The Federal Government announced on May 8th that Canada’s amateur sports system will receive $72 million from an emergency support fund to alleviate the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The move is part of a $500 million relief effort spearheaded by Federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault aimed at aiding cultural, heritage and sport organizations. The earmarked money for sports will go to national and provincial organizations, Canadian sport institutes and Indigenous sport groups. National sport organizations will receive $34.5 million, provinces/territories $32.5 million, and the Athlete Assistance Program $5 million. Distribution of any remaining funds will be assessed based on need.
Athletes normally receiving Sport Canada assistance cheques, which have been disrupted due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics until 2020, are also in line for financial assistance. Professional sports leagues are not eligible for the funding.
“We will try to save all our organizations and to help everybody,” Guilbeault told The Canadian Press. “We may not be able to, but we will try. What we’re hoping to achieve out of this is once we’ve gone through that first phase of the crisis, our sports ecosystem is still intact.”
Caroline Soble, Coordinator of Communications, Commercial and Business Development, at Equestrian Canada, commented, “The Sport Support Program will dedicate up to $34.5M to national level sport organizations already receiving funding. For EC, this fund could supply up to $290K, which represents less than 10% of potential losses incurred due to COVID-19.”
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) issued the following statement regarding the Government of Canada’s major investment of $72M in this first step of support to the sport sector:
“We are sincerely grateful to Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Guilbeault for announcing the $72M investment to support the Canadian sport system. National Sport Organizations are facing significant obstacles, including limited cash flows, layoffs and uncertainty. Along with this funding package, the COC and CPC will fully support the NSOs and broader sport community. We remain committed to playing our role in COVID-19 relief and recovery in concert with our partners at the Government of Canada.”
As of May 27th in Canada there have been 86,647 confirmed coronavirus cases and 6,639 deaths. It is currently uncertain when equestrian competition might be allowed to resume.