Role of Sport Canada

Whether you are a high-performance athlete or sport is simply part of your active lifestyle, our sport system offers opportunities for everyone to get involved, get fit and excel in sport.  The Government of Canada supports our athletes and many of the national organizations that make up our sport system through Sport Canada programs and policies.

Sport Canada provides leadership and funding to help ensure a strong Canadian sport system which enables Canadians to progress from early sport experiences to high performance excellence. 

Sport Canada Programs

Sport Canada programs support our sport system at the national level, provide financial assistance to our high-performance athletes, advance the objectives of the Canadian Sport Policy, and help Canadian organizations host sport events that create opportunities for Canadians to compete at the national and international level.

  • The Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) contributes to improved Canadian athlete performances at major international sporting events, enabling athletes to combine their sport and academic or working careers while training intensively in pursuit of world-class performances.
  • The Hosting Program aims to enhance the development of sport excellence and the international profile of sport organizations by assisting sport organizations to host the Canada Games and international sport events in Canada.
  • The Sport Support Program (SSP) is aimed at developing athletes and coaches at the highest international levels; providing sound technically based sport programming for all athletes; increasing the number of Canadians from all segments of society involved in sport, and advancing Canadian interests and values in Canada and abroad.

Special Initiatives

Sport Canada also has a number of special initiatives to advance the goals of the Canadian Sport Policy.

The Sport Funding and Accountability Framework (SFAF) is the tool used by Canadian Heritage to identify which national organizations are eligible to receive Sport Canada contributions under the Sport Support Program - in what areas, at what level and under what conditions.

Sport Canada’s programs are based on Long-Term Athlete Development, as a cornerstone of technically sound sport.  Within the Sport Support Program, funding for targeted excellence is allocated based on the expert recommendations of Own the Podium.

The Sport Development Framework sets out the logic for Sport Canada’s programs and policies, and is a guide for system analysis and decision-making.

Support for Sport in Canada

The Government of Canada, through Sport Canada, is the single largest investor in Canada’s amateur sport system.

The mission of Sport Canada is to enhance opportunities for all Canadians to participate and excel in sport.

Historical funding levels for Sport Canada (in $ millions)

Linear graph illustrating Federal Sport Funding. Details in the table following the image.
Historical funding levels for Sport Canada (in $ millions) - Text version
Federal Sport Funding
$ Millions
2015-16 $196.78
2014-15 $201.98
2013-14 $198.20
2012-13 $195.90
2011-12 $198.81
2010-11 $196.60
2009-10 $158.68
2008-09 $151.32
2007-08 $136.78
2006-07 $137.83
2005-06 $133.90
2004-05 $123.28
2003-04 $96.09
2002-03 $79.22

The Government of Canada is the single largest investor in Canada's sport system, providing funding for initiatives to support our high-performance athletes and to promote sport participation among all Canadians, from playground to podium.

The Government of Canada provides financial support through three programs:

  • Through the Athlete Assistance Program, every year $28 million in funding goes directly to approximately 1900 athletes, giving them financial assistance to pursue world-class results while achieving their academic and career goals.
  • The Sport Support Program provides about $146 million to Canadian sport organizations to strengthen our national sport system and benefit our athletes and coaches.
  • The Hosting Program provides about $20 million annually to assist Canadian communities in hosting world-class international sport events and the Canada Games. In addition, funding is provided to support travel costs related to the participation of athletes in the Canada Games.

Each year, about $62 million of the Sport Support Program’s total amount is provided as enhanced excellence funding for targeted sports and athletes with medal potential at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, based on recommendations made by Own the Podium.

Canada is proud to be a leading sport nation—both at home and abroad—where all Canadians can enjoy, value, and celebrate the benefits of active participation and excellence in sport.

Support for the sport system involves many stakeholders, including the Government of Canada, the private sector, provincial and territorial governments, multisport service organizations, and national sport organizations.

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