1968 – SARC Formed
SARC was established in 1968 under the name Saskatchewan Association of Sheltered Workshops and Activity Centres (SASWAC) in response to a recognized need by managers in the disability service sector to share resources and information with each other. The primary focus of these organizations was to provide employment and work activities for people experiencing disability.
1971 – Establishment of Training and Networking Initiatives
In 1971, the group revised both the aim and the objectives of the association to provide a clear direction for its future. The association coordinated its Members’ activities to ensure common standards for workshop and activity centre operations were promoted and improved and that they provided meaningful opportunities to their clients. SASWAC began promoting staff training programs, coordinating large province-wide contracts, providing the opportunity to exchange ideas among organizations, and bringing common concerns and needs to the attention of the provincial rehabilitation advisor. These changes renewed the commitment of SASWAC’s Members and led the association in a new direction.
1973 – SASWAC Becomes SARC and Work to Improve Advocacy and Sustainable Growth for Members Takes Hold
In 1973, SASWAC officially changed its name to the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC). During the next four years, SARC grew to 24 Member Agencies and its services slowly began to evolve in the areas of advocacy, connecting with other organizations, and development of standards, education, and product marketing.
1988 – SARCAN Recycling Division Established
In 1988, the provincial government awarded SARC the contract for recycling aluminum cans. SARC engaged its Members to be part of the recycling depot system. At the time, 32 depots were set up across the province, in partnership with SARC Members. Since then, SARCAN Recycling has been operating the beverage container recycling system in Saskatchewan.
1990s – Additional Membership Categories Created
Throughout the 1990s, the Association expanded as additional service providers in the disability service sector expressed interest in joining, particularly those providing residential services. SARC created an Associate Membership category for residential service providers and an Affiliate Membership category for any other nonprofit organization that had an interest in the Association. SARC began offering more training and established group program services in pension, benefits, and insurance as opportunities for Members to take advantage of the Association’s large group size in order to negotiate
SARC’s services grew considerably, including consultation services in specialized areas such as human resources, labour relations, and facility planning. The Affiliate Membership category started to see growth as more nonprofits, regardless of whether or not they were in the disability service sector, wanted to access SARC’s online and in-person training programs and connect to the SARC network.
SARC is now an Association of approximately 100 Member Agencies, with most providing a range of services in the areas of residential supports, employment supports, and recreational/volunteer activities for thousands of people experiencing disability. SARC assists its Members by providing training, services, consulting, and leadership. SARC’s commitment to developing and expanding training that SARC Members can access at reduced or no cost continues to grow – visit SARC’s Learning Central to learn more.