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Saskatchewan Partners with Rick Hansen Institute to Lead in Funding for Disability Initiative

News Release – March 15, 2011

Saskatchewan is taking a leadership role in Canada in the areas of spinal cord injury research and disability funding with the commitment by the provincial government of more than $4.3 million for a comprehensive five-year Saskatchewan-based initiative, in partnership with the national Rick Hansen Institute.

Saskatchewan’s Rick Hansen Institute Initiative is a group of projects that will enhance the lives of Saskatchewan people with disabilities. The projects will also help commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour.”Saskatchewan is extremely proud to be the second province in Canada to commit to a Rick Hansen Institute Initiative, joining Mr. Hansen’s home province of British Columbia,” Social Services Minister June Draude said. “We strongly encourage the other provinces and territories in Canada, and the federal government, to make similar significant commitments on behalf of Canadians with spinal cord injuries and other people with disabilities and their organizations.”

“Much has been accomplished over the last 25 years by many, and Saskatchewan’s generous commitment of support is a testament to what can be achieved when we all work together to accelerate progress toward a healthy, inclusive and accessible world,” Hansen said. “We look forward to showcasing and celebrating Saskatchewan’s difference makers when the 25th Anniversary Relay makes its way through the province next February.”

Saskatchewan’s Rick Hansen Institute Initiative is supported by several provincial ministries and agencies and consists of the following five-year commitments for Saskatchewan-based projects that will assist people with disabilities:

• $1 million from the Ministry of Health for spinal cord injury related research;
• $500,000 from the Ministry of Social Services in new funding for the Canadian Paraplegic Association of Saskatchewan;
• $500,000 from the Office of the Provincial Secretary to fund the Clayton Gerein Legacy Fund; and
• in December, the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport and Sask Sport Inc. announced $2.3 million to help fund disability sports organizations, high-performance athletes with a disability, and accessible playgrounds.

All funding for Saskatchewan’s Rick Hansen Institute Initiative will stay in the province and will be administered by the Government of Saskatchewan or a designated community-based organization.

“Collaboration and research during the next five years in Saskatchewan will enable innovations in spinal cord injury care and research in Canada,” Health Minister Don McMorris said. “Our investment will build a strong provincial foundation of research, clinical care and rehabilitation best practices in this area. With vital support from a national spinal cord injury network, this will result in the best possible outcomes for Saskatchewan people with spinal cord injuries.”

“Developed in partnership with the Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association, the Clayton Gerein Legacy Fund will introduce and support the involvement of people with physical disabilities in wheelchair sports and other recreational opportunities, promoting an improved quality of life,” Provincial Secretary Donna Harpauer said. “The establishment of this Legacy Fund in the name of Clayton Gerein honours the memory of one of Saskatchewan’s greatest athletes and Paralympians – a man who was instrumental in exposing a new generation of people with disabilities to the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle through sport and recreation.”

“Enhanced support for high-level athletes and improved access to sports programs will enable Saskatchewan athletes with a disability to develop skills and achieve competitive success nationally and internationally,” Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Bill Hutchinson said. “Saskatchewan athletes with a disability have a long history of excellence when it comes to Canada’s national championships and the Paralympics, and this funding will help ensure their continued success well into the future.”

The Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) will manage the spinal cord research on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

“SHRF will work with an advisory panel to define the research parameters, then will make a call for proposals, and will direct the funds toward research that will have a direct impact on those who have sustained spinal cord injuries,” SHRF CEO June Bold said.

Enhanced funding to the Canadian Paraplegic Association of Saskatchewan (CPA), provided through the Ministry of Social Services, will go toward peer support and rehabilitation counselling. In addition, funding will enable the development of outreach services to address a gap in supporting Aboriginal people with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities. The CPA’s Peer Support Program provides opportunities for newly-injured individuals to meet and learn from other people who are currently active in their community and have successfully overcome challenges related to a physical disability. This funding will enable the CPA to enhance their services, supporting individuals with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities to achieve independence, self-reliance and full community participation.

Saskatchewan’s five-year, $4.3 million commitment to the Rick Hansen Institute Initiative comes at a time when people across Canada are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion World Tour, which caused a profound shift in the collective consciousness toward a belief in the potential of people with disabilities and raised $26 million for spinal cord injury research, rehabilitation and sport.


For more information, contact:

Brian Miller
Social Services
Phone: 306-787-0531
Email: [email protected]

Dan Maceluch
Rick Hansen Institute
Phone: 604-707-2114
Email: [email protected]

Tyler McMurchy
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: [email protected]

Jay Teneycke
Office of the Provincial Secretary
Phone: 306-798-6095
Email: [email protected]

Art Jones
Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport
Phone: 306-787-3506

Related Documents
Rick Hansen Institute.pdf (9.4 KB)