Ministers responsible for sport, physical activity and recreation collaborate to make a safe, inclusive sport environment and to support physical activity
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, February 18, 2023 – The federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) ministers of sport, physical activity and recreation concluded a two-day conference focused on advancing governments’ collective priorities for sport in Canada. Ministers reconfirmed their commitment to work together to address the current challenges within sport systems in Canada. Community-building is at the heart of the ministers’ work. The ministers emphasized their mutual priorities that sport and physical activity must be safe, inclusive, welcoming, accessible, healthy, and fair.
During the opening of the conference, the co-chairs recognized the land they gather on is the ancestral land of the Mi’kmaq and showed their respect to the Mi’kmaq as the Indigenous people of Prince Edward Island.
FPT Ministers Conference
The topics discussed at the conference included the renewal of the Canadian Sport Policy, safe sport, cultural change in hockey, the Canada Games, women and girls in sport and improving health through increased opportunities for more inclusive physical activity.
Canadian Sport Policy
The Canadian Sport Policy (the Policy), which is set to be renewed in 2023, outlines the direction for governments, institutions and organizations to fully realize the positive impacts of sport on individuals, communities and society, whether it be recreational or competitive.
Ministers discussed the progress of the Policy’s renewal, received an update on the consultation process and agreed in principle on the direction outlined in the Canadian Sport Policy foundation document. Ministers directed officials to continue working on the development of the complete policy document with a targeted endorsement later in 2023. The renewed policy will be driven by values important to Canadians, which they expressed during extensive consultations. Their views are reflected in the What we heard report, which summarized what Canadians thought should be included in the renewal of the policy. The renewed policy will be in effect until 2033.*
Safe sport remained a key priority on the ministers’ agenda. As a follow-up to their August 2022 commitment, the ministers discussed the progress made regarding the implementation of an independent third-party mechanism in their respective jurisdictions. This is an important step to ensure that all athletes and participants have a safe place to turn to when reporting incidents of maltreatment. Ministers discussed the need to focus on health and well-being of all athletes and participants. Ministers discussed the pressing need for culture change in hockey and Quebec shared its progress on eliminating fighting in junior hockey. Ministers also discussed the efforts underway to support and build safe and welcoming sport systems, from community level to high performance sport, building on the Red Deer Declaration and consultations through the Canadian Sport Policy.*
Also in the context of safe sport and injury prevention, ministers received an update on the pan-Canadian efforts on concussion awareness, prevention, detection and management. Ministers provided updates on their respective progress and emphasized the importance of continued action.**
The Canada Games is a community and nation building event that is one of the most inclusive sporting events in the world, featuring able-bodied, para and Special Olympics athletes. The Games help develop the next generation of Canadian athletes, coaches and officials while providing a memorable experience for all participants. It is very important that every jurisdiction is able to host the Games.
Ministers have approved the host province for the 2027 Canada Games. The host government will make the official public announcement in the coming weeks.
Indigenous Sport Participation
Ministers acknowledged that lacrosse, the national summer sport of Canada, would be added to the official Canada Games program, starting with the 2025 edition hosted in Newfoundland and Labrador. Ministers directed officials to create an implementation plan using the sport of lacrosse as one of the tools for increasing Indigenous participation at the Canada Games. These initiatives are progress towards Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada Call to Action Number 90.
Prior to the start of the FPT conference, ministers met with Aboriginal Sport Circle to discuss shared priorities to increase Indigenous participation in sport, physical activity and recreation and initiatives to date toward TRC Call to Action Number 88, while also sharing stories about the impact of sport and physical activity in Indigenous communities.
Improved Access to Inclusive Physical Activity
Reflecting on their commitment to gender equity in sport, ministers agreed to strengthen their 2019 commitment to increase the participation of women and girls in sport and ensure it remains a priority. Ministers also directed officials to develop a strategy for publicly reporting on data related to progress.***
Ministers discussed the importance of improving and increasing physical activity across Canada in order to improve physical and mental health and overall well-being. They received updates on collaborative actions and initiatives that support physical activity and recreation as part of daily life, with a focus on equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility.
* Quebec has already put in place an independent third-party mechanism for the entire Quebec sport system. The Government of Quebec intends to retain full control over its recognized roles and responsibilities in Canadian intergovernmental agreements, including the Canadian Sport Policy. Accordingly, the Universal Code of Conduct will not place restrictions on organizations and stakeholders subject to Quebec’s jurisdiction, including its municipalities and its schools. In addition, Quebec has already implemented various measures to improve safety in sports. Therefore, the province will not participate in the development of a safe sport roadmap. The Government of Quebec agreed to share information and its best practices with other governments. In addition, New Brunswick has also put in place an independent third-party.
** Although Quebec shares many objectives with other governments on these subjects, it has its own programs, action plans, objectives and targets for these matters, all which are under Quebec’s jurisdiction. The Government of Quebec intends to remain solely responsible for defining awareness and prevention measures and tools that are used and distributed in its jurisdiction. It also does not participate in federal, provincial and territorial initiatives to promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles but agrees to exchange information and its best practices with other governments.
*** Although, like all other governments in Canada, Quebec shares the objective of increasing the participation of women and girls in sport, it intends to maintain its autonomy in disclosing data concerning the progress on this file. Consequently, Quebec will publish its own data on its progress in this file.
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Government of Prince Edward Island
Department of Health and Wellness