Canadian Sport To Benefit From Federal Funding

By Ben Hamill - May 11 2020
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 Canadian Sport To Benefit From Federal Funding

Crucial relief has been pledged by federal government to the thousands of Canadian athletes struggling to make even basic ends meet as a result of the indefinite cancellation of all major sports events.  Government has promised a sum of CA$72 million in monetary relief aid in an attempt to help those athletes no longer able to support themselves or their families. The availability of the funds was announced by Federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault on March 8th after several news agencies ran reports about the desperate financial situations faced by many.

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The money pledged will be specifically made available to amateur athletes and those organisations that classify as amateur sport organisations. These, according to Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Schoemaker, include national sports organisations, various sports institutes and also multi-sport service organisations. Professional sports will not be covered by the pledged monetary aid. The key focus behind the idea of emergency funding, said Shoemaker, is to ensure that local amateur sports organisations remain viable throughout the national downtimes.

The Distribution Process

The money will be divided among national sport organisations (CA$34.5 million), provinces and local territories (CA$32.5 million) and finally, the Athlete Assistance Program (CA$5 million). The budget will supposedly be distributed among the beneficiaries on a basis of need and urgency, as “need” is according to Shoemaker the main principle currently at play.

Those athletes affected from all ends, i.e. situations where means of income is affected by current global economic circumstances as well as by Olympic and Paralympic postponements, will also qualify for financial assistance from the government-pledged funding.

Change Is Inevitable

Rowing Canada CEO Terry Dillon has expressed his gratitude regarding the allocation of the funding. According to Dillon, many NSOs, including of course Rowing Canada, have experienced substantial losses in revenue and income, and even to the extent of some of those NSOs now running a real risk of capsizing financially. Sport is a significant contributor to that which makes Canada to be Canada, concluded Dillon.

But even despite at least some help being at hand, there exists a real possibility that some of the country’s NSOs may not survive current challenges. And once the current crisis has taken its leave, NSOs of the future may not look the same as what they’ve done in the past. The money pledged by government may seem like quite a bit of money, but given the magnitude of the crisis, it may not prove nearly enough to save everyone in need of a lifeline.

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