More Sport Opportunities for All Canadians Following the Impacts of COVID-19

Friday, August 13, 2021
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GATINEAU, August 13, 2021

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting communities across the country in building stronger and healthier populations, and to helping them recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The transformative power of sport plays an important role in achieving this goal. It builds self-esteem and leadership skills and allows children and youth to grow and thrive—physically, emotionally and mentally.

Recognizing that barriers to sport programs exist in many segments of the population, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today announced $80 million over two years, starting in 2021–22, to support organized sport at the community level to help Canadians and communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

The objective of the Community Sport for All initiative is to remove barriers and increase sport participation rates for underrepresented populations.

National-level organizations or those able to implement projects in more than one province or territory will be invited to submit their proposals over the coming months. Proposals selected for funding will work with community-based groups to undertake activities aimed at addressing barriers to participation in sport, particularly among Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQQIA+ and new Canadians.



ʺThe sport sector has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19. The restricted access and temporary closure of many sport facilities, recreation centres and schools has made it challenging for families to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles and for youth to learn new skills and build friendships. The new Community Sport for All initiative will support those most affected, and provide thousands of Canadians with the opportunity to participate in affordable, organized sport activities and programs in communities across the country.”

—The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“All Canadians should have the opportunity to participate and excel in sport, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or ability. I am so proud of Canada’s Active Recovery initiative, as it seeks to increase physical activity and recreation levels across Canada, particularly for youth. Sport is a powerful transformative tool, and I am confident that the projects funded will bring positive impacts and better health outcomes to communities hit hardest by the pandemic.”

—Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Sport)


Quick facts

  • The Community Sport for All initiative seeks to rebuild and increase sport participation rates, particularly amongst Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQQIA+ and new Canadian populations. Projects will adhere to the following principles:
    • Affordable: Projects will be delivered with minimal to no cost to participants.
    • Results oriented: Projects will be delivered in such a way as to increase sport participation and retention of equity-deserving communities and, ultimately, drive behavioural change.
    • Focused on organized sport: While other activities may be included (such as movement skills development), the primary activity must be organized sport, and must adhere to safe sport practices.
    • Green: Delivery of the projects should produce minimal or positive environmental impact.
    • Accessible: Projects must be tailored to equity-deserving groups but need not be exclusionary and can be open to all, and should allow for a wide range of athletic ability.
    • Available: Projects should seek to be delivered in underserved communities and to achieve regional diversity.
  • As part of the Community Sport for All Initiative, a portion of the funding will be allocated via the Innovation Initiative. Projects funded under that stream will test new approaches to reducing or removing barriers to participation for equity deserving groups.
  • The closures of sport and recreation facilities and public safety restrictions against public gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been more prevalent in urban and high-density neighbourhoods that have a higher percentage of racialized individuals.
  • Projects funded under the Community Sport for All initiative will need to demonstrate that there has been collaboration and engagement with the priority population in the development of the activities and its objectives. This will ensure they are culturally appropriate and a safe space, particularly for 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals.
  • More information on how national level organizations (or those able to implement projects in more than one province or territory) can submit their proposals will be available over the coming months via the Sport Canada website.

Story: Heritage Canada/Government of Canada

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