Essential Service (System/Sector Complexity, Emergency Management)

Beyond the delivery of recreation programs and services, the sector plays a variety of important roles in our communities. The staff, volunteers, facilities, and other resources within local recreation departments have proven to be versatile, flexible, resourceful, and essential.

Often placed within Community Service departments with varied and distinct mandates, recreation and parks departments deliver vital services in the community. Facilities are routinely used as food distribution centres, vaccination clinics, and emergency shelters for citizens experiencing homelessness resulting from a range of circumstances including poverty, mental illness, or having been displaced due to wildfires and other natural disasters. Recreation professionals are often redeployed to manage other tasks and services, often without the necessary training. The need for recreation and parks professionals to serve different needs in the community often contributes to staff stress and an inability to manage a work-life balance. It is worth noting that some recreation departments are evolving and expanding into community services departments. Recognizing the key role the sector plays in crisis preparedness, response, and the delivery of community services is critical to addressing emerging community needs.

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