We instill character in children and youth through partnerships and programs that have a lasting impact while encouraging good character in all citizens.

About Character Community York Region

Character Community York Region has established York Region as the first “Character Community” in Canada, clearly demonstrating the value of character leadership.

We build inclusive   and connected communities through programs and initiatives that instill character and have a lasting, positive impact in the  lives of  children and youth.

Character Community York Region is a registered charitable organization that supports the vision of a welcoming and inclusive community. A Character Community is one in which elected officials, community and business leaders and citizens live with good character.

All members of the community regardless of barriers, work together to show great care for others, for their community and the environment around them. Their acts of character change the world.


The concept that York Region could become a Character Community was born at an international Quest for Character Symposium hosted in April 2001 by the York Region District School Board.

At that symposium, Town of Markham Mayor Don Cousens took on the challenge to host a forum about building cities of character. That same year, York Regional Council approved the  establishment of a steering committee to develop a proposal for a Character Community York Region. Enthusiastic support from a wide spectrum of area municipalities, businesses, educators, community organizations, and residents convinced the steering committee that a region-wide Character Community York Region initiative would be welcome.

On January 24, 2002, York Regional Council approved a resolution declaring York Region to be a Character Community the first regional municipality to do so in Canada. One month later, the official launch of the York Region Character Community initiative took place with the unveiling of a logo, mission statement, vision statement and website. Within a  few months, the original 11 attributes were decided upon, and retired NHL hockey player Wendel Clark agreed to be the Character Champion.

In 2007, the Character Community York Region initiative was granted charitable status as the first registered Character Community charity in Canada. In 2011, the Character Community Foundation of York Region received funding from the York Region Community Development Investment Fund for its first character-based hockey/social inclusion program The Slap Shot Hockey Program for low income/newcomer children. In April 2015, Character Community York Region celebrated its 15th anniversary.

Our Program Approach

As a non-profit agency, Character Community York Region utilizes the experiential program delivery approach to deliver character development programs for children, youth and seniors, while recognizing character achievement in all.

Character Community  York  Region is committed to investing  in our communities as places where people embrace our core values of collaboration, inclusiveness, integrity and responsibility.

All our programs and initiatives promote our twelve character attributes:

Compassion, Courage, Fairness, Honesty, Inclusiveness, Initiative, Integrity, Optimism, Perseverance, Respect, Responsibility and Humility.

The unique programs that are offered are the foundation of building inclusive and resilient communities. Character Community York Region continuously reviews best  practices  in  social innovation, and creates effective programming, based on evidence and best practices.

To date, Character Community York Region has positively impacted thousands of community members and has provided life-changing opportunities for thousands of children and youth. In fact, 90% of residents surveyed feel that it is important to live in a Character Community.


Character Community York Region is comprised of a Board of Directors, a full time Executive Director and a part-time Administrative Coordinator.


Board of Directors 2020-2021

  • Board Chair: Megan Thomas – Executive Director, Clarico Place of York Region
  • Past Chair: André Crawford – Past Deputy Chief, York Regional Police
  • Treasurer: John Glicksman – Senior Advisor, John Glicksman Consulting Services
  • Secretary: Julie Provis – Inspector, York Regional Police
  • Director: Neil Gunathunge-Superintendent, York Region District School Board
  • Director: Laura Sawicky – Superindendent, York Catholic District School Board
  • Director: Caitlyn Mariani – Youth Community Member, Clarico Place of York Region
  • Director: Brian Presement – Community Member, Unite Communications
  • Director: Nancy DiNardo – Community Member, Former Associate Director of Education, YCDSB


  • Susanne Cappuccitti, Executive Director
  • Leslie Bubeloff, Coordinator

Community Partners

  • The Regional Municipality of York

  • The Towns of Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, Newmarket, Whitchurch-Stouffville, the Township of King and the Cities of Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill

  • Neighbourhood Network – Magna for Community

  • York Region District School Board

  • York Catholic District School Board

  • York Regional Police

  • Bingo World Newmarket

  • Jumpstart

2020 Objectives and Goals

Goal #1

Character Community York Region leads York Region to be a role model, demonstrating that building character creates safer, healthier, more inclusive and prosperous communities.

Goal #2

Character Community York Region generates adequate operational revenues and financial reserves to meet all programming needs today and into the future.

Goal #3

Character Community York Region achieves its mission by being well-governed, well-managed, transparent and strategic in its actions.

Goal #4

Character Community York Region will have a strong, progressive and recognized brand that grows awareness of the agency across all municipalities in York Region and beyond.

In 2019, we delivered our programs to 13,614 children,  youth and seniors across York Region

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