OTTAWA – One of the most significant figures in the history of the Paralympic Movement and growth of Para sport across Canada is joining the Paralympic Foundation of Canada (PFC), as Dr. Robert Steadward, OC, AOE, LLD, officially becomes the fourth member of the charitable organization’s honorary board on Thursday.
“A true pioneer and life-long leader in Para sport, Dr. Steadward continues to make an impact on the Canadian Paralympic Movement,” said Jim Westlake, chair, Paralympic Foundation of Canada. “On behalf of the Paralympic Foundation of Canada’s Board of Directors, I am thrilled to announce his appointment to our honorary Board of Directors today. We are excited to work with him to further ensure that all Canadians with a disability can access sport.”
One of the founding members of the International Paralympic Committee in 1989, Dr. Steadward was inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame as a builder in 2000. He was elected as founding president of the IPC, a position he held for 12 years, helping the Paralympic Games grow into the one of the largest sporting events in the world. He has also held many leadership roles within the Canadian Paralympic Committee, including coach, chef de mission, and president.
A professor at the University of Alberta for over 30 years, he has also made substantial advances in adaptive and Paralympic sport as an academic, researcher, and sport scientist. He still remains involved with The Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement, a groundbreaking health, fitness, and research centre in Edmonton dedicated to providing opportunities for people with disabilities to be active.
"Each of us has to believe that we can make a difference, so never underestimate the power of the human spirit and when all else fails, believe in yourself,” said Dr. Steadward, who is an Officer of the Order of Canada, as well as a member of the Paralympic Order and Olympic Order. “Sport at all levels certainly has the power to change lives, and I have seen firsthand the impact it can have on people with a disability.
“The work of the Paralympic Foundation of Canada to provide more opportunities for people across Canada to access sport is so important in creating a more inclusive sport system. I am proud to have been involved with the Paralympic Movement my entire career and look forward to continuing this work.”
Dr. Steadward, who believes “no one ever achieves anything on their own” becomes the fourth member of the volunteer-based honorary board, joining Chantal Petitclerc, Rick Hansen, and Scott Russell to further their efforts in promoting sport for people with a disability and making sport accessible for every person across the country. Members of the honorary board are appointed by the Paralympic Foundation of Canada’s Board of Directors.
The Paralympic Foundation of Canada is a registered charitable foundation and the philanthropic arm of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Founded in 2015, the PFC believes that every single Canadian should be able to imagine themselves at the start line, regardless of ability.