Ensuring Access to Parks and Recreation Programs.

The City of Toronto subsidizes programs for residents regardless of income. But for anyone who has ever tried to register themselves or their children for a program, they know that these programs are hard to get. Space is always at a premium and it is not necessarily true that free city programs are being used by the most disadvantaged. We need to tear down the barriers to access that are often insurmountable if you can’t afford, can’t understand, or are overwhelmed by the process.

Because what’s available isn’t always accessible and what seems fair isn’t always right.

We need to reconsider how we make programs available to the community. For me, this means that we must ensure that families who couldn’t otherwise afford to send their kids to camp or other programs are put at the front of the line.

We can achieve this with simple changes like “smart” processes that cross-reference registration with postal codes and other data in order to ensure that families who need it most are prioritized for free programs and needs-based costing or subsidies.

Our neighbourhoods are built and made stronger in our community centres and through our parks and recreation programs. If we believe that the underlying strength of our community is its diversity, then we must ensure that this is reflected in how we administer our community programs.