TORONTO – The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), along with its Athletes’ Commission, expressed gratitude to the Government of Canada for investing 18 per cent more in direct financial support to the country’s high performance athletes.
In his 2017 budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the government would increase funding allocated to the Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) by $5 million dollars a year, the first increase in 13 years.
Direct funding through to senior AAP carded athletes has remained at $18,000 a year since 2004 despite a 24 per cent increase in cost of living while AAP development carded athletes receive $10,800. The COC’s Athletes’ Commission along with other athlete and sport organizations, including the COC and the Canadian Paralympic Committee, has long advocated for increased assistance.
Athletes are eligible for AAP funding if they meet carding requirements set by their national sport federations based on their results at Olympic and Paralympic Games, world championships and world cup events. The AAP is open to sports that are part of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games programs.
The COC also commends the Government of Canada for recognizing the critical role of sport in fostering healthy living and inclusion among Aboriginal youth. $18.9 million over five years have been earmarked to support community initiatives and the North American Indigenous Games, and ensure national sport development programs are more inclusive of Aboriginal athletes.
“I thank the government for investing in our athletes and look forward to learning how this will be rolled out. We need to give them stable funding so they can plan their lives, education and training, and remain in sport to represent Canada internationally. Olympians are key ambassadors for their communities. Their accomplishments unite Canadians like little else can and inspire youth to reach higher in whatever they choose to do in life. We will continue to work with the government to find ways to better support athletes and the development of sport at all levels.
– Jeff Christie, Chair, COC Athletes’ Commission, Two–time Olympian, Luge
“The COC Athletes’ Commission has been pushing for an update for quite a long time so we are really happy that Minister Morneau and the Trudeau government have made athlete funding a priority. Canadians get right behind our athletes during the Olympic Games and world cup events, and this is a huge step in the right direction to ensure that Canada supports them every step of the way in their journey to reach the podium.”
– Adam van Koeverden, Former Vice-Chair, COC Athletes’ Commission, Four‑time Olympic Medallist, Canoe/Kayak
“We applaud the work of the Trudeau government and the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities for their continued support of high performance sport, specifically through this increase in direct funding to athletes. We also congratulate the athletes who advocated for this initiative on behalf of their peers including COC Athletes’ Commission Chair Jeff Christie and former Vice-Chair Adam van Koeverden. This will make a huge difference for Canadian athletes who compete against the best in the world.”
– Chris Overholt, CEO & Secretary General, Canadian Olympic Committee
Post via Canadian Olympic Committee
OTTAWA – The Canadian Paralympic Committee and Canadian Paralympians are pleased with and grateful for the investment in sport announced in the 2017 federal budget this afternoon, in particular the 18 per cent increase to the Athlete Assistance Program of $25 million over five years, ongoing.
The Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) seeks to relieve some of the financial pressures associated with preparing for and participating in international sport and assists high-performance Canadian athletes to combine their sport and academic or working careers while training intensively in pursuit of world-class performances.
The funding amount for the Athlete Assistance Program had been unchanged for the past 12 years. With this new budget, high performance sport will see an increase in the monthly stipends that eligible national team athletes receive, currently set at between $900 and $1,500.
“On behalf of the Canadian Paralympic athlete community, we are very grateful for the support of the Government of Canada, especially through the Athlete Assistance Program and we are thrilled to hear today of the increased investment in the AAP,” said Chelsey Gotell, Chair of the Canadian Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council and a three-time Paralympian in swimming and 12-time Paralympic medallist. The Athletes’ Council is an elected group of current and retired Paralympic athletes (within the past eight years) that serves as the collective voice, advocating the best interests of Canada’s Paralympic athletes and the Paralympic movement within Canada.
“As a Paralympian, it is a privilege and an honour to compete for Canada on the international stage,” added Gotell. “National team athletes don’t do it for the money. We do it because we love our sport, we want to push our limits, and we have a passion to be the best we can be. Our business is sport and our job is to win medals. This increased investment has exciting potential to help retain athletes in the sport system for a longer period of time, while also helping new athletes by providing resources to train at a world-class level sooner and longer – which will enhance ultimately Canada’s performance at the Paralympic Games.”
In addition, the budget detailed $19 million for aboriginal sport and $1.34 billion over the next 10 years for provincial and territorial sport, recreation and culture infrastructure development. Canadian Paralympic Committee President Gaétan Tardif echoed the applause from the Paralympic community.
“Our Paralympic athletes and coaches are role models for all Canadians and play a key part in generating national pride and inspiring more Canadians to be physically active,” said Tardif. “Minister Qualtrough and this Government took the time to ask what was important, they listened and responded, and for this we are most grateful. We believe in accessibility, inclusivity and sport for all, from playground to podium. Thank you to the Government of Canada for this important new funding and for their deep belief in the value of sport.”
Post via Canadian Paralympic Committee