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Active Assist
City of Mississauga “ActiveAssist” Program Increases Access To Affordable Recreation

Jul 06, 2011

Based on the success of the City’s “ActiveAssist” Fee Assistance Program, Mississauga City Council approved expanding access to enable 4,000 more low-income households to register and participate in structured, quality recreation activities.

“The City’s goal is to provide equal access to our recreation and active living programs to those in financial need regardless of age,” said Director of Recreation and Parks John Lohuis. “The program ensures more children, youth, families, adults and older adults have the benefit of recreation and the opportunity to experience a better quality of life. In fact, 60 per cent of residents enrolled in the program are participating in City of Mississauga programs for the first time.”

Lohuis explained that “ActiveAssist” provides eligible low-income households a fee credit of $275 per person, per year, deposited into their Recreation and Parks program account. The credit can be applied to activities such as swimming, skating, fitness and summer camps.

“Eligibility for the ‘ActiveAssist’ program is based on economic need -- individuals and families whose financial circumstances make them unable to pay for recreation programs and services offered by the City – according to Low-Income Cut Offs (LICO) established by Statistics Canada,” said Lohuis. “At this time, there are approximately 84,000 people living at, or below the LICO standard in the City.”

When the program was launched in May 2009, the 2,500 spaces were quickly allocated with 1,716 clients placed on a wait list. In 2010, another 1,500 spaces increased “ActiveAssist” capacity to 4,000 and, although the additional spaces enabled the City to accommodate more residents in the program, 2,200 residents were placed on a wait list. The 8,000 total spaces that will be available in 2011/12 are expected to accommodate the anticipated demand for this program.

Lohuis said that facilities are successfully absorbing “ActiveAssist” participants into existing programs without requiring additional resources or incurring costs, and the ongoing program is expected to have no impact on the City’s budget. “’ActiveAssist’ has proven to be a cost-effective and innovative approach to engaging residents of all ages in positive, high quality leisure activities.”

First year program statistics are complete and indicate that of the total number of people who participated in “ActiveAssist”:
* 55 per cent were children;
* 42 per cent were adults;
* three per cent of were older adults (55 years and older);
* residents registered in a total of 2,900 programs;
* most popular programs for youth clients were swim lessons, camps and sports;
* majority of adults and older adults registered in fitness, swim or skating memberships; and,
* year-to-date numbers for the 2010/2011 program indicate similar statistics.

Participants have one year from the date of activation to use their credit. Individuals, if put on a wait list, will receive swim/skate passes. Applications for “ActiveAssist” may be made in person at any City of Mississauga Recreation and Parks Community Centre or the Customer Service Centre located at Mississauga Central Library, Ground Floor. A specific appointment time is not necessary, however, may be arranged in advance by phoning the applicable location. For more information and a complete listing of all recreation programs, visit www.mississauga.ca/activeassist. For more information about “ActiveAssist,” call 905-615-4100.

As Canada's sixth largest city, Mississauga is home to 734,000 residents and 55,000 businesses, including 63 Fortune 500 companies with Canadian head offices or major divisional head offices. A diverse, progressive and award-winning municipality located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga is "Leading Today for Tomorrow" by focussing on delivering services, implementing its Strategic Plan, delivering value for money, maintaining infrastructure and continuing to be an employer of choice.






Media Contact:
Dolores Bartl-Hofmann
Senior Communications Advisor, Community Services
Phone: 905-615-3200 x5051
TTY:    905-896-5151
Email:   dolores.bartlhofmann@mississauga.ca


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