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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 opened with its 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 non-profit charitable 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.  Many years have gone by since then, and Kathie Horne has come full circle. She was awarded an Honorary Life Member on RISE's Board of Directors in January 2023.

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 later became known as Independent Living Canada (IL Canada).  CORE funding was received from IL Canada through the HRDC 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 mailing address is in Ottawa. There are 24 Independent Living Resource Centres (ILRC’s) across Canada. Of the 24 ILRC’s, there are 11 Independent Living Resource Centres (ILRC’s) in Ontario.


The Direct Funding Self-Managed Attendant Services Program is a provincially-funded program through the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and has become the flagship program of RISE.  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: 

Parry Sound, Muskoka, and Nipissing.

​For more information on the Direct Funding Program, click here.


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