Minister St-Onge Meets with Sport Partners from the Western Region

News release

VICTORIA, January 20, 2022

Making sport more accessible to all is a priority for the Government of Canada.

The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, hosted a virtual roundtable today with representatives from the Aboriginal Sport Circle and its Western chapters: Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (British Columbia), Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (Saskatchewan), Manitoba Aboriginal Sports & Recreation Council Inc., Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle, and Aboriginal Sports Circle of the Northwest Territories.

The goal of the roundtable was to allow the participants to share their respective reality as they weather the pandemic and to listen to their concerns. These organizations make a significant contribution to the Sport for Social Development in Indigenous Communities initiative, which focuses on sport as an important tool for social change. Each year, more than $2,5 million is distributed to six Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Bodies (PTASBs) in Western Canada so they can organize sport for social development projects in their communities.

Minister St‑Onge continued her virtual meeting by speaking with leaders from the Free Play for Kids organization, which works to provide vulnerable children in the Edmonton area with the opportunity to play sport in a safe, accessible and inclusive environment at no cost to them or their families. This organization is a funding recipient of Sport Canada’s Innovation Initiative. It received more than $540,000 over three years to conduct a pilot project to promote leadership in sport for newcomer and minority youth.

Finally, Minister St‑Onge concluded her meeting by speaking with Sport for Life Society, an organization that collaborates with key stakeholders to improve quality sport and physical literacy through the Canadian sport system. Thanks to Sport Canada’s funding, Sport for Life Society is also supporting the development of sport initiatives for Indigenous youth and gender equity in sport across the country.

This virtual tour with sport partners was the second in a series of regional visits designed to strengthen connections and collaboration with the Canadian sport community.


“We know there is much more to do to make sport accessible to all Canadians. Along with the Canadian sport community, we will work together to tackle the many challenges we face, such as improving diversity and inclusion in sport in Canada and building a safe and healthy sport environment.”

—The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

“The Aboriginal Sport Circle welcomes Minister Pascale St-Onge’s engagement with our organization and the Aboriginal Sport Circle’s members in Western Canada. Conversations such as these greatly help to align and advance our mutually held objectives to improve sport infrastructure and increase Indigenous participation in sport, physical activity and traditional practices in the region and nationwide.”

—Rob Newman, President, Aboriginal Sport Circle

“Sport for Life has worked closely with Sport Canada since 2004, and our organization’s mission, vision and values align significantly with the Department of Canadian Heritage’s sport mandate to ensure a holistic and balanced strategic approach to sport development in Canada, along with improving the quality of programming to increase Canadians’ participation and excellence in sport. We look forward to continuing discussions on the ways in which our programs and services, such as our Quality Sport for Communities and Clubs and our Physical Literacy for Communities initiatives, can support the Department in achieving its mandate. At Sport for Life, we are committed to use the power of sport to change the world and see tremendous value in being able to connect with the Minister of Sport to continue to improve the quality of sport for everyone living in Canada."

—Richard Way, CEO, Sport for Life

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is the largest supporter of the sport system in the country. It has invested more than $86 million in the Canadian sport community to help mitigate financial difficulties related to COVID-19.

  • Five of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action, 87 to 91, are specifically related to sport. Sport Canada is committed to working on several fronts to respond to these calls to action. In addition, Sport Canada works closely with Indigenous organizations, particularly the Aboriginal Sport Circle, to make sure that the calls to action focused on sport are addressed in a way that respects Indigenous points of view and furthers reconciliation.

  • Sport Canada’s Innovation Initiative has three main goals: test new or adapted quality sport approaches (for example, new programs, strategies and technologies) that align with one or more of the Canadian Sport Policy goals; evaluate and document successes and failures of the approach; and share results for nationwide use and implementation.

  • Free Play for Kids has been successfully operating since 2007 and has become a leader in the sport community for encouraging newcomers/minorities to participate in sport.

  • Sport for Life Society (SLS) is recognized as the national expert on long-term athlete development (LTAD) and physical literacy development. Its objectives include improving quality sport and physical activity in Canada. SLS works to advance LTAD alignment within the sport system.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Ariane Joazard-Bélizaire
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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