Innovation Initiative — Sport Support Program

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Sport Canada is looking for organizations that are interested in testing new ways of working in sport, are committed to monitoring and measuring results, have an interest in collaborating with researchers and evaluators, and are willing to share the stories nationwide to improve sport participation experiences for Canadians.

Objectives and expected results for the Sport Support Program – Innovation Initiative

The Innovation Initiative is a subcomponent of the Sport Support Program (SSP) which supports the development of Canadian athletes and coaches. The SSP – Innovation Initiative provides funding to eligible organizations for the testing of innovative programming that supports the goals of the Canadian Sport Policy.

The SSP – Innovation Initiative enables the testing of innovative quality sport approaches, the trial of new programs, strategies, and technologies; in order to develop evidence-based solutions that can be shared nationwide.

The objectives of the SSP – Innovation Initiative are to:

  1. test new or adapted quality sport approaches (e.g. new programs, strategies and technologies) that align with one or more of the Canadian Sport Policy goals;
  2. evaluate and document successes and failures of the approach; and
  3. share results for nationwide use and implementation.

The expected result of the SSP – Innovation Initiative is to improve sport participation by piloting new or adapted quality sport approaches that contribute to one or more of the following specific outcomes:

  • increased accessibility to sport programs;
  • increased frequency, rates and retention of participation in sport;
  • reduced or eliminated barriers to participation in sport;
  • increased physical literacy; and
  • the achievement of social goals through the intentional use of sport.

Submission deadline

Organizations have until November 20 , 2020, to submit a pilot project concept to Sport Canada.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, the organization must be:

  • a federally or provincially incorporated not-for-profit organization;
  • have independently audited (if available) and board-approved financial statements for the past fiscal year; and
  • be undertaking a national initiative, a pilot leading to a national initiative or a component of a national program.

Eligible projects

The SSP – Innovation Initiative seeks to support pilot projects with either a sport participation or sport for social development outcome. The sport activities employed in the pilot project must be consistent with the principles of quality sport. Eligible projects will pilot:

  • a new sport program;
  • a new sport for social development program;
  • an existing sport program for a new population or purpose; or
  • an adaptation of an existing sport program in order to align it with the principles of quality sport.

Project duration

Annual and multi-year pilot projects of up to three (3) years may be considered.

Participants in the pilot project

Participants in the proposed pilot project may be children, youth, adults, seniors, coaches, officials, program leaders, volunteers, etc. involved in sport or sport for social development purposes.

For 2021-2022, Sport Canada is seeking project concepts that address sport participation issues for the following target populations*:

  • Girls and Women
  • Youth Facing Barriers
  • Racialized communities

*Pilot projects intended to address sport participation challenges for priority populations with added intersecting identity factors (Indigenous, age, LGBTQ2+, official language minority, newcomers, persons with a disability, etc.) are encouraged, welcome and eligible for consideration.

How to apply

Read the Call for Concepts below and the Innovation Program Guidelines in their entirety before beginning.

About the Call for Concepts

The development of a concept is the first stage in the application process.

The Call for Concepts is a way for organizations to tell Sport Canada what sport innovation idea it would like to test and what specific population(s) it will be working with. A Call for Concepts is how Sport Canada will identify ideas that have the potential for development into a full proposal.

Organizations must submit pilot concepts in Microsoft WORD or PDF to Sport Canada. Each pilot concept must be no more than 1500 words, use the headings below and include a brief description of:

  1. Applicant information
    1. Organization name, address and contact details
    2. Primary / Secondary contacts and titles;
  2. Project Title;
  3. The sport-related problem;
  4. The hypothesis that will be tested to address the problem;
  5. The specific population(s) the organization will be working with;
  6. The pilot concept and the expected results;
  7. How the pilot will be evaluated;
  8. The names of other organizations (if any) involved in the delivery and evaluation of the pilot project; and
  9. The estimated, overall costs associated with the implementation and evaluation of the pilot.

Organizations must demonstrate in the pilot concept how the sport activity clearly aligns with the principles of quality sport and the objectives and expected results of the SSP – Innovation Initiative.

Only pilot concepts which include all the information as requested above will be considered.

All pilot concepts are subject to screening and review. Not all organizations that respond to the Call for Concepts will be invited to submit a proposal for funding. Only organizations that meet the eligibility and concept assessment criteria will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Sport Canada will acknowledge receipt of a submission within two (2) weeks.

Submission of proposals

If an organization's concept is selected by Sport Canada, it will be invited to submit a full proposal, which will be evaluated to determine whether the organization will receive funding.

Maximum program contribution

The maximum contribution amount is determined on a project-by-project basis and is limited overall by annual available funding.

Contact information

Sport Canada is available to answer questions and provide guidance to potential applicants related to the SSP – Innovation Initiative. Organizations considering a submission in response to the Call for Concepts are encouraged to connect with Sport Canada prior to beginning work on a submission.

Department of Canadian Heritage
Innovation Unit, Sport Canada
15 Eddy Street, 16th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5


1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)

1-888-997-3123 (toll-free)

Agents are available to answer your questions Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST).


Pilot project
A pilot project, also called a feasibility study or experimental trial, is a small-scale, time-limited experiment that helps an organization learn how a large-scale project might work in practice.
Quality sport
Quality sport is led by Qualified Coaches, is delivered in a Safe and Ethical manner, is administered by sport organizations who are aiming to achieve Organizational Excellence, is Inclusive and Accessible and is Developmentally Appropriate.
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