New chapter written in Canadian Paralympic Movement

Canadian Paralympic Committee

January 24, 2024

History made where history lives!

Marc-Andre Fabien, Sanjay Malaviya, Aurelie Rivard, Nicolas-Guy Turbide, Priscilla Gagne and guide dog Zophia, Karolina Wisniewska, Karen O'Neill and Dean Brokop at the Canadan Paralympic Team Announcement

GATINEAU, Que. –  The house where Canada’s vast and varied history resides hosted one of the biggest announcements in Canadian Paralympic sport on Wednesday. Beginning in 2024 at the Paralympic Games in Paris, Canadian medal winners will receive performance bonuses for the first time.

The details of the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s performance recognition program were unveiled in the majestic grand hall at the Museum of History. Beaming proudly was five-time Paralympic alumnae Todd Nicholson, one of the many Para athletes to pave the way for this moment to become a reality.

The retired Para ice hockey player, also an influential figure in the boardrooms of the Canadian and international sport community with many leadership roles in his career, says full time dedication to one’s Para sport is now essential to achieve success.

“This is a great opportunity for so many people to continue on and stay competitive with their sporting career,” said Nicholson. ‘’At the elite level today in Para sport, it is very difficult financially to work full time and compete at the level you need.”

Nicholson says it is important to not to view the program as prize money.

‘’There is nothing that makes our athletes prouder than wearing the Canadian colours. That’s why they compete. The rewards program provides a great incentive and can ease the burden of living and training expenses.”

Charlottetown’s Amy Burk of Canada’s women’s goalball team, that recently won gold at the Parapan Am Games to qualify for Paris 2024, talked about fairness for Paralympians.

“To just be looked at and considered as equals to our Olympic counterparts is a huge step forward,” said Burk, heading to her fifth Games in Paris. ‘’It shows we are moving in the right direction. To be here and witness this announcement has been incredible.”

A 10-time Paralympic medallist in Para swimming, Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. says the announcement will have an impact on how Canadians view Paralympic sport.

‘’This goes beyond the sports news,” said Rivard, who heads overseas with her teammates Thursday for a World Cup in Aberdeen, Scotland. “I feel like my community and country are telling me they value me as an athlete, the work I put into it and the performances.

‘’We are increasing the value of a Paralympic medal in the eye of the public.”

Can Crew Newsletter

Receive the latest news, athlete stories, and behind-the-scenes access directly to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields