Accessible needs to be Affordable
MacWheelers Gym is one of the most advanced gyms in Ontario that works with PWDs (Person with disability) such as: Spinal cord injuries, MS, Spina Bifida, Stroke, etc.
Recent changes in managing the program might put a big gap into the actual existence of the program.
Here is the list of our concerns:
1. The membership price for an individual using the treadmill/ZeroG is $75/month, which only includes one session per month. Any additional sessions are completely not affordable even for someone with a full-time job.
2. Basic Membership price is more expensive than MacCardiac and MacSeniors, which makes no sense as we use the exact same equipment and help from volunteers.
3. Gym is being transitioned into a privately operated with no option of paying/getting subsidy/OHIP like any other Physiotherapy Gym.
Now, let’s look into each concern more closely.
1) Treadmill/ZeroG users don’t just want to do it for fun, their body needs it, as it shows huge improvements in their daily life. Not being able to use the equipment on the regular basis will reflect on their health. With the prices starting in September, maybe 1% of population will be able to keep up with their routine. Other people will suffer physically and emotionally. In a long run, people will stop attending.
2) Basic Membership prices need to be adjusted accordingly for every program. Able body gyms charge around $50/month which includes: Unlimited access to the gym, Parking, Swimming Pool, Sauna. Why do disable person has to pay more for less?
3) With a Change of PACE programs into privatized sector, you have to offer options for people with different incomes. For example, anyone on ODSP can go to Physiotherapy Gym for free - OHIP covers that if your doctor prescribes it to you. Any Physiotherapy Gym has plan payments that are covered by benefits. Either it is 80% or 100%.
Last but not least, If PACE is willing to function as a private organization – there are government fundings out there, someone just needs to look into it, for example someone from their McMaster Business School.
We know that the new pricing is the impact of PACE program being in a huge debt, we don’t understand how that happened, and nobody is willing to explain it.
Program needs to be managed properly, not by increasing the prices but by looking for other methods to get money from outside.
We can’t demand anything, but we are basically asking to keep the pricing as it was prior to the change, and start looking into ways to cover up those debts.
Together, we can make a difference.
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