“Athletics for All” program brings sport to underrepresented communities

Athletics Canada today announced a new $350,000 grant program designed to remove barriers and increase sport participation for two targeted populations: newcomers to Canada and athletes with disabilities. The Athletics for All grant program is made possible by the Government of Canada’s Community Sport for All Initiative, which also includes a national marketing campaign and local community activations from coast to coast.

Grant applications are now open ahead Athletics for all program, which will focus on engaging these communities to participate in one of the most accessible sports in the world.

“Next summer, people from across Canada will attend the Olympic and Paralympic Track and Field Games and many will be inspired to run, jump and throw. When that happens, we will be ready to welcome them to our sport,” said Mathieu Gentès, CEO of Athletics Canada. “Athletics offers an event for everyone, but there have traditionally been barriers to participation for newcomers to Canada and people with disabilities. The Government of Canada’s Community Sport for All Initiative will help us remove these barriers by welcoming thousands of new participants to our sport, proving that athletics truly is for everyone.

The program is also supported by VantagePoint Sports Advice. “Fostering inclusiveness and reducing barriers to participation in Canadian sport has been at the heart of VantagePoint’s mission since its inception,” said Swapneel Mehta, Founder and Managing Partner of VantagePoint. “We are excited to see Athletics Canada embark on a journey to remove barriers within its sport for newcomers to Canada and for people with disabilities. These efforts will enable many people from these underrepresented groups to enjoy the benefits that athletics and sport in general have to offer.

About Athletics for all Grant Program

The vision for Athletics for all is to increase the capacity for participation in sport, to be more inclusive, to increase awareness of sport and ultimately to grow sport among all Canadians and particularly within the two targeted communities of newcomers to Canada and athletes with disabilities.

Eligible organizations can apply for grants to support community outreach events and programs promoting athletics. Grant review criteria include:

  • Free (or heavily subsidized) for participants
  • 50 or more participants per program
  • Includes a component of organized sports activities
  • Respect the Universal code of conduct to prevent and combat abuse in sport
  • Bilingual participation
  • Demonstrate support for increasing sports participation within any of the targeted underrepresented groups.
  • Events and/or programs must be completed by August 31, 2024.

Programming may be intended for initial experiences or continuation of existing athletic programs. Applicant clubs are strongly encouraged to partner with and create collaborative programs with local community organizations/groups representative of equity-deserving populations. Here are some examples of activities for your proposal:

  • Meet/come and try athletics experiences
  • Half-day introduction to athletics events
  • Mini programs (~3 sessions) or complete programs over several weeks (e.g. running, jumping, throwing, rolling)
  • Continuation Programs/Memberships
  • Single or one-week youth day camps
  • Combined parent-youth programs
  • Programs with transport included

Eligible program expenses include compensation, administration, operations and programming.

Examples of approved expenses include:

  • Installation retail sales
  • Coach remuneration
  • Elite athlete fees
  • Equipment (e.g. wheelchair racing chairs, launching platform, tie-down bars, etc.)
  • Meals, snacks, BBQ events, etc.
  • Enhanced on-site inclusion (e.g. signage)
  • Transportation costs
  • Childcare
  • Translators

Eligible organizations include:

  • Athletics Canada Member Branches (OPTS)
  • Clubs affiliated with Athletics Canada
  • Sports organizations for people with disabilities
  • Event organizers/race directors of sanctioned events
  • Community organizations related to the sport of athletics

Applicants are encouraged to partner with local community organizations/groups representative of equity-deserving populations.

Community Sport for All Initiative

The Government of Canada’s Community Sport for All Initiative will also support Athletics Canada by launching a national marketing campaign aimed at increasing awareness and participation in sport as well as a series of activations that will take place across Canada. Further information on these two initiatives will be shared in early 2024.

Athletics for all Program Requests

Applications for the Athletics for all are now open and will close on Sunday February 4, 2024.


Alice Williamson

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