As persons with disabilities, we face many challenges dealing with the day-to-day world. We know the frustration, loneliness and the sense of powerlessness. We know we have more to contribute than many people realize. So many people out there do not realize the potential and contribution disabled individuals can make to their communities and society. RISE knows and shares the experiences and triumphs that comes when barriers are broken and individuals take charge of their lives.


True independent living means participating fully and inclusively within a community and society. Individuals with disabilities have skills, determination, creativity, a passion for life, and they want to contribute. To achieve this, it requires all of us to take our responsibilities and rights seriously and ensure barriers are removed so we can all live independently and fulfill our goals and desires.


  • To be an organization run by people with disabilities for people with disabilities.

  • To offer opportunities for disabled persons to learn skills necessary for successful integration into the community including economic opportunity.

  • To develop and implement services, programs and activities that empower individuals rather than create dependencies.

  • To recognize that persons with disabilities have the right to take control of their own lives though increased knowledge and examination of options, making informed choices, and taking calculated risks.



RISE is a registered not-for-profit organization serving the Districts of Parry Sound and Muskoka for 20 years. 

In association with our many community partners, RISE provides disabled individuals and their families with research, information, support, and empowerment designed to facilitate greater independence and build an inclusive and accessible society where all persons with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully.


Empower adults with disabilities by eliminating barriers, promoting and encouraging their citizenship, and assisting them in attaining and maintaining their own unique, independent living goals.



RISE was incorporated on October 22,1998 as RISE: Resource Centre for Independent Living but actually began a number of years before under the able leadership of its founder, Kathie Horne who had grown up in the Parry Sound area. While doing her Masters Degree in Winnipeg, Manitoba, during the 1980’s, Kathie became acquainted with some of the founders of the Independent Living movement in Canada.  In the early 1990’s, Kathie laid the ground work to begin an Independent Living Centre in the Parry Sound / Muskoka districts by bringing a number of people with disabilities in the area together including her husband, Robert Foster. With the support of other Independent Living Centres in Ontario as well as the Canadian Association of Independent Living Centres (CAILC), RISE was started with its first office location at St. James Centennial United Church.

RISE received federal funding through CAILC to operate its office as well as other funding sources, both federally and provincially over the years. As an incorporated not-for-profit organization, RISE was required to work under a Board of Directors who initially came from the group of people Kathie Horne had brought together and Kathie became the initial Executive Director.

One of the earliest funded programs from HRDC was the set up Area Coordinators in East and West Parry Sound as well as Bracebridge and Huntsville in the Muskoka district.  This project laid the foundation for much of the early growth of RISE participants. RISE also received funding for two Crime Prevention projects (federal), Navigating the Waters Employment Support Program (federal), Office Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, Accessible Computer and a Healthy Eating Project all through the Trillium Foundation, and the Direct Funding Program through the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. CAILC which later became known as Independent Living Canada (IL Canada) accessed CORE funding through HRDC for RISE and this provided most of the funding to operate the RISE office. CAILC also accessed funds for a Fund Development Project as a way to find other ways to fund the RISE operation.

IL Canada’s office is located in Ottawa. There are 25 Independent Living Resource Centres (ILRC’s) across Canada. Of the 25 ILRC’s, there are 12 Independent Living Resource Centres (ILRC’s) in Ontario.

The Direct Funding - Self-Managed Attendant Services Program has become the flagship program of Independent Living in Canada.  This innovative program provides funds to qualifying people with permanent physical disabilities in Ontario to hire their own attendants and become Self-Managers. This program began as a pilot program in 1994, having been initiated by a number of consumers with disabilities to hire their own attendants. The program proved so successful that the Province of Ontario established permanent funding for the program in 1998 and the program continues to grow under the leadership of the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT) and the other eleven centres in Ontario. The administration of the Direct Funding program is run locally through RISE which serves 3 districts:  District of Parry Sound, District of Muskoka, and the District of Nipissing.


The following four fundamentals form the foundation for all RISE programs and services:


To identify and respond to the unmet needs of persons with disabilities, to work with the government, businesses, and the community through research and demonstration projects to develop and deliver the services and solutions necessary to our community.


To provide relevant information to consumers and the public regarding services, programs, products support, address issues of concern, and to facilitate referrals to additional community programs and agencies where required.


To provide the opportunity for consumers to exchange ideas, experiences and concerns. To promote, through mutual and group support, a comfortable atmosphere to aid in the learning of new skills, and provides a forum for sharing problem-solving techniques.


To provide self-management, skills development, giving individuals the necessary tools to act and speak on their own behalf.



Resource Centre for Independent Living (RCIL) supports new and innovative programs based on the following four principles:

Consumer Control:

More than 51% of people directly involved in the management and decision making of RCIL’s are people with disabilities.

RCIL’s provide programs and services to all persons regardless of the type and number of disabilities.

Promoting Integration and Full Participation:

RCIL’s support people with disabilities and encourages individuals to participate in all aspects of economic, cultural, and social life in Canada.

Community Based:
Consumers can identify issues in their own communities which affect their lives.



The Board is responsible for overseeing the organization’s activities and articulating the vision of the organization to its members and the community. Board members meet monthly to discuss and vote on the affairs of the organization. The focus of the Board is on reviewing the organization’s mission and strategic goals. Exemplifying the principle of Consumer Control, the RISE Board consists of 51% of persons with a disability.



Vice Chair





Honorary Member





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If you are interested in becoming a board member, check out our MEMBERSHIP section to download the form and find more information on what it means to be a member.


The RISE Resource Centre of Independent Living strives to keep operations as transparent as possible to maintain accountability to our members, consumers and the public who fund our services and programs. 



Ontario has a very important law called the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).  Passed in 2005, the purpose of this act is to achieve full accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, and spaces by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards. Businesses and organizations that provide goods and services to people in Ontario now have to meet certain accessibility standards in five key areas of everyday life:


1. Customer Service

2. Information & Communication

3. Transportation

4. Employment

5. Design of Public Spaces


Staggered timelines for these standards have been set by the province, and have been scheduled with the intention of establishing a barrier-free Ontario on or before January 1, 2025.

Strengthen our community.


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70 Isabella Street, Unit 116

Parry Sound, ON P2A 1M6

Phone: 705-746-6996

Toll Free: 1-800-634-6828

Fax: 705-746-2323


Monday - Thursday: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Saturday & Sunday: Closed


Canada, Canadian government, Canadian flag
Ontario Central Local Health Integration Network (TCLHIN)
Independent Living Canada (ILC), Independent Living Centre, accessibility for persons with a physical disability.
Centre for Independent Living (CILT), Independent Living Centre
Direct Funding, Self-Managed Attendant Service program

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