In 1949, in an effort to find a cure for the polio virus, mothers across Canada joined a North America-wide fundraising effort. These dedicated volunteers, known as the Marching Mothers®, went door-to-door collecting donations of ‘just a dime’ to donate to the Canadian Foundation for Poliomyelitis (sic) for research for a cure to polio.
In 1951, the Canadian Foundation for Poliomyelitis was granted use of the name ‘Ontario March of Dimes’. Funds raised went to support research into the cure for polio.
In 1955, the polio vaccine created by Dr. Jonas Salk proved effective in limited test trials. With the threat of polio greatly diminished, Ontario March of Dimes began funding assistive devices for people who had contracted the polio virus, as well as providing programs focused primarily on rehabilitation and job training for polio survivors. Click here to learn more about the history of March of Dimes Canada.
By the early 1960s, the organization shifted its mandate to serve the broader needs of all adults with physical disabilities, regardless of whether the disability was a result of a disability at birth, the polio virus, an accident, or even due to aging.
To create a society inclusive of people with physical disabilities.
To maximize the independence, personal empowerment and community participation of people with physical disabilities.
In 2001, a national charity subsidiary registered as the Rehabilitation Foundation for Disabled Persons, Canada (RFDP Canada) inaugurated Post-Polio Canada in 2001 and Stroke Recovery Canada in 2004.
In 2006, Ontario March of Dimes looked to expand its service offering to people with physical disabilities outside of Ontario and the name ‘March of Dimes Canada’ was registered. The robust offering of programs and services that were offered under Ontario March of Dimes (in Ontario) since the early 1960s have been gradually expanded and offered throughout the country under March of Dimes Canada. Click here to see the progress of more programs and services offered by March of Dimes Canada.
Ontario March of Dimes had four subsidiaries to meet the various needs of the community: March of Dimes Canada, Ontario March of Dimes Non-Profit Housing Corporation (NPHC), OMOD Independence Non-Profit Corporation, Rehabilitation Foundation for Disabled Persons Inc., U.S.. Ontario March of Dimes and March of Dimes Canada issue a consolidated annual report and financial statements each year. The annual reports and financial statements for the subsidiaries are reported separately and are available online.
In 2012-2013, we began the transition of Ontario March of Dimes to the national organization, March of Dimes Canada, by applying for continuance under the new Canada Non-Profit Corporations Act. All current programs and services, administrative departments, and communications will cease operating under the name Ontario March of Dimes in 2013-2014 and continue as March of Dimes Canada.
By the end of 2013 the current RFDP Canada will become March of Dimes Canada Foundation. Ontario March of Dimes Non-Profit Housing Corporation also sought continuance as March of Dimes Canada Non-Profit Housing Corporation and this too has been approved. The two provincial entities ceased to exist and became national entities in May 2013.
March of Dimes Canada believes that everyone, regardless of physical or financial challenges deserves to be independent, able to work, learn and participate fully in their community.
As we mark our 65th anniversary in 2016, we could not be more proud of our accomplishments. Accomplishments that are only made possible because of generous donations and people who care. Because of you – today there are thousands of children and adults with disabilities who are more independent, active and empowered. We thank everyone who has made this possible and look forward to helping even more Canadians in the years to come.