TORONTO/OTTAWA– On Monday, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and Own the Podium (OTP) announced a $5M investment in a phased return to high-performance sport.
The investment, made possible by the support of respective stakeholders, will be directed to areas where there is the greatest need as identified by the Return to Sport Task Force. The priority is to optimize safe and healthy environments for athletes to return to high-performance sport.
Led by OTP the Return to Sport Task Force has developed a National Framework of minimum standards based on current evidence, and guidelines from the provincial, territorial, and federal health authorities. The National Framework focuses on ‘how’ the reintroduction of sport activity will occur in a responsible manner from an athlete, coach, and practitioner perspective.
The framework, alongside this investment, is believed to signal the beginning of a recovery plan for sport, which is ingrained in Canadian culture.
“A return to high-performance sport does not happen overnight, nor is there a one-stop solution. As Canada’s high-performance athletes and coaches will soon return to training in pursuit of their Olympic and Paralympic dreams, we want them to be able to do so in a manner that is safe for them, their families, and their communities. Our focus currently is on investing in measures that optimize a healthy and safe return to training. As the environment changes, the funds will continue to invest in key priorities identified by our medical and technical experts.”
- David Shoemaker, CEO, Canadian Olympic Committee
“We are incredibly pleased with this collaborative approach to look at solutions for returning to high-performance sport. Together, we are committed to supporting the sport community, and it is so important to get this right. The financial investment is a great first step forward in the recovery plan, and we will continue to work towards a return to sport based on expert recommendations, with a clear priority of ensuring our athletes, coaches, and support teams are in a safe and healthy environment for themselves and their families.”
- Karen O’Neill, CEO, Canadian Paralympic Committee
“Sport has the power to reunite and heal a nation – from our youth being physically active in all corners of the country to our nation’s best training for the podium. I truly believe high-performance sport will play a pivotal role in strengthening and rebuilding communities across Canada. This significant funding investment will be a critical tool to help our high-performance community fulfil its responsibility to get it right, and ultimately, play a leading role in opening the doors for a return of sport in Canada - from playground to podium.”
- Anne Merklinger, CEO, Own the Podium
“This is a tremendous announcement by the COC, CPC and OTP and will be beneficial for all Canadian sport. This critical investment in the sport system is a much needed additional step to ensure a safe transition for Canada’s athletes and coaches in a return to training and, ultimately, a return to competition.”
- Ahmed El-Awadi, CEO, Swimming Canada
“We are truly grateful for the effort and investment towards ensuring athletes can return to sport in a safe and healthy environment. The athletes are excited to get back to it but know this comes with great responsibility as we have a long road ahead of rebuilding. We remain optimistic to know the opportunity to return to training is giving Team Canada the chance to shine in Tokyo next summer.”
- Rosie MacLennan, two-time Olympic champion and Vice-Chair, Canadian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission
“We know that athletes are anxious and excited to get back to training but also want to make sure a return to sport is done carefully and appropriately, with not only their health, but the health of their families and communities in mind. This is a wonderful investment and a sign of the commitment to providing athletes with the best environments to start training again and working towards their goals on the field of play.”
- Tony Walby, Chair, Canadian Paralympic Athletes’ Council