Registration of Canadian amateur athletic associations

Policy statement

Notice: The 2011 Federal Budget introduced new measures affecting registered Canadian amateur athletic associations that will come into force on January 1, 2012. This policy is applicable until December 31, 2011. Information on the requirements for registration as of January 1, 2012, is being developed. For more information, go to Canadian amateur athletic associations.

Reference number

Effective date
October 28, 1996


This policy statement outlines the Directorate's policy on the registration of Canadian amateur athletic associations.


The Income Tax Act provides that Canadian amateur athletic associations that operate on a nation-wide basis can qualify for registration.


1. This policy applies to applicant organizations that operate on a nation-wide basis, through a network of member organizations, and for all Canadians who are interested in a particular sport.

2. This policy does not apply to organizations that operate single-sport facilities such as gymnastics clubs, ski hills or golf courses, regardless of whether they may also provide services to athletes, high-performance or otherwise or purport to be open to athletes from across Canada. Nor does this policy extend to sports centers providing services to athletes at any level other than "high-performance". Footnote 1 

Qualifying objects

3. To qualify for registration as a Canadian amateur athletic association, an organization must operate mostly, if not entirely, for the following objects:

  • to regulate a sport and the way it is played

  • to promote the sport

  • to oversee a structure of local clubs, and regional and provincial bodies involved in the sport

  • to operate a training program that brings promising athletes from the grass-roots level to national and international levels through various qualifying competitive events

  • to operate a national team to participate at international competitions

  • to stage and sanction local, regional, provincial and national competitions

  • to act as a Canadian representative of an international federation controlling the sport

  • to provide a training and certification program for coaches and referees;

  • to carry out fund-raising activities and re-distribution of funds for local, regional and provincial member organizations

4. The following national organizations can qualify for registration:

  • Multi-sport, national and international level events, such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth or Canada games

  • Facilities for the training of elite athletes that are an outgrowth of Olympic, Commonwealth or Canada games. These facilities are built with considerable financial assistance from the federal government specifically for the purpose of holding these events, and on the condition that the facilities will continue to be used after the event as a training facility for high-performance athletes

  • Multi-sport Footnote 2  training centers. These centers do not provide the physical facilities for the sport-specific training of high-performance athletes. The centers provide common services integral to the complete and overall training of these athletes, such as sport science, sports psychology, physiotherapy, and medical monitoring. The services are not sport specific and athletes in any sport may benefit in order to improve their overall performance by enhanced training. It is also an efficient means of delivering services and sharing valuable experiences that benefit both the athletes and the national organizations. Other factors particular to these centers are:

    • Athletes must be drawn from across Canada

    • Registered Canadian amateur athletic associations direct their athletes to these centers for services

    • Qualifying applicants must identify their primary purpose as improving the performance of high-performance athletes. These centers may incidentally allow other athletes to use their facilities and services. Therefore, a "substantially all" test will determine if the applicant qualifies. For example, an applicant multi-sport training center might indicate that it provides specialized programs to athletes from the grassroots level (that is, local and provincial) and who are identified as having the potential to be national team athletes. In this case, the center will be required to limit its programs to include 10 per cent of athletes with potential for its overall programs

    • Another factor is that these centers are likely to be located in an area that already has a significant number of high-performance athletes training there because of existing sport-specific facilities, such as those remaining after Canada or multi-sport Games

5. The following organizations cannot be registered:

  • organizations of a local, regional or provincial character

  • organizations whose primary purpose is to train and field a single team of athletes at international competitions

  • organizations operating a local training or other facility that is not directed towards high-performance athletes, regardless of whether this facility is open to athletes from across Canada in theory or in practice Footnote 3 

  • organizations staging a single sports event, regardless of whether athletes come from across Canada or whether the event is televised

  • organizations using sports as a medium to achieve another more primary purpose


  • Income Tax Act, R.S.C., 1985 (5th supp.) c.1, ss. 248(1)

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