Youth Recreation Programs ARE ESSENTIAL. Let the kids PLAY Doug, don't LOCK THEM UP.

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During the first lockdown of this pandemic in the Province of Ontario, children were removed from school and taught virtually for a duration of 14 weeks.  During this time, they had no access to live physical education classes or school level recreational and competitive sport programming.  To add to this, ALL LIVE community level youth recreational programming was forbidden with some programs being forced to remain closed upwards of 4+ months!

In the Fall, the Province insisted that schools would be safe for live instruction and permitted a return to live teaching, but again no competitive sports would be permitted.  Virtually all community level youth recreational programming was permitted to restart as well at this time under strict guidelines as per the Province’s ‘Zone Colour’ system. 

Now as we prepare to enter the Province’s second mandated lockdown, our youth are once again having ALL of their live recreational and sport programming removed.  This is not acceptable as recreational programming for youth is ESSENTIAL for healthy development.  There have literally been thousands of studies and reports completed showing that recreational programming for youth is not only essential for physical health but for proper social and mental health development of young people.  One need look no further than studies and reports published by Participaction, an organization funded in part by the Federal and Provincial Governments, to see just how essential recreational programming and exercise is for our youth.  A Participaction Report published on June 17, 2020 goes into great depth as to the physical, social and mental benefits of physical activity for youth ages 5 to 17.  The report goes into greater depth as to the mental health ‘epidemic’ that is currently afflicting our youth including such things as smartphone addiction, depression, and inattention and hyperactivity and how physical activity is essential to help combat these illnesses.  To view the full report please follow this link: 

https://participaction.cdn.prismic.io/participaction/f6854240-ef7c-448c-ae5c-5634c41a0170_2020_Report_Card_Children_and_Youth_Full_Report.pdf

To this end, we demand that the Province classify all youth recreational programming including such activities as dance, gymnastics, martial arts, parkour, team sports, etc. as essential and permit these organizations to recommence operations immediately.  Given the Province is in a lockdown state, these organizations would be required to operate under the “Red Zone” protocols as highlighted in the Province’s “COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open — Lockdown Measures”.  As restrictions are lifted, these organizations would move into lower risk zones and operate again as per the conditions as set out in the document.

In the words of the Premier of Ontario today, Mr. Doug Ford, December 22, 2020, “health trumps’ all.  Well Mr. Premier there is more to ‘health’ then just COVID to consider.  The government is so fixated on COVID and COVID alone, so many other ‘health’ aspects are falling through the cracks and in the case of our youth enough is enough. 

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