Application Guidelines – National Sport Organization

Sport Support Program

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Objectives and expected results for the Sport Support Program

The Sport Support Program (SSP) supports the development of Canadian athletes and coaches. Funding is provided to eligible organizations for programming that supports the goals of the Canadian Sport Policy.

The objectives of the SSP are to:

  • increase opportunities to participate in quality sport activities for all Canadians, including under-represented groups;
  • increase the capacity of the Canadian sport system to systematically achieve world-class results at the highest international competitions;
  • contribute to the provision of technical sport leadership within the Canadian sport system; and
  • advance Canadian interests, values and ethics in sport at home and abroad.

Objectives and expected results for the National Sport Organization component

The National Sport Organization (NSO) component of the SSP funds eligible NSOs for activities that support the development of Canadian athletes and coaches.

The expected results include:

  • funded organizations provide national sport programs and services that are aligned with the Sport Support Program objectives;
  • funded organizations increasingly meet established national accountability standards;
  • program/policy collaboration is expanded and strengthened;
  • Canadians, including identified under-represented groups, have opportunities to participate in sport;
  • Canadian athletes have improved performances at Olympic and Paralympic Games, and senior world championships; and
  • Canadians have access to quality sport programs and services.

Application deadline

Applications for the 2021-2022 Recovery Fund and the 2022-2023 contribution application (Reference-Level and Recovery Fund) will be accepted until December 7, 2021.

Applications for Enhanced Excellence, Next Generation Initiative, Above-Reference and Safety in Sport funding will be accepted until February 15, 2022.

When an application deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or statutory holiday, it is extended to the following working day.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding, your organization must be:

In the case of priorities specifically outlined in Budget announcements, or other Sport Canada priorities, you must:

  • be a federally or provincially incorporated not-for-profit organization, with a sport mandate;
  • have independently audited 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

Reference-level funding is an amount determined through the SFAF assessment process to support the delivery of your core operation/business and is communicated in a notification letter from Sport Canada.

Enhanced excellence funding is an amount recommended to the Government of Canada by Own the Podium (OTP) and is communicated in a notification letter from this organization to further support the delivery of your high-performance program.

Above-reference funding is to further support sport system development in the following areas:

Development and delivery of a non-SFAF assessed national team program for persons with a disability, to perform at a significant international event in a sport that is on or anticipated to be added to the Paralympic Games program;

Furthering Canadian leadership and influence within international sport federations; and

The advancement of areas specifically outlined in Budget announcements or other Sport Canada priorities, including Supporting Initiatives and Jeux de la Francophonie.

Recovery Fund funding is to help existing national level recipient organizations struggling with operational viability due to the pandemic, i.e. struggling financially to restore programming and services cancelled/stalled due to COVID-19.

National sport organizations eligible under the Sport Funding Accountability Framework can apply for Reference-level funding, Enhanced excellence funding, Recovery Fund funding and Above-reference funding, if appropriate.

Eligible non-SFAF organizations may apply only for Above-reference funding, and only when determined eligible for specific projects.

Eligible expenses

Certain contribution blocks are identified as ‘Protected’ which means the funding can be used only towards these eligible expenses. Any unspent ‘Protected’ funds cannot be used to cover other expenses and must be returned to the Receiver General.

Ineligible expenses for all include:

  • capital costs: a tangible asset held for long-term use rather than for sale, such as building or land owned by the organization;
  • costs of sales;
  • fundraising;
  • medals, trophies and banquets;
  • awards to athletes; and
  • personal items.

All uniforms and equipment for program development and sporting and office equipment must remain the property of the funded organization.

We cannot fund expenses incurred before we receive your application. If you incur expenses for your project before receiving written confirmation of your funding approval, you will be doing so at your own risk.

For the Recovery Fund, we can fund eligible expenses incurred as of April 1, 2021.

Only project-related cash expenses are eligible; these may include the eligible expenses listed below.

Reference-level funding

General administration

General administrative costs related to the management of your organization.

Eligible expenses include:

  • general administrative costs;
  • general organizational, promotion and communication activities, including web site; and
  • domestic and international meetings, including travel, meals, accommodation and facility rental.

You may allocate up to 10% of your total funding toward general administration costs. This applies to both mainstream programs and athletes with a disability programs. Requests for exceptions must be presented and approved in advance by the Sport Support Program.


Costs of the development of a strategic plan, a risk management strategy or the identification of key performance indicators.

Eligible expenses include:

  • contracts and honoraria;
  • meetings (domestic), including travel, meals, accommodation and rental; and
  • resource design, printing and distribution.

Salaries, fees and benefits

Costs of employing or contracting part-time and full-time management and administrative staff.

Eligible expenses include:

  • contracts and honoraria;
  • pro-rated salaries/wages, statutory deductions and benefits; and
  • staff professional development.

The SSP contribution towards staff salaries and expenses is limited to $90,000 per eligible full-time position. The contribution limit for part-time positions is prorated against this amount. Requests for exceptions must be presented and approved in advance by the SSP.

Coaching salaries and professional development (protected)

Costs of employing or contracting technical leadership (high-performance directors) and coaches for national teams (head, assistant, event, sub-discipline, development, youth and national training centre coaches). You are encouraged to consider shared coaching responsibilities whereby high-performance coaches work with both mainstream athletes and athletes with a disability (AWAD).

Eligible expenses include:

  • coach base salaries (including statutory deductions and benefits), contracts and honoraria;
  • high-performance director base salaries (including statutory deductions and benefits), contracts and/or honoraria; and
  • professional development for national team technical leaders and coaches.

Restrictions and conditions:

  • The SSP contribution for each coaching position is limited to $90,000;
  • Coaches and high-performance director positions that have been recommended by Own the Podium are eligible for a maximum of $120,000 in annual salary support. Each coach must meet the funding requirements listed below and be named on Annex 7 and on OTP’s Schedule A;
  • Annex 7 must include all coaches receiving a salary from your organization, including those supported by the Sport Support Program;
  • To be eligible for salary support, head national coaches at all levels, full-time assistant national, junior national, event or discipline or Canadian Sport Centre coaches (including shared support positions) must have National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Level 4 certification or the NCCP Competition – Development context. The Coaching Association of Canada, in conjunction with the National Coaching Institutes, offers coach evaluations. This process is recommended for any equivalency;
  • Exceptions are for coaches currently registered in the NCCP Level 4 and coaches in sports where the NCCP Level 4 or the NCCP Competition – Development context has not yet been developed. In these cases, the coach must normally have the highest NCCP level offered by the sport and the coach’s training program must be approved in advance by the SSP; and
  • Coaches who do not meet the prerequisite or exceptions requirements may still be nominated for funding, and are subject to approval by the SSP. In this case, you are required to demonstrate that the coach has at least one of the following:
    • commensurate education (Master’s degree in coaching) at a Canadian university (copy of diploma);
    • commensurate education at a foreign university (copy of diploma);
    • commensurate education at a sport institute or equivalent (copy of diploma);
    • demonstrated performances as a coach of an athlete with international success at senior world championships, Olympic Games or Paralympic Games (performance record);
    • commensurate combination of education and experience (copy of diploma and performance record); or
    • the designation of Chartered Professional Coach from the Coaching Association of Canada.

National team programs

Training and competition needs of athletes selected by the NSO for sport development or performance objectives, including Olympic and Paralympic Games, senior world championships, and the Jeux de la Francophonie. This would typically correspond to the “Train to Train”, “Train to Compete” and “Train to Win” stages of the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD).

Eligible expenses include:

  • anti-doping services;
  • training (including travel, meals, accommodation, facility rental);
  • competitions (including travel, meals, accommodation, facility rental, competition fees);
  • equipment rental/purchase;
  • honoraria (medical, paramedical or national team support personnel);
  • national training centre programming and services; and
  • sport science and medical/paramedical services.

Operations and programming

Coach, official, volunteer or staff professional development and education

Development and training of coaches for initiatives aimed at developing and implementing quality technical programs for athletes corresponding to the “Learn to Train” through the “Train to Win” stages of the LTAD; development and training of officials for initiatives aimed at developing and implementing quality programs at the national level (for organizations with Paralympic programs, this includes classifiers); and development and training of staff and volunteers to acquire skills and competencies required for their positions.

Eligible expenses include:

  • coaching/officiating content development and delivery;
  • facilitators’ honoraria; and
  • travel, meals, accommodation, facility and equipment rental for program delivery or development opportunities.

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) implementation

Initiatives integrating the sport’s LTAD model with Canadian Sport for Life principles into its programs; development or revision of programs (including competitions) for LTAD alignment; and development and training of coaches, officials, volunteers or staff on LTAD and its implementation.

Eligible expenses include:

  • coaching/officiating/athlete development program content development and revision;
  • facilitators’ honoraria;
  • resource material specifically designed to communicate LTAD implementation or LTAD-aligned programs; and
  • travel, meals, accommodation, facility and equipment rental for program delivery or development opportunities.

National competitions

Hosting national championships and related regional qualifying competitions.

Eligible expenses include:

  • facility rental and equipment rental or purchase;
  • officials’ travel and accommodations for national competitions; and
  • participant travel for national competitions.

Program development

Initiatives supporting or delivering sport programs that facilitate athlete development pathways from sport initiation up to national team programs (typically corresponding to First Involvement through Train to Train LTAD stages). For an organization to be funded for program development, the specific program must have scored points in the Sport Funding and Accountability Framework.

Eligible expenses include:

  • athlete development program content development and delivery;
  • database design, development and maintenance;
  • facilitators’ honoraria;
  • resource design, printing and distribution; and
  • travel, meals, accommodation, facility rental for program delivery or development opportunities.

Women’s and Indigenous peoples initiatives

Initiatives that will increase the participation of women and Indigenous coaches, officials, volunteers or administrators.

Eligible expenses include:

  • coaching/officiating program content development and delivery, focused on women’s and Indigenous peoples initiatives;
  • facilitators’ honoraria;
  • resource design, printing and distribution; and
  • travel, meals, accommodation, facility rental for program delivery or development opportunities.

Official languages (protected)

Support to ensure the organization’s capacity to provide programs, services, events and communications materials in both official languages and to foster bilingual capacity. Organizations are encouraged to allocate funding to translation services, interpretation services, training and education.

Eligible expenses include:

  • interpretation services at press conferences, conferences, congresses, general meetings, symposia, special activities and national competitions;
  • language training and education for coaches, officials, staff and key volunteers; and
  • translation services for web content, promotional material and activities, social media, communications and documents related to programs, services and national competitions.

Enhanced excellence funding (protected)

Enhanced excellence funding is based on recommendations made by Own the Podium for targeted Olympic and Paralympic sports. In all instances, funding requests must meet the same eligibility requirements, conditions and restrictions listed above under “Reference-level funding” and must be specific to the delivery of high-performance sport.

Eligible expenses are restricted to the following contribution blocks:

Governance and management

Eligible expenses include:

  • general administration; and
  • salaries, fees and benefits.

Programs and services

Eligible expenses include:

  • coaching salaries and professional development; and
  • national team programs.

Above-reference funding (protected)

Non-SFAF assessed national team program for persons with a disability

Funding requests must meet the same eligibility requirements, conditions and restrictions listed above under “Reference-level funding.”

Eligible expenses include:

  • general administration;
  • salaries, fees and benefits;
  • coaching salaries and professional development;
  • national team programs; and
  • operations and programming.

International sport initiatives

Provides support to enable Canadians to attain positions of influence in international sport federations. While it is recognized that organizations all have roles within their international federations, this funding is not intended to support ongoing participation in international positions. The NSO must demonstrate an organizational strategy for international representation and is expected to identify specific issues and interests that the representative will be seeking to address in the identified position.

Eligible expenses include:

  • general administration;
  • honoraria or salaries; and
  • travel, meals and accommodation for delivery of the initiative.

Funds allocated to this contribution block may not be used for hosting or participating in conferences, forums or seminars.

Budget announcements and other Sport Canada priorities

Funding requests must meet the same eligibility requirements, conditions and restrictions listed above under “Reference-level funding.”

Eligible expenses include:

  • general administration;
  • salaries, fees and benefits;
  • coaching salaries and professional development;
  • national team programs; and
  • operations and programming.

Jeux de la Francophonie

Funding requests must meet the same eligibility requirements, conditions and restrictions listed above under “Reference-level funding”

Eligible expenses include:

  • national team programs.


We are responsible for determining the eligibility of each applicant, its project and project-related expenses.

Meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee funding.

Limits of government assistance

To ensure the success of your project, we encourage you to have other funding sources. This may include contributions from your organization, the private sector or other levels of government.

The total financial assistance received from the Sport Support Program and other levels of government (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal) cannot exceed 100% of total project-related costs.

Applying for more than 12 months

You may request funding for the same activities for a number of fiscal years. You must show that you have the capacity to complete the planned activities on an annual basis. This is demonstrated with realistic results and budget projections as well as sound governance.

How to apply

Read these Application Guidelines in their entirety before completing your application.

Contact us to obtain an application package.

You must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a complete application package to be considered for funding. A complete application package includes the General Application Form (Annex 1) and the following supporting documents:

  • Project Detail Form (Annex 2). You must use your SFAF mainstream and athletes with a disability funding reference levels when completing Annex 2;
  • Above-Core Application Form (Annex 3), if applicable. You must discuss Above-Reference requests with us prior to completing Annex 3;
  • Core Planning Form (Annex 6);
  • National Team Coach Planning Form (Annex 7);
  • Accountability Performance Measures Report (Annex 8);
  • Recovery Fund Application Form (one per fiscal year);
  • Projected Revenues and Expenses Budget; and
  • Your organization’s operation plan.

Application process

  • Complete, sign and date the General Application Form (Annex 1);
  • Attach all the required supporting documents; and
  • Submit your application electronically to the following email address:

Email submissions

The email must be sent no later than 11:59 p.m. local time on the date of the application deadline for your application to be considered.

How applications are evaluated

We fund projects that have clear objectives and measurable results. Funding decisions are based on the number and quality of applications received for each Component application deadline. Your application will be reviewed for eligibility and then evaluated based on the criteria below.

Failure to comply with any conditions of a previously funded project will be considered in the evaluation of your new application and could result in the rejection of your new application.

Evaluation criteria

We will evaluate all eligible applications using the following criteria:

Because the evaluation for SFAF-eligible organizations is done in advance, there will be no further evaluation of “Reference-level funding” applications.

Because Own the Podium’s evaluation and recommendation is done in advance, there will be no further evaluation of “Enhanced excellence” funding applications.

Above reference funding requests will be evaluated by a Review Committee which will compare and prioritize it with other applications in relation to the funds available. The Committee will assess the conformity of expenses based on the definition for each above reference definitions, ensure these projects are not part of the organization day to day operation and allocate the available funds amongst recipients who requested funds.

Application processing time

Please refer to the Service standards for Canadian Heritage funding programs or contact the program.

We will acknowledge receipt of your application within two weeks of receiving your application in our office.

Funding decisions

Please note that decisions regarding eligibility and funding amounts are final.

How funding is provided

We provide funding in the form of a contribution.

A contribution is a conditional payment issued to your organization for a specific purpose, as outlined in a funding agreement. The funding agreement is signed by your organization and by us and specifies the terms and conditions to receive payment. At the end of your project, you must submit a final report.

Funding conditions

You may be required to submit interim reports during your project. If you receive $250,000 or more as a contribution, you are required to submit an audit of the cost of your project.

If your organization receives support from us, you agree not to enter into a sponsorship, promotional or other financial support arrangement with the tobacco products industry (as per the Federal Government Policy on Tobacco Sponsorship of National Sports Organizations).

If your organization receives support from us, you must:

  • endorse the principles of the Canadian Policy against Doping in Sport;
  • adopt the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (2015); and
  • have discipline and appeal procedures in place that include access to an independent dispute resolution through the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC).

For more information, read about sports policies, acts and regulations.

Travel, meal and accommodation expenses must comply with the rates permitted for travel on government business.

Additional conditions may be included in your funding agreement.

Workplace well-being

The Government of Canada is strongly committed to promoting healthy workplaces where harassment, abuse and discrimination are not tolerated. Organizations that receive funding from Canadian Heritage must take measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.

Public Health Guidance

We expect that you will act in compliance with applicable statutes, laws, bylaws, regulations, orders, codes, standards, directives and guidelines governing the activities for which funding is being sought, including those related to public health and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Official languages requirements

We are committed to taking positive measures to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities and to promote the use of English and French in Canadian society. If you receive funding, you agree to comply with the official languages requirements set out in your application or in your funding agreement.

Acknowledgement of financial assistance

If you receive funding, you must publically acknowledge – in English and in French – the financial support received from the Government of Canada in all communications materials and promotional activities. Additional requirements may be included in your funding agreement.

For additional information, please refer to our Guide on the public acknowledgement of financial support.

Access to information requests

We are subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The information you submit in your application may be disclosed in accordance with these Acts.

Disclosure of information

By submitting your funding application, you authorize us to disclose any information submitted with this application within the Government of Canada or to outside entities for the following purposes:

  • to reach a decision;
  • to evaluate the results of the project; and
  • to support transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Audits of recipients and evaluation of the Program

We reserve the right to audit your accounts and records to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of your funding agreement. We also conduct periodic Program evaluations, during which you may be required to present documentation.

You must keep any records, documents, or other information that may be required to perform the audit or the evaluation for five years. Demonstrated failure to maintain such records may result in the repayment of amounts previously received.

Contact us

For further information, please contact us:

Department of Canadian Heritage
Sport Support Program
15 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5

1-866-811-0055 (toll-free)
1-888-997-3123 (for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired)

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


Audited financial statements
A complete set of financial statements including a statement of financial position; a statement of operations; and a statement of changes in financial position. Audited financial statements are completed by a certified accountant who is not part of your organization. The certified accountant performs auditing activities in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.
Cash flow
A presentation of all anticipated revenues and planned expenses that will occur over the length of your project. At the beginning of your project, your cash flow will have only forecasted revenues and expenses. Over time, your cash flow will be updated to reflect the actual revenues and expenses.
Final report
A final report is submitted at the end of your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. Your final report needs to provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for the duration of your project.
Interim reports
Interim reports are submitted during your project based on the requirements in the funding agreement. These reports provide the results of the activities you have undertaken for a specific period. In addition, they include a status report on the work to be accomplished and updated revenue and expense reports.
Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)
Children, youth and adults need to do the right things at the right time to develop in their sport or activity – whether they want to be hockey players, dancers, figure skaters or gymnasts. Long-Term Athlete Development describes the things athletes need to be doing at specific ages and stages.
National Sport Organization (NSO)
The single national sport governing body for all aspects of the sport in Canada, including its disciplines and events.
Own the Podium (OTP)
Own the Podium is a not-for-profit organization that prioritizes and determines investment strategies for National Sport Organizations in an effort to deliver more Olympic and Paralympic medals for Canada. Own the Podium’s largest contributor of funding is the Government of Canada with additional funding provided by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Olympic Foundation, and the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC).
Sport Funding and Accountability Framework (SFAF)

The Sport Funding and Accountability Framework is the tool used by Canadian Heritage to identify which organizations are eligible to receive funding contributions under the Sport Support Program (SSP). Prior to being considered for funding through the SSP, organizations must proceed through the eligibility step of the SFAF process.

Organizations that meet the eligibility criteria proceed to the next stage of the SFAF, the assessment stage, during which various components are rated and weighted to determine an organization’s final assessment score, which determines their funding reference level.

Under-represented groups
Certain groups such as girls and women, people with a disability, Indigenous peoples and visible minorities continue to be under-represented in the Canadian sport system as athletes/participants and as leaders. In addition, and despite past efforts, language-based barriers still exist in the sport system for Francophones, especially at the national team level.
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