News & Events

Official Notice of Virtual Annual Members' Meeting (AMM) - December 16, 7 pm

posted 16 Nov 2020, 19:08 by Programs Chair   [ updated 16 Nov 2020, 19:10 ]

We are inviting all volunteers, athletes, community members to join Special Olympics Ontario - Greater Ottawa's Council for our virtual Annual Member's Meeting (AMM) on December 16, 2020 at 7 pm

We will be providing a general overview of SOO Greater Ottawa's strategic and financial position, along with a question and answer period with our Council Members.

We'll be talking about return to programming, including safety precautions we've put in place to protect volunteers and athletes as we kick start in-person programming again after pausing it over the summer due to COVID-19. 

We currently have four council positions up for election. If you believe you have the skills and the interest to run for these positions, please send a declaration of interest via e-mail to our programs chair, Lindsay McPhee (, ideally before December 9th, 2020Positions up for election this year are as follows:

1. Communications Lead - Vacant - job description 

2. Fundraising Lead - Currently in role and running: Lizzie Lennox

3. Athlete Registrar - Currently in role and running: Lise Lebeau - job description

4. Secretary - Currently in role and running - Laurinda Ferreira - job description

Nominations can be made any time up to and including on the floor at the AMM on December 16, 2020 by submitting a declaration of interest to Lindsay McPhee (

To gauge numbers, we've set up a registration page Please register to get access to link to join

Friends and family are welcome! We look forward to hosting you virtually on December 16!

COVID-19 Update: Return to programming (RTP)

posted 2 Oct 2020, 16:33 by Programs Chair

Dear Athletes, (Parents and Guardians):

We are excited to announce that Return to Programming is underway for certain Ottawa clubs. We can't wait to welcome athletes back to in-person programming, where it makes sense for them. Some specific updates around the process are provided below. 

Registration for fall programming

We won't be hosting an in-person registration day this year, given the current health and safety protocols around social distancing. We don't think it would be safe given the number of people who typically come out in person to register. Registration will be on a sport-by-sport basis as per below. 

Instead, head coaches/team managers will be reaching out to past participants in their club for expressions of interest in returning. Guidelines around RTP, for the most part, limit participation to returning athletes. 

Expression of interest steps (once RTP forms for club have been approved by SOO)

1.     you will receive an email from head coach/team manager asking you if you would like to participate this season (if you previously participated) 

2.     you will respond indicating your interest in participating - please review sport and facility requirements prior to doing so to ensure you can comply 

a.     see further note re requirements/guidelines below 

3.     if # athletes who express interest is greater than program capacity, roster will be determined by lottery, you will be notified prior to lottery if this is the case 

a.     see further note re capacities below 

4.     if you are accepted into program, you'll receive a confirmation email from your head coach/team manager with information on the following: 

a.     reiterating health and safety guidelines, specifically those related to before, during and after practice 

b.     date/time/location of first practice 

c.     cost of program - payment required at first practice 

d.     any additional information re changes to training due to social distancing requirements 

5.     at first practice, you'll sign a declaration and provide payment 

a.     see further note re first practice below 

So far we have been able to kick start this process with Orleans swimming and modified Floor hockey. Past athletes in those programs should have received emails with detailed information on specific sport and facilities guidelines/requirements. We will be in touch with head coaches/team managers of other fall/winter clubs in the next couple days to determine when it might be safe for them to return to programming. Please be patient as we work through RTP on a sport-by-sport basis. If you haven't heard from your head coach/team manager, it means that club is not ready to start back up yet. 

Health and safety requirements/guidelines for RTP

Note that each sport has specific club guidelines as well as guidelines re before, during, and after practice; but we'd like to highlight the following requirement that applies to all clubs: 

· athletes who are unable to follow verbal instructions regarding physical distancing or who require "physical manipulation/hand over hand" instructions to complete drills are recommended to continue with virtual training or general fitness training at this time

Please ensure you only express interest if you're able to follow verbal instructions, can physically distance, don't require physical manipulation, and can comply with any additional sport/facilities requirements. Unfortunately we need to apply any and all requirements/guidelines strictly, and won't be able to accommodate any exception to them. We have asked head coaches/team managers to vet lists after expressions of interest are collected as they should know best whether an athlete can comply with the requirements to ensure health and safety of all involved. 


As an FYI, clubs will have much lower capacities due to health and safety requirements. Because of this, it's possible more sports will go to lottery, but we expect there will also be a number of athletes who won't be returning to in-person programming yet either due to inability to comply with health and safety requirements and/or them not feeling safe to return given their circumstances. Lottery process will be similar to last year. If the final roster will be determined by lottery, athletes who expressed interest will be notified in advance of it happening. 

What to expect at first practice 

You will be asked to sign a covid declaration, and attendance will be taken at first practice and every practice after. You will not be able to participate until you sign the declaration. You will also need to bring payment in the form of cheque, money order, or cash. Please place in sealed envelope with the following information written on the outside: 

· athlete name 

· club 

· method of payment 

· amount of payment 

Your head coach/team manager will collect both the form and payment.


Note that we have reached out to ParaTranspo re service given the requirement to "get in, train, get out." Please let your head coach/team manager know you're worried about being able to show up max 15 minutes before and leave within 15 minutes of the end of practice. 

Also note, as always, all of the above could change if the province or SOO puts out new regulations around social distancing/gathering limits etc. We have to keep in mind that we're still in a fluid environment due to COVID but we're hoping we'll be able to have in-person programming up and running for a while. 

Please don't hesitate to reach out to Lindsay McPhee, Programs or your head coach/team manager if you have any questions on the above, or if anything isn't clear. All of the above is because your health and safety is of the utmost importance to us. We can't wait to welcome you back if it makes sense for you! Stay tuned for more updates around virtual programming and SOO's new tablet program. 


- Your SOO Greater Ottawa Council

COVID-19 Update: Summer programming

posted 3 May 2020, 18:27 by Programs Chair

Good evening SOO GO community,
As you may have already seen,
Special Olympics Ontario
has extended the suspension of programming/fundraising etc to June 30, 2020. Given this further extension, summer programming won't be kicking off until earliest July 2020. Until we know when we'll be able to start back up, we're in a holding pattern to determine next steps for summer.
We recommend signing up for SOO's newsletter as they are sending out great information around staying Healthy@Home, staying connected on a regular basis, and they'll be sending out up-to-date information around when we'll be able to start back up as well.
We recognize that many of you are anxious to see friends and get back to the sports you love, but your safety is our priority and until SOO, as well as local public health authorities, say it's okay, we can't move ahead with our programming.
We're thinking of you and we hope you're staying safe and staying connected (virtually) to friends and family.
- Special Olympics Ottawa Council

COVID-19 Update from SOO

posted 28 Apr 2020, 13:13 by Admin Chair

Communication Advisory - COVID-19

Attention: Special Olympics Ontario Communities, Clubs, Volunteers, Athletes, Partners, Associates and Families
I hope everyone is doing well. 

Firstly, I would like to begin by thanking all volunteers for your continued efforts in connecting with our athletes and families. We certainly recognize that you do this as your own personal lives have been turned upside down, just like everyone else.  

Public health information locally and across Canada continues with a cautious and deliberate approach to our safety. In consultation with many of our local programs, Special Olympics Ontario is directing that all local sport programs, competitions, fundraisers and any related activities continue to be suspended until June 30, 2020.  

We will continue to monitor and evaluate the status of this pandemic on a weekly basis and advise you on or before June 30th. Our priority, for now, is to stay focused on developing and supporting initiatives focused on keeping our athletes, volunteers and partners connected through this very difficult time. 

For more information and updates, please visit the Special Olympics Ontario website

Should you have any questions or would like to speak with a staff person about the pandemic, please email or call
1-888-333-5515 ext. 311 to leave a voice message and we will follow up with you.  

Stay safe everyone!

Thank you for your understanding,
Glenn MacDonell
President & CEO

cc: Special Olympics Board of Directors

COVID-19 Update - Summer registration

posted 26 Mar 2020, 19:35 by Admin Chair

March 26, 2020

Re: COVID-19 Update - Summer registration
To: Athletes, Volunteers, and all members of the SOO Greater Ottawa Community
From: SOO Greater Ottawa Community Council

Dear Athletes, Volunteers, and SOO Greater Ottawa Community Members

Thank you for your patience over the last 10 days as we have continued to work closely with Special Olympics Ontario to review the best path forward for Summer Program Registration. We understand the current situation is impacting each of you in different ways, and not knowing only adds to stress and anxiety. 

On March 24th, Special Olympics Ontario extended the suspension of all programming, competitions, fundraising, and related activities until April 30th. In addition, they also announced the postponement of the 2020 Provincial Spring Games and the 2020 Provincial School Championships. 

In light of these decisions, SOO Greater Ottawa council has decided to postpone summer registration. Please note this decision was not taken lightly and we understand how excited we all are to get back to the programming that means so much to all of us. As soon as start dates for summer programming are confirmed, we'll kick start the registration process, and upload the summer 2020 registration form and details to our website and social media.

Hang in there and let us know if we can support you in any way. Stay safe and stay healthy. We're in this together. 

Special Olympics Ontario - Communication Advisory COVID-19

posted 25 Mar 2020, 06:44 by Admin Chair

March 24, 2020

Communication Advisory - COVID-19

Attention:   Special Olympics Ontario Communities, Clubs, Volunteers, Athletes, Partners, Associates and Families

In consultation with local and provincial health authorities and Special Olympics programs across Canada, please be advised that Special Olympics Ontario is continuing its directive that all local sport programs, competitions, fundraisers and related activities continue to be suspended until April 30, 2020.

We will continue to monitor and evaluate the status of the pandemic on a month-to-month basis and advise you on or before April 30th regarding the future status of our programs.

Special Olympics Ontario staff are hard at work on a number of initiatives focused on keeping athletes, volunteers and partners active, connected, informed and positive through this very difficult time.

For more information and updates, please visit the Special Olympics Ontario website at:

Should you have any questions or would like to speak with a staff person please email or call 1-888-333-5515 ext. 311 to leave a voice message  and we will follow up with you.

Stay Safe Everyone!

Thanks for your understanding,

Glenn MacDonell
President & CEO

Updated Statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

posted 14 Mar 2020, 07:25 by Admin Chair

March 14, 2020

Re: Updated Statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
To: Athletes, Volunteers, and all members of the SOO Greater Ottawa Community
From: SOO Greater Ottawa Community Council

Dear Athletes, Volunteers, and SOO Greater Ottawa Community Members

By now many of you have seen the March 13th statement from Glenn MacDonell, President & CEO of Special Olympics Ontario regarding the decision to suspend programming until March 31, 2020.

We understand that for many of our athletes, volunteers, and their families, this situation will create an understandable amount of uncertainty and you will have questions about how SOO Greater Ottawa is managing this news and programming in our community. In light of this, the SOO Greater Ottawa Council is taking the following steps:

1. Effective immediately, we are announcing the end of the Winter/Spring Program season. Though some sports may have had additional practices scheduled into April, these will not take place.This cancellation includes any planned social events as well, such as end of season parties/gatherings. 

2. All Special Olympics travel, tournaments and events through March 31st are suspended regardless of size. Reimbursements will be arranged for athletes who have paid registration fees for impacted events. We will release a communication for reimbursements at a later date, please do not contact the Treasurer at this time. For tournaments scheduled to take place after March 31st, council and Head Coaches will remain in contact with tournament organizers and notify affected athletes of any changes. 

3. We will not be issuing refunds for the regular sport season as more than 75% of the season has now passed for all programs.

4. We will be conducting summer registration by mail-in or drop off only. We will add a section to the form to enter credit card information, and council will manually process those payments if/when the time comes to start summer sports. Those wanting to pay with cash or unable to mail-in, will have options available for dropping off their forms at a specific location/locations. Cheques and credit card payments will not be processed/cash will not be deposited until we confirm the start date of summer programming. A separate communication regarding the summer registration process will follow in the coming days. Please hold any questions about registration until that time.

5. We will maintain our existing facility bookings for our summer sport programs in the event that SOO determines a return to regular sport programming is safe and subject to the availability of relevant facilities (such as schools).

6. While we are optimistic, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the Athlete's Banquet to a date to be determined until we can be sure the health and well-being of our athletes can be sufficiently guaranteed.

We understand that the suspension of our programs is upsetting for many, as we all appreciate the value and joy of participating in community sport. We will continue to share regular updates with the community as the situation evolves. In the interim, please continue to follow the guidance of the relevant public health authorities. You can continue to find key information on both the Special Olympics Ontario and SOO Greater Ottawa websites.

Best Regards,

Kyle, Lindsay, & the Special Olympics Ontario Greater Ottawa Community Council    

SOO Greater Ottawa Statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

posted 12 Mar 2020, 09:12 by Admin Chair

March 12, 2020

Re: Statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
To: Athletes, Volunteers and all members of the SOO Greater Ottawa Community
From: SOO Greater Ottawa Community Council

Dear Athletes, Volunteers, and SOO Greater Ottawa Community Members

As many of you may be aware, yesterday marked the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus in Ottawa, and today a second case was confirmed. Additionally, the World Health Organization has upgraded its alert on COVID-19 from a "public health emergency of international concern" to a "pandemic."

We understand that for many of our athletes, volunteers, and their families, this situation is cause for concern. First, we want to begin by assuring you that the SOO Greater Ottawa Council takes this matter very seriously, and we are in close contact with Special Olympics Ontario regarding the situation as it develops.

We ask that you refer to the statement released on March 10th from Glenn MacDonell, CEO of Special Olympics Ontario: Special Olympics Ontario COVID-19 Monitoring and Update

At this time, Ottawa Public Health and Public Health Canada have not changed their advisories on the management of gatherings and public events. We currently have no plans to cancel our regular sport programming or upcoming events such as Indulge, Registration Day, the Athletes' Banquet or any upcoming tournaments. Should the advice from Ottawa Public Health change, we will communicate with Special Olympics Ontario and determine the best path forward for activities in our community and any decisions will be quickly communicated to the community via email, our website and social media.

In the interim, should you have any personal concerns around participation in programming or other Special Olympics events, or feel that you can no longer participate either as an athlete or volunteer, please feel free to reach out to your Head Coach and they will ensure any concerns are passed along. Please follow the guidance set out in the advisory from Special Olympics Ontario.

Additionally, SOO Greater Ottawa has also set up a Health Resources page on our website, please take a moment to review the page and its content as it provides helpful links and resources. Link to the site here or from our navigation bar. 

Best Regards,

Kyle, Lindsay, & the Special Olympics Ontario Greater Ottawa Community Council

COVID-19 Advisory from Special Olympics Ontario

posted 10 Mar 2020, 17:26 by Admin Chair   [ updated 10 Mar 2020, 17:27 ]

SOO - Greater Ottawa community: 

We received the attached memorandum from Special Olympics Ontario CEO & Executive Director Glenn MacDonell with information and recommended strategies to utilize at this time re COVID-19. This is a rapidly evolving situation and Special Olympics Ontario will update communities as necessary. I will ensure coaches and team managers receive all updates sent my way in a timely fashion. 

As per the memo:
  • SOO does not have plans to cancel any of its programs, fundraising events, major games or special events at this time
  • at the community level, cancellation is dependant on how the specific community is handling the situation - I don't believe there have been any cancellations in Ottawa by city - if community is carrying on as usual, then local SO programs should do the same 
    • at this time, there are no confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa 
  • SOO encourages everyone to take simple actions to reduce exposure 
    • wash hands often
    • sneeze and cough into sleeve
    • avoid touching eyes/nose/mouth
    • avoid contact with people who are sick 
    • stay at home if you are sick - if an athlete/volunteer is sick they should not attend practice/tournament
If an athlete/volunteer has traveled to a high risk country ideally they would not attend practices/tournaments for 2 weeks upon return. High risk countries (at this time) include: 
  • China 
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Italy
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Spain
Please review attachment and let me know if you have any questions. 

- Lindsay McPhee, Programs Chair ( 

Announcement: Summer Registration Date

posted 8 Mar 2020, 18:12 by Admin Chair

Summer registration poster

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