Game ON – The Ontario Government's Sport Plan

A Legacy of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games


Minister’s Message

Minister Eleanor McMahon

As Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, I am thrilled to take a leading role in securing a vibrant, safe and inclusive sport system for people of all ages, abilities and walks of life to enjoy.

Our province is one of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family. Engaging in sport and recreation is vital to our collective prosperity and quality of life, and I want to make sure each and every Ontarian has the opportunity to compete, increase their level of fitness or simply make new friends through participation in sport.

In 2015, my ministry launched our action plan for amateur sport in Ontario, called Game ON. Through the three pillars of participation, development and excellence, I believe we can ensure that girls and boys from diverse backgrounds and of all abilities have the opportunity to lead healthy, active lives, develop new skills, and learn lessons that will support them in every aspect of life.

Already we have made significant progress in all three priority areas. To mark the first anniversary of the sport plan, my ministry released a report detailing how it is delivering on key priorities laid out in Game ON, and the progress we have made so far. I encourage you to read the report to learn more about our accomplishments, and where we must focus our efforts in the year to come.

This progress was made possible thanks to our strong partnerships with Provincial and Multi-Sport Organizations, coaches, volunteers, officials and athletes. Your support and commitment are the backbone of a successful amateur sport system, and I look forward to continuing that important work together.

Game ON is improving Ontario’s sport system by building on what we know works, and by taking action in areas where we know we can do better. The Minister’s Advisory Panel on Sport, consisting of a diverse group of experienced leaders, will continue to help guide the implementation of our plan. I appreciate the panel members’ broad experience and expertise, and eagerly anticipate hearing their insights as we move forward.

Promoting and investing in sport and active living helps to build strong bodies and strong minds, and inspires our next generation of athletes. I am proud to lead Ontario on its path toward a best-in-class sport system that will be sustainable for generations to come.

All my best,

The Honourable Eleanor McMahon
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

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Executive Summary

In the summer of 2015, Ontario had the privilege of hosting the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the largest multi-sport event ever held in this country. The success of these games has presented our province with a significant opportunity. Ontarians have been reminded what a unique thrill it is to watch high-performance sport, and they now know that they live in a province capable of hosting world class sporting events. We can all take pride in the fact that Ontario is a proud and enthusiastic supporter of amateur sports and the athletes who compete in them.

Given all this, there has never been a better time for this province to take a step forward and become a world leader in amateur sport development. There has never been a better time to develop a plan to encourage as many people as possible to play organized sports, and retain participants in those sports by developing the passion and skills of the athletes playing them. This plan is intended to guide and articulate the province's goals as they relate to sport.

Game ON – The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan is a sport-focused, athlete-centred and results-oriented plan. The plan builds on a strong existing foundation of sport organizations, programs and investments. It recognizes the many ways in which organized sport can be good for people and communities, from the obvious health benefits of physical activity to the economic benefits of hosting major events.

The plan has identified three priorities for amateur sport in this province – participation, development and excellence – and outlines the steps we plan to take in order to achieve them. A Minister's Advisory Panel, comprised of leaders in each of the three priority areas, will be established to guide implementation of the plan. In its first year, the Advisory Panel will be tasked with investigating opportunities to advance women and girls in sport, in each of the three priority areas. In addition, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport plans to hold an annual Sport Symposium, bringing together Ontario's leaders in the field of sport to report back on the results of implementation and discuss current issues and trends.

This plan responds to a need that has been identified by stakeholders in the sector over the past few years to sharpen the focus of the ministry's objectives and achieve better results for the athletes of Ontario. This will require changes to how the ministry does business, and represents an opportunity to work more closely and productively with our partners. It is designed to support a system that encourages as many people as possible to play organized sports, and retain participants in those sports by developing the passion and skills of athletes. It also aims to have more Ontario athletes than ever before excel, taking their place in the very front ranks of their chosen sports. Finally, the Ontario Government's Sport Plan encourages lifelong participation and engagement in sport and physical activity.

Sport Plan Priorities

1. Participation

Our Participation Goals
  • All athletes are better able to participate in safe, organized sport
  • Opportunities are available for all Ontarians to get involved in organized sport
  • Athletes participating in organized sport are provided with a positive experience
Our Participation Plan

We will:

  • Update and refocus the sport recognition policy
  • Review our existing sport programs and work with our partners in sport to improve access for underrepresented populations, with an emphasis on support for women and girls in sport
  • Build on our partnerships with the Ministry of Education, education partners and our sport partners to provide even greater access and opportunities for introduction to sport
  • Explore partnerships with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and community partners to support vulnerable children and youth to access opportunities to participate in sport
  • Fully implement the Sport Pathway for Ontario Native Wellness in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario
  • Clarify the legal status of amateur combative sport and work with the combative sport community to develop and implement appropriate health and safety measures

Women and Girls in Sport

We recognize that actively engaging and retaining women and girls in sports is the cornerstone of any healthy sport system. Understanding that there is a gender gap in participation rates and the barriers facing women and girls is a crucial first step. In their first year, a Minister's Advisory Panel will be tasked with examining this issue and identifying ways to close the gender gap in sport participation.

2. Development

Our Development Goals
  • Athletes receive the right support as their skills develop
  • Athletes have access to trained coaches, officials and volunteers as they progress through the development pathway overseen by effective Provincial and Multi-Sport Organizations (PSOs/ MSOs)
Our Development Plan

We will:

  • Redesign funding programs to reduce administrative burden and duplication, and improve the application processes
  • Renew the Games Ontario Program, which will provide our athletes with quality competitive experiences and opportunities to pursue their sport goals
  • Recognize individuals and organizations that deliver superior athletic performances or make significant contributions to advance the sport system in Ontario
  • Maximize the legacy of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games by capitalizing on the volunteer base and related resources created through the Games, ensuring that knowledge gained in delivering the Games is transferred to PSOs/MSOs, and encouraging the Games sponsor group and others to continue investing in amateur sport
  • Continue to support PSOs/MSOs in their efforts to recruit, retain and train coaches and volunteers

Ontario Games

The Ontario Summer and Winter Games, part of the renewed Games Ontario program, provide Ontario's top athletes with the opportunity to compete in a multi-sport games competition in Ontario. The Summer Games, held every two years, host between 3,000-3,500 athletes, and offer around 22-27 different sporting events. The Winter Games are also offered every two years and host between 2,700-3,500 athletes, and offer around 22-27 different sporting events.

3. Excellence

Our Excellence Goals
  • Athletes can pursue excellence in high-performance sport
  • Athletes have competitive training and development opportunities, access to the latest highperformance programs, services, facilities and technologies and are led by quality coaches, technical leaders and sport science and medicine experts
Our Excellence Plan

We will:

  • Work with the sport sector to modernize the Quest for Gold athlete support program and secure long term sustainable funding for the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario
  • Work with the sport sector to modernize the Quest for Gold athlete support program and secure long term sustainable funding for the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario.
  • Conduct an ongoing public education and awareness campaign to celebrate achievements of amateur athletes and amateur sport in Ontario
  • Build on the infrastructure and volunteer legacies of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, seeking out sport hosting opportunities that will utilize the new infrastructure built for the Games
  • Develop a sport tourism plan to attract more observers to showcase events such as international amateur championships, as well as more participants in sporting events such as marathons, to capitalize on the contributions sport makes to economic development
  • Work with the private sector to align commercial investments with Ontario programs or sector needs

Sport Hosting

Building on the infrastructure and volunteer legacies of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, we will seek out sport hosting opportunities that will utilize the new infrastructure built for the Games. Some upcoming opportunities include:

  • 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships.
  • 2017 North American Indigenous Games.
  • Co-host of 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
  • 2021 Canada Summer Games.

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Introduction

2015. The Year of Sport in Canada. Fittingly, here in Ontario, we also had the summer of sport. In July and August, Ontario hosted the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, which showed Ontarians that this province is a proud and enthusiastic supporter of amateur sports and the athletes who compete in them — that we provide a fertile ground for developing home-grown talent and fostering success.

Ontarians have been reminded of the power of sport to bring people and communities together, to entertain, thrill and unite. Strengthening the amateur sport system in Ontario has many benefits, like fostering participation in sport, developing high-performance athletes, and encouraging these athletes to remain here in Ontario. Ontario has proven it is an attractive venue for hosting high-profile national and international sporting events, helping to create a culture that values sport and contributes to athlete development. Over the past several years, the Ontario sport sector has identified the need for a provincially-led sport plan that articulates the government's priorities, identifies the measures that will be taken to achieve them, and provides clarity about roles and responsibilities in achieving desired outcomes. This is that plan.

Game ON – The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan is a signature legacy of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. At its heart, it is about the province supporting a sport culture that welcomes athletes in a safe and positive environment, allows them to develop their skills, at home, to their full potential, and identifies and supports Ontario's athletes who have a genuine chance to pursue and achieve excellence.

The Importance of Organized Sport

“Sport has the power to inspire people, transform communities and change lives.”

Dr. Bruce Kidd

A 2015 survey found that 88 per cent of Ontarians believe sport plays an important role in bringing communities together (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 2015).

Sport carries with it significant benefits, for athletes, for communities, and for this province. To begin with, this plan acknowledges the value and importance of pursuing excellence. Success at the highest levels of amateur sport is tremendously important to the athletes who compete, and to those of us who watch them, and this plan is intended to encourage success.

In addition, the link between physical activity and improved health is now widely accepted as fact. In childhood, regular physical activity contributes to healthier body weight, better cardiovascular fitness, stronger bone density and greater strength. Later in life, physical activity helps improve health and wellness, and prevents chronic diseases like cancer, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2011).

Sport is considered to benefit young people in ways that extend beyond simple good health. In a 2014 report entitled, The Positive Impacts of Physical Activity on the Whole Child, Public Health Ontario put it this way:

“...a systematic review investigated the psychological and social benefits of participating in sports for children and youth, and found physical activity to result in improved social interaction/integration and social skills. ...It has been suggested that participation in sport, particularly team sports may be associated with improved psychosocial health above and beyond improvements associated with general physical activity participation”

(Public Health Ontario, 2014).

Organized sports aren't just good for children and athletes. They are good for communities. In February 2015, Canada's provinces and territories formally endorsed the Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015 as a guiding document for their recreation sectors. The Framework states that recreation fosters the wellbeing of individuals and communities. In addition, it recognizes that recreation is a key delivery agent for sport and provides a variety of supports to local sport organizations (Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council and the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association, 2015). Recreation is also seen as a core component of the sport pathway, as reiterated in the Canadian Sport Policy 2012 which outlines "Recreational Sport" as a core objective that provides opportunities for fun, health, social interaction and relaxation (Sport Canada, 2012).

This plan recognizes that sport, recreation and physical activity are complementary. While children's recreation activities are frequently a first step down the path towards organized sport, they are tremendously important toward establishing physical literacy and beneficial even if they go no further than energetic games in the playground.

The final benefit to be considered in any sport plan is economic. Sport is widely considered to be an instrument of economic development.

Economic Benefits of Sport

In 2010, the sport sector contributed $2.1 billion to Ontario's GDP and employed 43,730 Ontarians (Statistics Canada, 2015).

The more interest that can be generated in organized sport, the greater the level of participation and the greater the economic benefit. Sport generates significant economic activity, from equipment and clothing purchases to membership fees, travel and accommodation.

The total economic burden of physical inactivity in Ontario in 2009 was $3.4 billion (Katzmarzyk PT, 2011).

Beyond that, however, the potential benefits of sport tourism are significant. In a white paper entitled The Case for the Province of Ontario to Engage Strategically in Sport Tourism, the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance noted that these economic benefits include increased levels of tourism, job creation, enhanced public infrastructure and increased tax revenue (Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, 2013). For example, in 2012, 5.2 million visitors to Ontario attended a sporting event, spending a total of $1.27 billion.*

World Figure Skating Championships

The 2013 World Figure Skating Championships hosted in London, Ontario had a total attendance of 62,395 and generated $42.6 million in economic activity throughout Ontario (Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, 2015).

The Ontario Context

Organized amateur sport consists of one governing body for each sport at each of three levels: International, National and Provincial. The governing body at each level is responsible for the delivery of sport within that jurisdiction, including programming and competitions.

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) is responsible for promoting an active lifestyle and increased participation in sport, recreation and physical activity amongst all Ontarians. The ministry is committed to providing the leadership required to develop and support a high-functioning amateur sport system – one that will make Ontario a model for other jurisdictions and a destination for significant national and international sporting events. MTCS provides funding to support coach training, fund competition opportunities and provide direct assistance to athletes.

Provincial and Multi-Sport Organizations

In Ontario, provincial and multi-sport organizations (PSOs/MSOs) are the sole governing bodies for amateur sport at the provincial level. These independent, not-for-profit organizations are the backbone of the sport system in Ontario. Staff and many volunteers work tirelessly, on evenings and weekends, to develop their respective sports across Ontario, encouraging participation in recreational and competitive programs, and supporting excellence in sport at the provincial level. Some of their responsibilities include following national standards when developing and offering their sports; providing a competitive pathway for athlete development; selecting provincial teams; recruiting and training coaches, officials and volunteers; and conducting provincial championships.

Their membership is comprised of local clubs and individuals (e.g. athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers) who together with the PSOs/MSOs provide crucial grassroots and developmental programming to communities across the province.

PSOs govern single sports, which may include able and para disciplines such as Ontario Soccer Association, Association of Ontario Snowboarders and Biathlon Ontario. MSOs govern multiple sports that are grouped together, either by para classification or educational level, such as the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association, the Ontario Blind Sports Association, and Ontario University Athletics.

A significant focus of this Sport Plan will be to build on the excellent work done by our invaluable PSOs/MSOs by improving, in a measurable way, quality of experience for athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers. We will work with our partners to renew leadership at all levels of the sport system, with an emphasis on continuous improvement.

The National Sport Landscape

Sport Canada

At the national level, Sport Canada provides leadership and funding to help ensure a strong Canadian sport system. Sport Canada programs help athletes combine their sport and academic or working careers, support the hosting of sporting events across the country, and develop athletes and coaches to compete at the highest international levels.

Canadian Sport Policy 2012

In June 2012, Canada's federal and provincial sport ministers endorsed a renewed 10-year Canadian Sport Policy. This policy sets direction for the period 2012-2022 for all governments, institutions and organizations that are committed to realizing the positive impacts of sport on individuals, communities and society.

The Canadian Sport Policy 2012 sets out goals in five broad policy areas including introduction to sport, recreational sport, competitive sport, high-performance sport and sport for development.

The policy is designed to be a roadmap. It establishes broad direction and desired outcomes with each government responsible for determining how best to achieve the goals and objectives of the plan in their jurisdiction.

Canadian Sport for Life – Long-Term Athlete Development

The Canadian Sport for Life movement aims to improve the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada. A central component of the Sport for Life movement is Long-Term Athlete Development – a multistage training, competition and recovery framework that guides athlete's experiences from infancy through all phases of adulthood. Since 2005, the Canadian Sport for Life – Long-Term Athlete Development (CS4L-LTAD) framework has been adopted by every national sport organization in Canada (Canadian Sport for Life, 2015).

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Sport Plan Priorities

The Ontario Government's Sport Plan has identified three priorities for amateur sport in this province. In each of these priority areas, there exists a strong foundation of programs and investments, and the plan builds on those. The three priorities are:

  1. Participation
  2. Development
  3. Excellence

Priority One – Participation

  • All athletes are better able to participate in safe, organized sport
  • Opportunities are available for all Ontarians to get involved in organized sport
  • Athletes participating in organized sport are provided with a positive experience

One of the measures of success for this Sport Plan will be whether Ontario is able to increase the number of young people who take up a sport, and even more important, increase the number of young people who stay with it.

Inclusive and Diverse Populations

Ontario has a large, diverse population that has a wide range of sport interests and abilities. There are also a number of physical, social, economic and cultural barriers that limit the ability of some groups to participate in sport to the same extent that others do.

Growing an inclusive culture that values participation in sport by all of Ontario's diverse communities requires barriers to be removed for those wishing to play sport.

Women and Girls

The gender gap in sport participation is significant, across all ages, and it increases with age. It is a top priority of this plan to find ways of closing that gap. Ontario recognizes the importance of promoting women and girls in sport, and understands that work remains to achieve gender equity.

This plan aims to increase sport participation among women and girls, so that they can achieve their full athletic potential. To support this goal, a Minister's Advisory Panel will be established, with its first priority being to identify opportunities to advance women and girls in sport.

  • 79 per cent of boys between five and 17 participate in sport, compared to 70 per cent of girls. (Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, 2013). By adulthood men are much more likely than women to participate in sport on a regular basis – in 2010, approximately one third of Canadian men regularly participated, as opposed to one-sixth of women (Sport Canada, 2013).
  • A global survey of 400 women executives found that 94 per cent participated in sport and 74 per cent agreed that a background in sport can help accelerate a woman's leadership and career potential ( Ernst & Young Global Limited, 2014).
  • A 2015 documentary titled Play Fair (Gall, 2015), highlights several inequities that women and girls in sport continue to face in Canada, including among others:
    • Athletic financial awards for Canadian Interuniversity Sport athletes totaled $7.4 million for men compared to $5.3 million for women in 2013.
    • Of the 108 Canadian coaches at the 2014 Winter Olympics, only 11 were women.
    • As of May 2014, women made up only 26.3 per cent of board members of National Sport Organizations, and held only 17.5 per cent of chair positions.

Examples of Success – Women’s Rugby Sevens

Women's Rugby Sevens debuted at the Pan Am Games in 2015 in Toronto, and will also be part of the sport schedule for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In May 2015, the women's team secured enough points to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, finishing first in Amsterdam (round 6) of the 6 round World Rugby Women's Seven Series 2014-15. They finished the series second place overall, and Ontario native Ghislaine Landry finished the tournament first in number of points and second in number of tries.

In July, the team went undefeated at the 2015 Pan Am Games, ultimately winning gold. Half of the players on the Canadian team are from Ontario, and five are recipients of Quest for Gold funding.

Children in Low Income Families

Children from lower income households participate in sport less than children from higher income households (Sport Canada, 2013). Sport participation typically involves spending on equipment and registration fees. In 2013, the average Canadian couple with children spent $778 on sports and recreation equipment, services and fees (Statistics Canada, 2014).

  • 90 per cent of Canadians agree that organized sport participation is becoming too expensive, and 82 per cent know a child who cannot participate in organized sports due to the cost (KidSport, 2014).
People With Disabilities

People with disabilities are another under-represented group in sport and low participation rates often make para-programming and individual and team competitions very difficult. The barriers to participation in sports by athletes with a disability are numerous, including a lack of awareness, equipment and accessibility; lack of a central starting point for participants and a fragmented system with lack of clear roles and responsibilities. Whether their aims are recreational or competitive, persons with disabilities who choose to participate should have access to quality sport and physical activity programs.

Aging Population

Our aging population is an increasing factor in declining sport participation. As a 2013 Sport Canada report put it, "sport participation tends to decrease as Canadians get older" (Sport Canada, 2013). Given the clear link between exercise and better health, as well as our concern as a society with improving quality of life for our seniors, we must make it a priority to increase the participation in sport of older Ontarians.

  • In 1992, the rate of participation in sport for people 35 years of age and over in Canada was 36 per cent. By 2011, the sport participation rate for this group was down to 20 per cent (Sport Canada, 2013).
Aboriginal People

Aboriginal people face barriers to sport participation that other people in our society do not. Given the established connection between sport participation and improved mental and physical wellbeing, it is a priority for Ontario to engage and welcome young Aboriginal athletes into organized sport.

"Sport offers Aboriginal children and youth a positive outlet and an opportunity to enhance their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being."

Marc Laliberté, Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario

LGBTQ Ontarians

To support an inclusive culture that reflects Ontario's communities it is a priority for the ministry to promote opportunities for all Ontarians to participate in sport. Participation in a positive and supportive environment, free from discrimination is fundamental for LGBTQ Ontarians. Freedom from discrimination will remove barriers for participation and will remove the burden of negativity and mistrust that may limit athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers from full participation.

  • A 2014 study found that American youth identifying as a sexual minority were less likely to participate in team sports and engaged in less moderateto- vigorous physical activity compared to their heterosexual identifying counterparts; gender non-conformity and lack of athletic self-esteem were the largest determinants of this participation gap (Calzo et al, 2014).
Examples of success – Pride House

First established in 2010, Pride House has become a mainstay at multi-sport games. Pride Houses were established at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Brazil World Cup, and plans are currently underway to include Pride House at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Here in Ontario, "the TORONTO 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games provided a unique opportunity to build capacity in our LGBTQ communities, to engage LGBTQ people in sport, para-sport and recreation and to challenge and address homophobia and transphobia that prevents LGBTQ people from living active, healthy lives in our communities, province and across the Pan-American region" (PrideHouseTO, 2015). Pride House helped to ensure that athletes and spectators of all sexual orientation were welcomed to Ontario during the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Newcomers to Canada

Newcomers frequently cite organized sport as a vehicle for their integration and inclusion into their new communities. However, these people face barriers to sport participation, such as unfamiliarity. Many newcomers have never encountered hockey, curling, or other winter sports. They may also not know how to navigate the amateur sport system, or access the information they require in order to join up.

  • According to a 2014 study, the top barriers to sport participation for newcomers are cost (54%), time (56%) and other priorities (65%) (Institute for Canadian Citizenship, 2014).

Sport Safety

Participants in sport understand that there is almost always some inherent risk. This is the nature of sport, and the risk increases the faster that activity becomes, the more contact of any kind that is involved, and the more sheer exertion is demanded. There is an onus on the whole sport community to ensure that risks are identified and minimized. Everyone has a role to play in identifying and managing risk in sport. This includes parents, coaches, officials, volunteers, local clubs, PSOs/MSOs, NSOs and government.

Strategies to promote safety and reduce the risk of injury commonly adopt a "3 E" approach focused on education, engineering and enforcement.

  1. Education of athletes, parents, coaches and volunteers throughout the sport system can help reduce the risk of injury by informing people about potential risks, strategies and techniques to avoid injury and effective protocols for managing injuries.
  2. Engineering the development of policies and practices that promote safe competitive environments for sport participants, and encouraging the innovative design of playing surfaces and equipment can help reduce the risk of injury.
  3. Enforcing sport rules consistently can help promote safe competitive environments that mitigate the risk of injury, complemented by the introduction and enforcement of laws to compel risk reducing behaviour when required.

Our Foundation

Promoting Sport Participation

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport's investments encourage Ontarians to become, and remain, active in community sport, recreation and physical activity. The ministry supports opportunities for participation in sport and recreation by developing new programs or increasing access to existing programs. It also strengthens the community sport and recreation sector by providing training in areas such as coaching, youth development, and volunteer development. The ministry also supports initiatives that provide inclusive opportunities, with an emphasis on diverse populations including women and girls, people living with disabilities, newcomer populations, older adults and Aboriginal people.

Accessible Sport and Recreation Infrastructure

The Pan Am/Parapan Am Games have left a legacy of sport and recreation infrastructure across the Greater Toronto Area that has been designed for future community use. Thousands of hours of programming per year will be available in these accessible and barrier-free facilities, allowing people living with disabilities to be active and participate in the sport and recreation activities of their choice.

Concussion Initiatives

The Ministries of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Education and Health and Long-Term Care have collaborated on a concussion web portal that aims to increase concussion awareness, prevention, identification and management in schools and the broader community. Through a Policy and Program Memorandum, the Ministry of Education has required all school boards to develop and implement a policy on concussion. MTCS is working with PSOs and MSOs as they develop concussion protocols for young athletes, and support the Coaching Association of Ontario's efforts to expand concussion management education opportunities for coaches in Ontario.

Provincial and Multi-Sport Organizations

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport works with Provincial and Multi-Sport Organizations to support and promote participation in sport at all levels through direct programming from the PSOs/MSOs and their local clubs. Through all PSO/MSO initiatives (e.g. competitions, programs, events, clinics) safety is a top priority and appropriate safety standards are applied and monitored throughout all initiatives delivered by those organizations. The ministry currently recognizes 81 PSOs/MSOs.

Our Action Plan

Sport Recognition

We WILL update and refocus the sport recognition policy to clarify responsibilities for PSOs/MSOs. The policy will clearly outline the requirements that every PSO/MSO must meet in order to be a recognized provincial body for sport and ensure these organizations continue to offer high-quality and safe programs and services to Ontario's diverse population.

Priority Populations

We WILL review our existing sport programs and work with our partners in sport to improve access for priority populations such as women and girls, children in low-income families, people living with disabilities, Aboriginal people, older Ontarians, newcomers and LGBTQ Ontarians.

Para-Sport

We WILL review para-sport programming to increase and support para-sport participation. The Paralympic movement is growing and there is increased interest and appreciation in seeing Ontario's para-athletes succeed at all levels. As the largest province in Canada, Ontario's representation on national teams should be proportionate to the population. Ontario cannot afford to fall further behind.

Partnerships to Support Children and Youth

We WILL build on our partnerships with the Ministry of Education, education partners and our sport partners to provide even greater access and opportunities for introduction to sport. We will explore partnerships with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and community partners to support vulnerable children and youth to access opportunities to participate in sport as well.

Sport Pathway for Ontario Native Wellness

We WILL fully implement the Sport Pathway for Ontario Native Wellness in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO). This program was launched in 2014-15 to build on the existing mainstream sport and recreation system and provide opportunities for Aboriginal participants, athletes and coaches to achieve their personal best from playground to podium.

Safety in Amateur Combative Sport

We will clarify the legal status of amateur combative sport and work with the combative sport community to develop and implement appropriate health and safety measures in response to federal legislative changes. Combative sports currently represented by a PSO in Ontario include boxing, jiu jitsu, judo, taekwondo, karate, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling and wushu.

North American Indigenous Games

The North American Indigenous Games is a multi-sport games for Aboriginal youth from across North America. The Games provide youth an opportunity to showcase their heritage, history and culture through a variety of sports and cultural events. Young athletes engage in sport competition and cultural events, which promote the holistic concepts of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth of participants. The Government of Ontario is working closely with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario to bring the next North American Indigenous Games to the province.

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Priority Two – Development

  • Athletes receive the right support as their skills develop
  • Athletes have access to trained coaches, officials and volunteers as they progress through the development pathway overseen by effective Provincial and Multi-Sport Organizations (PSOs/MSOs)

More than 35 per cent of children and adolescents drop out of sport annually in North America (Cote and Deakin, 2008).

Success in improving participation in sport is one thing – retaining athletes is another. Research has shown that negative experiences and lack of enjoyment are leading factors contributing to young people dropping out of organized sport. We know that physical changes, emerging body image and development of social identity throughout puberty and adolescence is also a factor. To better support all children and youth to develop as athletes, a healthier, more enjoyable introduction to sport and the acquiring of skills is required. In addition, those athletes who demonstrate skill and ability must be supported, and this will require focused planning and cooperation between PSOs/MSOs, coaches, officials and volunteers.

Organizational Support

That support must begin at the top, with the PSOs and MSOs that provide oversight and leadership to local organizations and clubs. The programs and services delivered by these provincial organizations must be designed to put the needs of athletes first, to ensure that they are both enjoying themselves and gaining the skills, confidence and experience to progress further in their chosen sport. A significant focus of the Ontario Government's Sport Plan is to ensure that PSOs and MSOs have the mandate and capacity to ensure clear pathways to development for Ontario athletes.

Coaches

Coaches play a critical role in every sport, guiding the physical, mental and emotional development of the athletes in their charge. Good coaches make a difference. If we are to build and strengthen organized sport in Ontario, we must develop the best possible coaches.

Women in Coaching

Like women and girls participating in sports, women in coaching positions is also a gap in the sport system. Sport Canada identified that "the number of women trained as coaches and actively coaching – particularly in high-performance contexts – remains persistently low. The limited information available regarding women in other roles, notably within the governance of sport organizations or as technical leaders and officials, indicates that the experiences and skills of women are not being optimized in these domains either" (Sport Canada, 2015). In developing the best possible coaches, Ontario must also work to ensure the gender gap in coaching is recognized, and that female coaches can be attracted and retained within the system.

"Whether as a volunteer coach of a community league team or a professional coach of high-performance athletes, coaches are critical to the success of athletes by training and inspiring them to achieve their potential."

Susan Kitchen, Coaches Association of Ontario

Officials

Without officials, sport competitions are simply games – fun, entertaining, but lacking in the structure required to ensure that rules are followed and the competition is fair and equitable. Without any question, a vibrant organized sport system requires well-trained officials – the quality of the sport experience and the safety of the athletes depend on it.

Volunteers

It is a fact of organized sport everywhere that much of the heavy lifting is done by volunteers. From the thousands of volunteers who make events like the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games possible to the volunteer coach who makes a difference in the life of one young soccer player, the strength of the sport sector is in its dedicated, loyal volunteers.

Here in Ontario, there are 121,000 coaches and 58,000 officials. They are able to do what they do thanks to the efforts of 363,000 volunteers. Approximately 90 per cent of Ontario sport and recreation not-for-profit organizations rely on volunteers, accounting for almost 28,000 fulltime employee equivalents (Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade, 2014).

"Volunteers are one of the most important resources that community organizations have. The ability and commitment of people to work willingly together for the betterment of their community and themselves is a valuable resource."

Saäd Rafi, CEO, Toronto 2015

Post-Secondary Sport

Intercollegiate and interuniversity sport is an important training ground for skill acquisition, development of athletes, coaches and officials and the advancement of high-performance sport research. Better partnerships between the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association, Ontario University Athletics, and the ministry could contribute to an improved sport system in Ontario.

Our Foundation

Funding for Provincial Sport and Multi-sport Organizations (PSOs/MSOs)

The Base Funding Program provides financial assistance for the delivery of core programs and services at the provincial level, such as provincial competitions and training of athletes, coaches and officials. In addition, through the Sport Priority Funding Program, the ministry provides project funding to pilot new, creative initiatives that go beyond daily operations supported through the base funding.

Support for the Coaches Association of Ontario

The ministry provides annual funding support to the Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO), which is a non-profit, central coordinating body focused on professional development, education as well as advocacy for coaches. A main focus of CAO is delivery of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), which is a recognized national standard for coach training, education and certification.

Games Ontario

Beginning in 2015, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has assumed responsibility for delivering Games Ontario. These multi-sport competitions showcase Ontario's athletes and communities, while offering participants, volunteers and spectators the chance to experience the challenge and excitement of amateur sport in Ontario. The program brings together athletes from across the province to participate in the Ontario Summer and Winter Games, 55+ Games and also the ParaSport Games. Each Games leaves behind an important legacy of community pride and sport tourism development in the host community.

Our Action Plan

Funding Programs

We WILL redesign funding programs to reduce administrative burden and duplication, and improve the application processes. This will lead to greater financial certainty for PSOs/MSOs to strengthen athlete programming, identify clear athlete performance targets, develop a stronger talent identification system, and develop strategic plans for their organizations.

Games Ontario

We WILL renew the Games Ontario Program, which will provide our athletes with quality competitive experiences and opportunities to pursue their sport goals. It will also grow our base of community sport volunteers and contribute to tourism, economic activity and a sense of pride in host communities.

Recognize Achievement

We WILL recognize individuals and organizations that deliver superior athletic performances or make significant contributions to advance the sport system in Ontario, and celebrate these individuals as role models for the next generation of Ontario's athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers.

Pan Am/Parapan Am Legacies

We WILL maximize the legacy of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games by capitalizing on the volunteer base and related resources created through the Games, ensuring that knowledge gained in delivering the Games is transferred to PSOs/MSOs, and encouraging the Games sponsor group and others to continue investing in amateur sport.

Support Coaches and Volunteers

We WILL continue to support PSOs/MSOs in their efforts to recruit and train coaches, and volunteers. Increasingly, our efforts will focus on skill and knowledge acquisition, and retaining the quality coaches developed in Ontario.

Support Officials

We WILL work with PSOs/MSOs to establish more opportunities for officials to practice the skills and techniques required to support quality sport experiences. Officiating can be challenging, and we recognize that without officials, competition cannot take place.

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Priority Three – Excellence

  • Athletes can pursue excellence in high-performance sport
  • Athletes have competitive training and development opportunities, access to the latest high-performance programs, services, facilities and technologies and are led by quality coaches, technical leaders and sport science and medicine experts

In any group of athletes, there will be a few who are determined to excel. Some are faster, throw more accurately, and have quicker reflexes. Others are determined to take whatever talent they have and build on it, grow it, and take it as far as humanly possible. We want to support and develop these athletes, because with the proper support they can achieve excellence. They can be the role models we want for our young athletes, and can be a source of pride to their communities and their province.

Simply put, helping our athletes pursue and achieve excellence contributes to building a successful, vital province where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and achieve their goals.

Technical Leaders and High-Performance Coaches

Technical leaders work regularly with coaches to ensure high-performance athletes receive world-class care and support for their training, recovery and competition programs. Technical leaders frequently work on integrated support teams (ISTs). These teams comprise sport scientists and experts in a wide range of fields, including sport medicine, exercise physiology, mental preparation, psychology, biomechanics, nutrition, strength and conditioning, chiropractic, physical therapy and massage therapy as well as sport administrators. The goal of an IST is to ensure that athletes are healthy, fit and psychologically ready for optimal performance.

High-performance coaches enable athletes to advance their development and excel in sport. Together with technical leaders, they will hold the key to future Ontario athletes taking the final step from high-level accomplishment to flat-out excellence.

Sport Hosting

Hosting international amateur sport events, such as the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, helps position Ontario as a key destination for both national and international competitions. It offers Ontario and its communities the opportunity to welcome visitors and internationally showcase the province. In host communities, an event can encourage the creation of lasting partnerships, produce economic and social benefits and help develop sport at the community club level.

Our Foundation

Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Legacies

It is estimated that by 2017, the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games will have contributed $3.7 billion to Ontario's GDP (Government of Ontario, 2015).

One of the great legacies of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games is an unprecedented opportunity to build a sport culture and put in place a sport system that allows athletes to pursue and achieve excellence.

The Games will leave behind a legacy that will continue to enrich Ontario for decades. Ten new venues were built for the games, and 14 existing sport facilities were upgraded. This includes the three key facilities that will be operated and maintained through the Toronto 2015 Sport Legacy Fund.

These facilities will serve as community recreation hubs, to be used both by Ontarians seeking exercise and fun, and athletes who want to continue striving for excellence in the wake of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. Thanks to these new and upgraded facilities, there will be numerous opportunities to bid for and host major provincial, national and international events. This will support both the development of sport tourism and high-performance sport in Ontario, and further establish this province as a prime destination for premier national and international sporting events.

"Elite athlete performance is a complicated system of preparation and discipline. Having new facilities and a high-performance institute in Ontario changes the landscape for high-performance sport in this province."

Mandy Bujold, Boxer, Pan Am Gold Medalist, Quest for Gold Athlete

A Legacy of Excellence

The three world-class sports facilities built for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games will greatly contribute to the development of high-level Canadian athletes.

Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House

The Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) has moved its head office to the Aquatics Centre and Field House. Wheelchair Basketball Canada, Diving Canada, Swimming Canada, Synchro Canada and Judo Canada have also located national training and development programs at the facility.

Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome

The Milton Velodrome will allow the Canadian cycling team to stay home to train in a world-class, year-round facility for the first time in more than two decades. Cycling Canada and Cycling Ontario are also opening offices at the facility.

Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium at York University

Athletics Canada will make use of the new Athletics Stadium and facilities to expand its high-performance programs.

A $70 million Legacy Fund, jointly created by the federal government and the province of Ontario, will contribute to the operating and capital maintenance of the facilities for at least the next two decades, ensuring greater opportunities for athletes in Ontario and Canada to train, compete and excel.

Team Ontario

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport supports hundreds of athletes, coaches, managers, support personnel and mission staff who represent Ontario in the Canada Summer and Winter Games. The Games are an important component of our sport system, and a key event in the development of Ontario's young athletes. The Games provide athletes with an opportunity to compete in a multi-sport atmosphere and prepare them as the next generation of international competitors.

Canadian Sport Institute Ontario

The Canadian Sport Institute Ontario delivers programs and services to high-performance athletes and coaches that are intended to enhance their ability to achieve international podium performances. The CSIO is part of a network of sport institutes across Canada that deliver highperformance programs and services to athletes, coaches and sport organizations, and is the Government of Ontario's primary delivery partner of high-performance sport programs.

The new facility also provides our high-performance para-athletes with access to expert training and specialized equipment. High-performance para-athletes from across the country will have the opportunity to train at the facility because of the accessibility features and programming available. Because of the design of this facility, Ontario is also now able to host future international para sporting competitions which otherwise would not have been possible.

Ontario High-Performance Sport Initiative

The Ontario High-Performance Sport Initiative (OHPSI) was created by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. The goal of OHPSI is to identify those athletes who are most capable of achieving future international podium success in targeted sports, and provide funding to support their optimum daily training environment. The OHPSI program provides these high-performance athletes with access to technical expertise, the latest sport science practices, specialized coaching, equipment and competitive training opportunities. In the years to come, it will play a significant role in supporting Ontario's next generation of high-potential athletes, some of whom may one day represent Canada at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games or Olympic/Paralympic Games.

Quest for Gold

The Quest for Gold Program was established to provide additional support to athletes from Ontario and to increase the performance and number of Ontario athletes competing at the highest national and international levels, thereby contributing to the improved performance of Canada at international competitions. The objectives of the program are to:

  • help athletes continue their pursuit of athletic excellence at the highest levels of national and international competition;
  • encourage athletes to stay in Ontario to live and train;
  • compensate athletes for earnings lost while training;
  • enable athletes to successfully pursue excellence in sport while fulfilling their educational goals;
  • increase athlete access to high-performance coaching; and
  • enhance training and competitive opportunities available to athletes.

Ontario Women’s Hockey Association

The Ontario Women's Hockey Association (OWHA) had a vision to develop female hockey to the highest level. In 1982 they hosted the first National Championship and lobbied for acceptance in the Winter Olympics. In 1987 the OWHA hosted the First Women's World Hockey Tournament. The OWHA has a goal to place Ontario athletes on national teams and to develop athletes who are exceptional role models for Ontarians. Membership (players and coaches) has grown from 4,900 in 1987 to 58,499 in 2015.

International Amateur Sport Hosting

Since the 2006 launch of Ontario's International Amateur Sport Hosting Policy, Ontario has approved funding of over $13 million to support 55 events. These investments position Ontario as a key destination for sport and tourism and help improve high-performance sport for athletes and para-athletes in Ontario. Hosting international sport events means increased economic activity through job creation and tourism. It also promotes community growth by encouraging the development of high-performance sport infrastructure.

Our High-Performance Athletes at the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games

  • Ontario athletes represented 40 per cent of Team Canada's roster at the Pan Am Games and 34 per cent of the roster at the Parapan Am Games.
  • Almost 70 per cent of Ontario's Pan Am athletes and 86 per cent of Parapan athletes have received Quest for Gold funding.
  • Ontario athletes, as part of Team Canada, contributed to 109 Pan Am medals and 63 Parapan Am medals, which accounted for 45 per cent of all medals won by Team Canada.

Our Action Plan

Strive for Excellence

We will continue to support high-performance training, programming and competitive opportunities for able and para-athletes by working with the sport sector to modernize the Quest for Gold athlete support program and providing long-term sustainable funding for the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario.

Celebrate Excellence

We will conduct an ongoing public education and awareness campaign to celebrate the achievements of amateur athletes and amateur sport in Ontario. The success of our amateur athletes and the ability to watch them succeed at home and internationally are the pinnacle of a healthy sport system.

Sport Hosting

We will build on the infrastructure and volunteer legacies of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, seeking out sport hosting opportunities that will utilize the new infrastructure built for the Games, support more competitions for our athletes, and make Ontario an ever more attractive destination for national and international sporting events.

Sport Tourism

We will develop a sport tourism plan to attract more observers and showcase more events, such as international amateur championships. Additionally, we will encourage more participants in sporting events such as marathons, to capitalize on the contributions sport makes to economic development.

Leverage Private Sector Partnerships

We will work with the private sector to align commercial investments with Ontario sport programs or sector needs. Leveraging private sector investments allows for sport hosting to be done more economically. Examples of leveraging the private sector can be done through partnerships, sponsorships, and identifying official suppliers, just to name a few.

Upcoming Sport Hosting Opportunities

Ontario is the proud host of the following events:

  • The City of Windsor will host the 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships (25 metre).
  • Toronto, along with Montreal, will be one of the two venues for the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.
  • The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation will host the 2017 North American Indigenous Games.
  • The 2021 Canada Games will be held in Ontario. The location of the 2021 Games has not been determined, with the province and the Canada Games Council working together to confirm the timelines and requirements for securing a host city.

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Minister’s Advisory Panel

Over the next few years, a Minister's Advisory Panel, comprised of leaders in each of the three priority areas, will guide implementation of the plan.

Key responsibilities of the Advisory Panel will include:

  • providing expertise and advice on achieving outcomes outlined in the plan;
  • facilitating stakeholder cooperation where appropriate;
  • identifying potential issues and solutions affecting the implementation of the plan; and
  • providing other advice related to amateur sport in the province, as requested by the Minister.

In its first year, the Advisory Panel will be tasked with investigating opportunities to advance women and girls in sport, in each of the three priority areas. In early 2016, a roundtable will take place with the Minister's Advisory Panel and other experts from the sector to further discuss women and girls in sport.

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Conclusion

Game ON is a plan for putting athletes first by encouraging their participation, ensuring their safety, supporting their development and giving them every possible opportunity to achieve excellence. In order to accomplish all this, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport will provide leadership, both through policy development and through engagement and collaboration with stakeholders. In the first year we will establish a Minister's Advisory Panel, and host the first annual Ontario Sport Symposium, bringing together leaders in the field of sport in Ontario to look at ways to implement this plan, highlight research, and move forward with our plan for sport in the province. We will continue to fund programs and services and work with our partners – in other ministries and levels of government, sport and community organizations, the private sector and individuals – to constantly advance the priorities of this plan and strengthen the sector.

The Ontario Government's Sport Plan will build on the legacies of the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in a demonstrable and measurable way. It will provide leadership to the sport sector by clarifying government priorities. It will improve efficiency, formalize roles and responsibilities, and provide clear, measurable outcomes that are focused on results.

Sport plays a unique role in our society. There is nothing like it for fostering better health, inspiring camaraderie and loyalty, and engaging onlookers in the timeless drama of victory and defeat. Sport showcases virtues such as courage and grace, it provides role models, and it has the power both to unite and to awe.

The Ontario Government's Sport Plan is designed to ensure that this province, and its people, are able to experience all that sport has to offer. It will go well beyond the actions listed above. It is intended to be a living document, adapting over time to specific events and changing circumstances. What will remain consistent is our three priorities – Participation, Development, Excellence – and our commitment and leadership to putting Ontario athletes first.

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Glossary of Terms

Concussions
A common form of head and brain injury, and can be caused by a direct or indirect hit to the head or body (for example, a sport injury). This causes a change in brain function, which results in a variety of symptoms. With a concussion there is no visible injury to the structure of the brain, meaning that tests like MRI or CT scans usually appear normal (Parachute, 2015).
Legacy
A long-term economic, cultural, or material outcome as a result of an immediate project-based investment and initiative. The term, legacy, has been used commonly to describe the long term effects of infrastructure investments for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.
Para-Sport
Sport (refer to definition below) with adaptations for inclusive participation for individuals of all ability levels.
Physical Activity
Any activity which involves gross muscular activation and increases one's heart rate to above resting levels.
Physical Literacy
The motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life (International Physical Literacy Association, 2014).
Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs)
Not-for-profit organizations formally recognized by the Ministry as the sole governing bodies of a particular amateur sport in Ontario. PSOs are self-governing organizations, responsible for selecting provincial teams, training coaches and officials, and conducting provincial championships.
Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD)
A framework for an optimal training, competition and recovery schedule for each stage of athletic development.
Multi-Sport Organizations (MSOs)
Not-for-profit organizations formally recognized by the Ministry that organize or promote sport opportunities within multiple sport disciplines on behalf of its members. MSOs are self-governing organizations, responsible for selecting provincial teams (where applicable), conducting provincial championships, and ensuring they operate in accordance with the rules of National Sport Organizations.
Sport
A regulated form of physical activity organized as a contest between two or more participants for the purpose of determining a winner by fair and ethical means. Such contests may be in the form of a game, match, race or other form of event.

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References

Calzo et al. (2014). Physical Activity Disparities in Heterosexual and Sexual Minority Youth Ages 12-22 Years Old: Roles of Childhood Gender Nonconformity and Athletic Self-Esteem. Annals of Behavioral Medicine : A Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 47(1), 17-27.


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*Based on Statistics Canada Travel Survey of Residents of Canada and the International Travel Survey. All computations on this data were prepared by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.