support Co-ordinators to facilitate learnings and give valuable lived experienced to those starting their journey to independence and recovery from a spinal cord injury. You could see immediately that the rehabilitation hospital clients trusted (Peer Support Co-ordinator) Ivan’s experience when he shared his personal story. We are proud to support the partnership and events throughout the province.”
– Carole Robinson, President, Hollister Ltd.
Hollister Ltd. is built on the underlying principles of Dignity of the Person, Integrity, Service, and Stewardship. Its mission is “to help healthcare professionals deliver better products and services, and to make life more rewarding and dignified for those who use our products.”
Government Support 80.3%
Donations & Other Public Support 19.1%
Fees for Service 0.4%
Programs and Services 82.7%
Resource Development (Direct & Indirect) 7.4%