Inclusive recreation

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Specialized programs and services

The City of Ottawa welcomes people with disabilities to courses and camps offered by Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services. These can be viewed on Register Ottawa.

The Inclusive Recreation unit can help individuals integrate into these programs through customized adaptations and supports. Specialized adapted programs are also offered.

Support services

Shared Care

A one-to-one program that provides individual integration support to children with disabilities, helping them to successfully take part in their chosen camps. During the summer months, each person is eligible for up to two weeks of support, with our goal being to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from Shared Care. Visit Register Ottawa for details.

Note: Shared Care is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend registering for Shared Care soon after registering for a summer camp or PA Day-camp. Please complete an intake assessment well before the start date to ensure we can provide the best possible support.

Inclusive Mentor support

Some children may not need full one-to-one support but can benefit from adaptations to certain programs. The City of Ottawa has experienced Inclusive Mentors who can provide additional training, resources and support to program staff. Contact us for more information.

Specialized programs

Inclusive Recreation offers a variety of specialized programs which address a range of disabilities. Some focus on therapeutic activities, while others put the spotlight on fitness, culture, or social fun. Social and recreational offerings change frequently and include programs like dance, social nights, art, and exercise, all of which are described on Register Ottawa. Private swimming lessons are available and can be arranged through your neighbourhood aquatics facility.

Some programs require referrals by a third-party agency and/or assessments and registration with one of our coordinators. Contact us about those. Other recreation and cultural programs are listed on Register Ottawa where you can browse the offerings and sign-up. Use the chart below to help find the most suitable program and the different registration requirements for each.

Adult (18+) programs listed by needs type and registration method
  Developmental Cognitive Therapeutic Medically fragile or technology dependent To register
Variety Adult Day Program ✔️ ✔️ ✔️   Contact
Acquired Brain Injury     ✔️   Contact
Summer Plus camp ✔️ ✔️     Register Ottawa
Rock, Rattle and Roll     ✔️ ✔️ Register Ottawa
Social recreation camps (various) ✔️ ✔️     Register Ottawa
Other inclusive recreation and cultural ✔️ ✔️ ✔️   Register Ottawa  
Youth (approximate ages 13 to 17) programs listed by needs type and registration method
  Developmental Cognitive Therapeutic Medically fragile or technology dependent To register
Social recreation camps (various) ✔️ ✔️     Register Ottawa
Inclusive private swim lessons  ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Register Ottawa to view. Contact for intake before registering.
Spirit     ✔️ ✔️ Contact  
Other inclusive recreation and cultural ✔️ ✔️ ✔️   Register Ottawa  
Child (ages 5 to 12) programs listed by needs type and registration method
  Developmental Cognitive Therapeutic Medically fragile or technology dependent To register
Inclusive swim colours yellow ✔️ ✔️ ✔️   Register Ottawa
Inclusive swim colours coral ✔️ ✔️ ✔️   Register Ottawa
Inclusive private swim lessons  ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ Register Ottawa to view. Contact for intake before registering.
Spirit     ✔️ ✔️ Referral by the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Other inclusive recreation and cultural ✔️ ✔️ ✔️   Register Ottawa

Registration information

For general information about registration dates and processes, see Courses and Camps.

Two ways to register

  1. Contact Inclusive Recreation to sign up for all specialized programs shown in the Specialized Programs chart that are not on our registration site, such as Acquired Brain Injury, Variety Day programs and other therapeutic programs.
  2. Use Register Ottawa to browse and register for:
    1. Camps, courses or PA days offered by Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services
    2. Certain specialized Inclusive Recreation programs, such as Summer Plus camp, Rock, Rattle and Roll and various social recreation camps
    3. Shared Care support in summer camps and PA Day-camps.
    4. Important! Registration for Shared Care is a separate process that should be completed after registering for summer- or PA Day-camps. After you have signed up for the camps find and register for the Shared Care program that matches the dates and district (see list) of the camp.

Helpful tips for using Register Ottawa

  • Search – To help find a program close to home, try searching within your district (see list) or search for a neighbourhood facility.
  • Specialized programs – Can be found by selecting “Activities” at the top of the Activity Search page and then selecting “Inclusive Recreation” from the list that appears.
  • Bookmarks – Can be used in Register Ottawa to save camps and courses of interest. Come back to them later when you are ready to register.
screen shot of Register Ottawa

After registering on Register Ottawa

  1. An intake meeting may be arranged with an Inclusive Recreation coordinator at a nearby recreation center or virtually as needed. Criteria and individual needs are discussed to ensure proper fit and accommodation within the selected program.
  2. Be sure to complete and submit the required forms provided before the camp begins.
  3. If you are unable to register yourself or your child with a disability into a specialized program or integrated service, reach out to your Inclusive coordinator or email Inclusive Recreation for a list of other services in the region that may align with your needs.

Video - summer camps - frequently asked questions

My name is Christina McCormick. I'm with the City of Ottawa in the Parks and Recreation Department within Inclusive Recreation.
What summer camps does the city offer for people with disabilities?
We have integrated camps as well as more specialized or adapted camps. Within our integrated camps we have shared care support for children with disabilities to help them integrate in our summer camp programs. They can take up to two weeks of camp and they would register into the regular camp setting as well as the support.
We also offer what we call support the mentor support. The mentor would come around to each camp to help with the more mild to moderate children who have disabilities kind of integrate into the camp. So an example of an integration might be a reward system, or if they're used to reminders, making sure those are in place. The other option as well is if you have a child with a special with a disability who has their own support worker, there are always welcome to come to camp
What about specialized or adapted programs?
We have a program for children with complex needs, the Spirit program, which is a referral basis. So you would contact your inclusive recreation coordinator to register into that camp to make sure it's a good fit. We also have our Rock, Rattle and Roll for adults with more medically fragile needs as well. We also have our summer plus program. We have up to five camps across the city of Ottawa. We have also a sixth program in French and that's for adults with developmental disabilities where they go out into the community. They do some different activities throughout the day, just like a regular camp, but more in a specialized environment with specialized staff. We also have our social recreation camps specifically at Hintonburg Community Center. They also have camps there for adults with disabilities.
Which camp is right for you?
Reach out to the inclusive coordinator in your area to, you know, to set up a meeting, possibly talk to you over the phone and try to figure out what the best camp is.
It will depend on the specific disability of the individual. It could also be specific to age as well as the criteria. So ensuring it's the right fit for that person. The other thing you can do is reach out to the email below to get more information. Ensure that you have enough information about the camp. We do have descriptions of the camp, so please make sure to read those over, but we're always willing to help, if you have any questions.
How can the participants needs be accomodated within our summer camps?
Once registered, you would get a phone call or an email asking to set up an intake.
With that intake, we would meet at a recreation center close to you. We would go over the criteria for the program. So we would go over the criteria and ensure that it's the right fit for your participant, whether it's an adult or a child. We go over the needs of the person. Every individual with a disability that is different and they have different needs, such as everybody does. So just reviewing their needs, what works well at home, what works well at school. So that way we can try to incorporate it as best we can within the summer camps.
So you can actually start viewing the summer camps on January 2nd. As far as shared care goals, please remember that it's important to register for the camp of your choice as well as for the shared care support. The other piece too, is that our programs do fill up quickly. It's important that if you aren't able to get in to put yourself on the waitlist and let the inclusive coordinator in your area know that they're on the waitlist. Once you are registered, the inclusive coordinator person in your area will contact you. You can also reach out to them as well to set up that intake to ensure it's the right fit for your participant. Also, just to note our Spirit and our Rock, Rattle and Roll program, they are actually by referral. So if you are interested in either of those programs, please reach out to the coordinator and they can walk you through that process.
Are there forms to fill out before the participant can start camp?
We would also ask within all of our camps we have enrollment forms. We would get those all filled out so you wouldn't have to worry about those kinds of things as well as if they take medication and if there's trip forms as well. The other thing too, is if you're already registered into the program, an inclusive coordinator would reach out to you before the camp begins. Luckily, this year we're registering fairly early, so it'll be good to get all that information ahead of time. So the more information that you can give us, the better and it'll be more successful. But for the participant within the program.
Is there financial assistance available?
We do have our Ottawa Hand in Hand program, which we offer within recreation for low income families as well as people who are on ODSP. We also have the Play Free
initiative that we're continuing with, as well as the overall 10% discount for some children's summer camps.
Tell us more about the summer camp staff at inclusive recreation.
When we hire the staff, we ask that they have an education in a related field. So it could be that they're working towards their psychology degree or they're in the developmental service worker program or the autism program. or the Child and Youth worker program. So we hire staff who have that kind of education. We also hire staff who have experience working with children and youth or adults with disabilities in camp setting in school settings. We also provide them with crisis prevention, intervention training.
We ask that all staff come with a recent vulnerable sector police record check and we provide onsite training within the camp, as well as our own Inclusive Recreation training.
What can participants expect from their summer camp?
So of course it depends on the camp that you choose. So if it's more specialized or adapted versus inclusive,but overall, most camps will have group games. We might have some craft or art activities as well as physical games. A lot of the camps do as well go swimming. They may go on a community outing to a museum or park. You might have special guests come to us. So maybe having a magician on site or someone to sing with us, or do Zumba, whatever the case may be.
What if I wasn’t able to register for a City of Ottawa summer camp?
So what we do is we compile a resource list of all the camps within the region of Ottawa, so we have some pretty close relationships with them. And what we do is we can offer the families or the caregivers a list of those resources so they're aware of other camps that are are possibly close to them that would work better for the participant or that might work in tandem with with our city programs. So just to know that's out there, you can always reach out to your inclusive coordinator within your district. You can also again, you can contact the email below for inclusive recreation, and we'd be glad to send you some resources of other camps as well.

Summer camp districts





Financial assistance – Aid is available through the Ottawa Hand in Hand program and Play Free initiative, along with a 10% discount for selected children’s summer camps. 

Scheduled payments – For payment information or help, please contact the Inclusive Recreation Admin Clerk at 613-580-2424 ext. 29283.

Staff roles and contact information

Staff roles

Inclusive Recreation coordinators develop and advocate for specialized programs, courses, and camps, conduct needs assessments, provide information, and training. They also answer questions related to the integration of persons with disabilities into the City of Ottawa’s Recreation and Cultural courses and camps. They are knowledgeable of the policies and procedures and can support you through the registration process.

Inclusive Recreation staff are experienced in working with individuals with disabilities. They undergo crisis prevention and intervention training, have recent vulnerable sector police record checks, and receive inclusive recreation training.

Contact us

Our Inclusive Recreation coordinators are available to answer your questions. To schedule a telephone meeting or assessment with our staff, please call the Inclusive Recreation coordinator in your district or send an email to the general mailbox.

  • East District: 613-580-2424 ext. 29300
  • Central District: 613-580-2424 ext. 29292
  • South District: 613-580-2424 ext. 29291
  • West District: 613-580-2424 ext. 41226
  • Health Programs: 613-580-2424 ext. 29320
  • Hintonburg Social Recreation programs 613-580-2424 ext. 37411


Clients will have the option of providing feedback using the following methods:

  1. By phone: 3-1-1
  2. In person: the client can go to any RCFS customer service counter and speak to the City of Ottawa employee.
  3. In writing: the client may leave a written comment in a Client Comment Box. These boxes are available to the public in all Recreation Facilities.
  4. By email:

Comments specific to accessibility issues can be provided by email to