March of Dimes Canada

we serve these populations

  • children and youth
  • Disabilities

we need help with:

  • employment
  • mental health
  • physical health

March of Dimes Canada was founded in 1951 to assist individuals stricken by polio. Upon the advent of the Salk vaccine, our purpose was expanded to serve all adults with physical disabilities, by maximizing their independence, personal empowerment and community participation.

In 2001, we expanded their mandate to include children and youth. Today, March of Dimes Canada is one of the largest providers of community-based services to children and adults with physical disabilities in Ontario, with over 1,600 employees in over 90 locations. In 2006, we began to extend our programs nationally, and currently also have services available in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, with plans to further expand across Canada.

In 2019-20, we provided almost 4.0 million hours of direct service to 65,000 children and adults across Canada, who suffer from multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, acquired brain injuries, the effects of stroke or polio, and other conditions. The services provided cover a broad range of needs including Employment and Recreation programs, Independent Living Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, Peer Support programs for stroke survivors, and much more. Programs are offered in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. March of Dimes Canada has been accredited by Imagine Canada’s Standards Program for excellence in financial accountability and transparency, fundraising, and governance.March of Dimes Canada’s Learning Independence for Future Empowerment (LIFE) program helps youth with physical disabilities develop life skills such as financial management, healthy living, and using public transit, to move them toward an independent life. Young adults with physical disabilities, upon graduating from school, often need extra assistance to prepare them for the challenges of aging out of youth services. LIFE offers a combination of Life Skills Workshops, Transit Training (how to use public transit with a physical disability), Social & Recreation Outings, and Conductive Education, a physical rehabilitation program.

MODC operates successful LIFE programs in the Greater Toronto Area, and in Fall 2017, in response to local pleas from persons with disabilities, families and caregivers, health professionals and other disability services organizations, we launched a two-week Calgary LIFE pilot program, delivering many of the components of the full-time LIFE programs in Toronto. The success of the pilot and the feedback from the participants, many of whom hoped the full LIFE program would come to Calgary, led us to hold a full 10-week LIFE program session in Calgary in 2018, and two full sessions in 2019.

Activities included classroom workshops on topics such as financial literacy and healthy living; social and recreational outings including rock climbing and hiking the Fish Creek accessible trail; and music therapy sessions.

The LIFE Calgary program facilitated some big changes for the participants, as a result of their participation in the program, including:

– Takes conventional transit independently

– Volunteers at Autism Calgary

– Volunteer position at Studio Bell (this is one of the places LIFE visited on an outing)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in early 2020 we adapted LIFE into a number of virtual (online) workshops covering topics such as financial literacy, job search, and nutrition, as well as exercise and recreational programming. Virtual program delivery is the best solution we can offer right now so participants can benefit from our educational and social programs while staying safe at home. Operating the program virtually also provides a sense of community to our participants, and pushes back against feelings of isolation that people with disabilities often feel, doubly so in these difficult times.

LIFE instructors also contact all program participants or caregivers individually by phone, texts, emails, and video conferencing (Zoom) meetings to provide a “wellness check” on a regular basis.

 Our goal is to bring the full LIFE program to Calgary, with four 10-week sessions held throughout the year, offering the full range of LIFE programming, once in-person programming becomes possible once again.

You can help expand the Calgary LIFE program, by providing:

  • Funding support: Donations will go toward funding classroom and workshop space, recreational outings and transit training trips, and equipment such as adaptive cookware for healthy cooking classes.
  • Gift-in-Kind donations: Calgary LIFE needs items such as tablet computers for classroom work.
  • Volunteering: Volunteers can draw on their career experiences to provide classroom presentations in areas such as the job search or financial literacy to our participants. We also need volunteers to assist our participants in classroom activities and recreational outings.

Are you a Calgary Foundation Fundholder?

Contact Info

Kimberly Smith

Coordinator Community Programs and After Stroke (CPAS)



More Info

Charity Number: #107883928RR0001

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Financial Statements / Annual Reports

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