Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

Voices Blog

Farewell to SCIO’s Attendant Services

SCIO Attendants at holiday dinner 2018

March 31, 2020 marks the end of SCIO’s fiscal year, as well as the day we say farewell to our attendants and our Attendant Services program staff. Our Board and leadership team worked together with March of Dimes Canada (MODC) over the last year to divest this program to MODC, As well, MODC have purchased our training services to round out their province-wide attendant program with training specifically for spinal cord injury. There are important benefits to clients and the attendants who serve them in this move but the closure of this Toronto-based program is felt deeply. Below is the message we shared with our colleagues. Read Oct 2019 announcement.

A message to our Attendant Services Team:

Our plans to host a farewell gathering had to be changed because of COVID-19 but this doesn’t change our feelings about the AS team. From a distance, we’ll say goodbye with a few words and a full heart.

It’s been 30 years since we launched the AS program at SCIO. Some of our long-serving attendants will have known Darrel Murphy personally and have worked alongside him. For more info on his contribution, we’ve linked to a lovely tribute included in our new manual for attendant training. For those who didn’t know him, you’ve certainly upheld his vision for a caring and connected experience for people with spinal cord injury by supporting our clients with your expertise and heart.

Toronto’s experience of SCIO will never be the same without our attendants. To be in people’s homes, getting to know them in a profound way, meeting their families, helping to solve their challenges and sharing their accomplishments is a special role and an important honour. We’ve heard over the years just how much it’s meant to our clients. Through many client satisfaction surveys we got the message: you guys rock. You make a hard day easier. You make a tough journey shorter. You make things just that much better. 

Your colleagues at SCIO will miss you. Though we may not have seen the AS team day-to-day, just knowing you were on the job made our experience of SCIO stronger. In addition to the work we all do to support our community, knowing AS was a part of the mix has been both grounding and uplifting.

But, for the most part, our loss is March of Dimes Canada’s gain. Our clients will have the benefit of seeing many of the same faces and much of our AS team will be together in a different workplace. So that’s something to hold on to; knowing what started at SCIO continues in a different environment, for a new and powerful chapter.

Thank you for all you’ve done for SCIO, for your colleagues and your clients. Though we can’t be together to give a goodbye hug, you are in our hearts. We thank you for giving your best.

Stuart and Sheila

Dr. Stuart Howe, CEO
Sheila Casemore, Director, Client Services


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