OVO Summit 2019 - Easter Seals Canada


RBC logo

TORONTO –  On August 2, 2019, several young adults – current and former participants of Easter Seals programs in Ontario got the incredible opportunity to attend the OVO Summit in Toronto, thanks to an invitation extended to Easter Seals by RBC Foundation.

This was the first time that the OVO Summit (#OVOSummit) had taken place in Canada, and was brought about by a new collaboration announced in June between RBC and OVO, (October’s Very Own) – a global lifestyle brand co-founded by Canadian music artist, Drake. The summit was billed as “an immersive conference for Canadian creatives and lifestyle entrepreneurs looking to grow their careers, hone their skills and make a lasting impact on the creative economy in Canada.”

“Whether you’re an athlete, student, artist, or a globally-recognized institution like OVO or RBC, one thing we all have in common is we’re always chasing new ideas and information to help us on our path to success,” said Oliver El-Khatib, Co-Founder, OVO. “OVO Summit is our chance to curate a relevant educational experience for all the like-minded, driven young Canadians who are passionate about careers in music, sports, arts, and entertainment.”

A group photo of representatives from RBC and staff and participants from Easter SealsThe young adults from Easter Seals were among several hundred youth at the sold-out event, and had the invaluable opportunity to listen to a number of insiders from the music, arts and creative industries speak candidly about the factors leading to their success, the challenges they had faced growing up and in the pursuit of their dreams, and the advice they had to offer the youth present at the summit. Speakers include Ethiopia Habtemariam (President, Motown Records), Jessie Reyez (Canadian singer and songwriter), Noah ’40’ Shebib (Canadian music producer who has produced all of Drake’s previous album), and Oliver El-Khatib (Co-Founder, of OVO).

According to Paul, one of the participants from Easter Seals, “I loved how each of them shared their personal experience with the audience. Listening to their experiences was very inspirational; that no matter what, it’s important to always chase your dreams and shoot for the stars. No matter what barriers you face in your life, you have to persevere. Never give up and always put 100%  in everything you do. One of my favorite quotes from the speakers is ‘Start by doing what’s possible, then you are doing the impossible. Cherish every day and every opportunity because you will never know where that can lead you. If somebody says to you that you can’t do something, don’t let that stop you. Keep going until you achieve your dreams.'”

Paul’s sentiments were echoed by Leo, another participant from Easter Seals who was able to attend the event. “Thank you to Easter Seals and RBC for this lifetime opportunity to attend the OVO Summit. It was my first time at the prestigious event, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to see  Ethiopia Habtemariam, Jessie Reyez and other stars in the music industry,” said Leo. “I especially liked that every guest speaker detailed their difficult journey to get to their current position in the competitive entertainment industry. It was also eye opening to hear about the abuse women endure and the steps they take to support each other. My favourite take on the subject was from Jessie Reyez who invented some ‘heated’ words and didn’t hold back on any of her opinions. I thoroughly enjoyed the day.”

Easter Seals thanks both RBC Foundation for the invitation as well as the youth that represented Easter Seals at the Summit.

For more information, please contact:

Casey Sabawi, Senior Manager, National Partnerships, Easter Seals Canada,




Some young adults sitting around a conference table

RBC Foundation supporting skills training and employment preparation program for youth in five provinces with $300,000 Future Launch grant

April 23, 2019, Canada – Easter Seals Canada is pleased to announce that RBC Foundation is supporting a 21st century skills training and employment preparation program for youth between the ages of 15 and 29 in five provinces over the next two years with a $300,000 Future Launch grant. The support from RBC Foundation builds and expands upon a pilot project – also funded by RBC – which was implemented in Ontario in 2018. In addition to Ontario, the program will take place in BC, Alberta, Newfoundland & Nova Scotia.. READ MORE…

The RBC 21st Century Leadership Skills Pilot Program, 2018

October 15, 2018, Ontario – In the summer of 2018, Easter Seals Canada and Easter Seals Ontario ran an exciting new pilot program, The RBC 21st Century Leadership Skills Pilot Program, at Camp Woodeden and Camp Merrywood in Ontario. The program seeks to address the significant educational attainment, employment and wage/income-earning gaps1 between persons living with disabilities relative to other Canadians (1Statistics Canada). READ MORE…