Survey finds 25% of Canadians think discrimination is a problem in sports

One-quarter of respondents polled last year felt that racism and discrimination were problems in community sports in the country, according to a survey published Monday by Statistics Canada.

Eighteen per cent of respondents said they have experienced or witnessed racism or discrimination in sport over the last five years, with race or skin colour the most cited reason at 64 per cent.

Physical appearance was cited in 42 per cent of incidents and ethnicity or culture in 38 per cent.

LGTBQ Canadians (42 per cent) were more than twice as likely as heterosexuals (17 per cent) to report having experienced or witnessed discrimination.

Athletes made up 80 per cent of those who saw or were subjected to discrimination, with spectators at 26 per cent. Coaches and those in non-athletic roles ranged from five to 15 per cent.

Participants and athletes (64 per cent), spectators (39 per cent) and coaches and instructors (36 per cent) were most often responsible for acts of discrimination.

The likelihood of experiencing or witnessing discrimination in a sport decreased with age, peaking among people aged 15 to 24 (30 per cent) and gradually declining to seven per cent among people 65 and older.

The data for the survey came from the Survey Series on People and their Communities (SSPC) — Participation and Experiences in Community Sports, which was collected from Nov. 27-Dec. 17, 2023.

Statistics Canada said racialized and immigrant groups were oversampled "to provide adequate coverage of these groups."

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

The Canadian Press