The Police Association of Ontario (PAO) was founded in 1933 and is the official voice and representative body for Ontario's front-line police personnel. Our membership consists of over 30,000 police and civilian members from every municipal police association and the Ontario Provincial Police Association. The PAO promotes the mutual interests of Ontario's front-line police personnel in order to uphold the honour of the police profession and elevate the standards of police services.
The PAO and its affiliates across this province have a long history of community support and involvement. Whether through the work of our individual members or through the efforts of a local police association, many charities, minor sports programs and assistance programs for people of all ages, have benefited from our efforts. The PAO believes that our "Kids and Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days" is another example of this community spirit. In 2003 we partnered with Fishing Forever, a non-profit organization, whose principal focus is recreational fisheries conservation and securing the future of fishing in Ontario. The PAO has committed over two hundred thousand dollars to this program and to date have taken thousands of young people fishing for the day with police personnel. The PAO was honoured in 2005 with the Rick Amsbury Memorial Award for its contribution to fishing and youth in Ontario.
This not-for-profit conservation organization acts as a funding agency for worthwhile fishing, conservation and education projects. Funds, raised by anglers dedicated to the preservation of our fishing heritage, are invested to ensure sustainable fish populations for the future. I am proud to be the spokesperson for the Kids, Cops & Candian Tire Fishing Days program. Fishing is one of the very best ways for parents and other adults to establish productive and healthy relationships with children. Police officers spend their entire careers protecting children. This program is a perfect way for kids to learn that these dedicated men and women care about them as individuals, not as potential young offenders.
Canadian Tire, as the country's largest retailer of fishing equipment, is proud to be a founding partner in the Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days program. Research shows that childhood learning is the key to developing an adult interest in fishing as well as acquiring other life-long practices. Fishing experiences encourage problem-solving and decision-making skills, help children develop self-esteem and a respect for nature and the environment. For these reasons, Canadian Tire and our Associate Dealers across Ontario are pleased to support a program that helps get kids started on the right foot with recreational activities.