Canadian Olympic committees call on federal government for $104M to 'avoid crisis'

OTTAWA — With the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympic Games set for this summer, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee are requesting an additional $104-million in funding from the federal government.

The COC and CPC, in a joint budget request on Monday, called on the federal government to make important investments in Canadian athletes and in a stronger, safer sport system after releasing the results of a study undertaken by Deloitte on the financial health of Canadian National Sports Organizations (NSOs).

The two committees insist an increase to Canadian sport system funding is "urgently needed" for NSOs to continue their core work of supporting athletes, provincial federations and clubs across the country.

They added that the significant gap in funding of $104 million is caused by 19 years of inflation since the last increase to sport funding in 2005 ($20 million), the sunsetting of issue-specific funding ($57 million), and the cost of increased demands on NSOs from stakeholders ($27 million).

According to the Deloitte study, NSOs are being asked to do more, with fewer resources, and the important progress that has been made in safe sport, gender equity, community access and mental-health support, amongst others, is "in jeopardy."

The COC and CPC believe Canadians "deserve" a sport system that is safe, inclusive, and barrier-free — and one is properly resourced.

"To meet this critical moment, we urge the federal government to ensure Canada’s NSOs have the funding required to provide athletes, and all Canadians, the safe and inclusive sport system they deserve, from playground to podium," said the COC and CPC.

David Shoemaker, COC's Chief Executive Officer and secretary-general added: "We have known this was a growing issue but seeing the numbers in black and white really highlight that we’re on the brink of a crisis. NSOs cannot continue on this trajectory. They can’t run deficits, and if nothing changes difficult decisions will have to be made.

" … Without an immediate injection of funds athletes will suffer in the next 12 to 18 months as we prepare to act on the findings. These funds are necessary for the continued development of a safe and inclusive sport in Canada that will benefit all Canadians.”

Karen O’Neill, CEO of the CPC added: “Paralympic sport and Para sport have made so many advances in recent years, truly illustrating the power and importance of inclusion, however this progress will be significantly stalled without further investment in the Canadian sport system.

"The National Sport Organizations are critical to the development of Para sport across Canada, and in order to foster a healthy culture of excellence and provide more athletes with the opportunities and tools to succeed, it is clear more resources are needed.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2024.

The Canadian Press