Building Capacity, Sustainability and Collective Impact

Recreational Respite is passionate about building capacity through education, knowledge sharing and exchange, through collective effort. We are advocates for accessibility and inclusion in the community and we consider attitudinal, environmental, systemic and communication barriers as our very top priorities.

Our team strongly believes that all communities and their programs, products and services should be accessible and inclusive and barrier free.


We have been directly serving individuals and their families with disability and mental health in various regions across Canada since 2008, in 1:1 service and group programming. As a team of Recreation Therapists our experiences, combined educational backgrounds, passion and extensive academics in the field of disability studies, gives us the ability to nurture an identified need with a collaborative lens. Our  goal is to remove the barriers that exist to participation.


Our goal within our workshops is to address those teams that find it challenging, to identify strategies and tools that promote inclusion and accessibility within a determined service delivery model. Often, teams come to us with great knowledge but require additional support and strategies to continue their inclusion focus.
Some of these groups include (but are not limited to):

  • Program and service delivery professionals
  • Volunteers
  • Students
  • Peer Counsellors
  • Camp Programs (day camps and overnight camps)
  • Workplace Inclusion/Accessibility workshops

Our work is extensive and we have been active globally, in the capacity of training, keynote speaking and teaching. We have taken our values and passions within Canada and abroad, throughout the USA, Kuwait, Australia, England and Scotland and Italy (to date) and we have been recognized as international leaders in our field.

If you are interested in having us come to share our expertise through training/workshops in your community (in person or virtually), please contact us at 1-877-855-7070 or

Media Attention, Worldwide

CBC Radio, Ottawa In Town and Out

Serving Consciously

Building the Future: Entrepreneur Amy MacFarlane shares her story

ISBA: International Short Break Association, Keynote, Scotland

Spirit of Leadership and Entrepreneurship Ontario, Canada
International Women’s Day:

Canadian Respite Organization Shares Positive Technology Experience, Perth, Australia

Gentle Persuasive Approaches for Professional Caregivers, Family Caregivers Unite!

Services for Supporting Seniors’ Family Caregivers Directly with Peel Senior Link

Caregiver Support Programs for Alzheimer’s Disease

Recreation Therapy and Family Caregivers

Crowdfunding for Caregiver ‘Entrepreneurs’

About Recreational Respite on Rogers TV 

Recognition of Excellence

In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 our founder was nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award.

Amy MacFarlane Founder and CEO, Recreational Respite Inc. National

condenser microphone with black background
Podcasts: Stories of Collective Impact

Recreation Therapy and Family Caregivers
Amy MacFarlane explains recreation therapy and talks about the challenges that it helps with. She describes the special needs and health conditions for which she recommends recreation therapy. She explains why and how recreation therapy helps persons and their family caregivers meet the challenges that these conditions create. She describes some real-life examples.

Help through caregiver-support programs for Alzheimer’s disease
Dr. Linda Teri is a Member of the Medical & Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association. She’s Professor of Psychosocial & Community Health at the University of Washington. She speaks with Amy about Alzheimer’s disease. They discuss real-life examples of caregiver-support programs that helped family caregivers meet the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. They discuss the ways in which the programs support aging at home and say how well community-based professionals, such as nurses and physicians, and the wider public understand the family caregiving challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and the role of caregiver-support programs.

Services for Supporting Seniors’ Family Caregivers Directly
Raymond Applebaum, CEO of Peel Senior Link and Amy, tell us how they came to be interested in services for seniors and their family caregivers. They describe the services their organizations offer. They explain what’s meant by supporting family caregivers directly and the types of direct supports, including direct pay, most likely to be useful to family caregivers. They discuss the challenges in providing direct support to family caregivers, including the meeting costs.

Gentle Persuasive Approaches Program for Professional Caregivers–Family Caregiver Perspectives
Dr. Lori Schindel Martin is Associate Professor, Associate Director, School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, and Chair, Gentle Persuasive Approaches Advisory Committee speaks to Amy explain gentleness in caring, and what has been learned from its application in the training of healthcare professionals and family caregivers.

International Keynote Engagements

OCAD/Designing Enabling Economies and Policies 
Toronto, ON

Learning to support and understand diversity and complexity. Amy was on the expert panel to discuss co-operative platforms. The development of a cooperative platform considering social implications, privacy implications, inclusion aspects and potential barriers for those with disabilities.

Kuwait City, Kuwait 

In December 2014 our Founder Amy MacFarlane, was chosen as an international expert in the field of therapeutic recreation and was invited to share her passion, skills and expertise at a day program for Adults (21+) with special needs, in Kuwait City!  The request was to teach therapeutic recreation tools, techniques and various family centered considerations that the day program could add to their current supports and services and implement, ongoing.

Sydney, Australia 

Recreational Respite’s Founder and CEO Amy MacFarlane was in Sydney Australia in September 2015 to be the international keynote speaker at their National Respite Conference:
When she was there she also interviewed with Community West, Perth Australia about how organizations are now partnering to collaborate service while minimizing dollars and maximizing support.

Listen here:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Amy MacFarlane is one of the international keynote speakers at the ISBA Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, 2016:

The International Short Break Association (ISBA) was established in 1995 and is a world-wide ‘community’ concerned with the effective delivery of short breaks (respite care) services. Presentation is now available:

Listen here:


Recreational Respite is passionate about building capacity through education, accessibility, collaboration and partnership. Our team and it’s Founder strongly believe that all communities and their programs and services should be accessible. This includes emotional, mental, physical, social and financial accessibility. We have been serving individuals and their families in  various regions across Ontario, Canada since 2008. From this work we have identified a great deal of need to equip those working with our families in the community with some of those same tools ad strategies. This has lead to our extensive work in the areas of leadership, education and training and keynote speaking. Amy MacFarlane has taken our values and passions within Canada and abroadKuwait, Australia and Scotland (to date) and has been recognized as an international leader in her field. Amy was nominated for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award (in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). As part of our education and training services, we continue to share our expanded expertise, knowledge and hands-on tools for being an accessible leader whether in businesses or community. Offering support in workplace groups as well, to support employees who may be in caregiving roles.

For more information, please contact:
Amy MacFarlane
Amy on LinkedIn, Professional Profile


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