Saanich introduces new inclusion services program

August 20, 2019

News release

For immediate release

Saanich introduces new inclusion services program

Saanich, BC – The District of Saanich has reaffirmed its commitment to provide safe and accessible recreation opportunities for people of all abilities with the roll out of its new inclusion services program.

“In partnership with Panorama Recreation Centre, we’re redesigning the way we provide support programs to meet the growing and broadening needs of our residents,” said Manager of Community Services Cristina Caravaca. “We’ll start with the new Leisure Assistant Pass this fall, then work toward inclusive programming for other areas in need of support. Our vision is a barrier-free community for all.”

Leisure Assistant Pass

The Leisure Assistant Pass is the first of component of the new inclusion services program delivered directly to residents by Saanich’s Parks and Recreation Department. Saanich residents can now apply for a Leisure Assistant Pass. The pass is for people with disabilities, of all ages, who need the assistance of a support person for leisure activities.

The pass allows free or reduced admission for one support person at participating venues. The pass encourages participation while ensuring the person with a disability doesn’t incur extra costs. Passes are valid for three years from the date of issue.

Residents may visit any Saanich recreation centre or contact or 250-475-5422 to apply for a Leisure Assistant Pass.

These service delivery changes reflect Saanich’s intention to provide direct inclusion services to the community through its Parks and Recreation Department without an intermediary. Residents will not lose any services or access with the changes. Saanich will honour any valid Recreation Integration Victoria passes.

New areas to support

Inclusion in Saanich is much broader than persons with disabilities. There are new and expanding groups that need support such as growing older adult populations, youth-at-risk and new Canadians. Saanich will hire a part-time programmer to develop future programming for these areas of need. Staff will use the recent market analysis study as a framework to set priorities and make decisions about future programming and service delivery. 

Accessibility at Saanich recreation centres

Saanich’s four recreation centres currently include a variety of accessible and inclusive services and equipment:

  • Automatic doors;
  • Disabled parking spaces;
  • Extra-wide parking stalls for ramped accessible vehicles;
  • Designated HandyDART loading zones;
  • Accessible washroom and family change rooms with lifts;
  • Accessible weight rooms;
  • Elevators and ramps;
  • Overhead lifts and chair lifts for pool access;
  • Scooter charging stations;
  • Aquatic wheelchairs; and
  • Adapted equipment including, arm ergometer, bands, balls NuStep cross trainers, recumbent bikes, treadmills, cable crossover machines, accessible picnic tables, adjustable height art tables and pottery wheels.

Learn more

Read more about the Leisure Assistant Pass and inclusion services at


Media contacts:

Kelli-Ann Armstrong
Senior Manager, Recreation Services

Cristina Caravaca
Manager of Community Services