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CHPC Committee Report

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The Honourable Rob Moore, P.C., M.P.
Chair
Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Moore:

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to respond to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s report entitled Status of Amateur Coaching in Canada.  I would like to acknowledge and thank the Standing Committee for its work on this study and convey my appreciation to all those who appeared before this committee to share their views.

Our Government is a proud supporter of amateur sport and we are making record investments in sport.  Sport is vital to Canadian society.  It contributes to the development of life skills by our children and youth and promotes healthy and active lifestyles.  Canadians also take pride in our athletes, who represent Canada with such distinction when they compete internationally.  Our Government is committed to a sport system where all Canadians, including women, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal peoples and visible minority groups, are actively engaged in sport and supported as coaches.

While athletes are at the centre of the Canadian sport system, we recognize that coaches are its foundation.  There are more than 350,000 active coaches in Canada and we applaud and support their efforts through the funding that we provide.  Coaches are vitally important to Canadian sport.  That is why our Government works with a number of stakeholders to encourage Canadians to participate in coaching, from community‑level to high‑performance sport programs.

In this context, I am pleased to receive the Standing Committee’s five recommendations.  Our Government agrees with these recommendations; therefore, I take this opportunity to outline the many initiatives and programs that Sport Canada is undertaking to address them.

Our Government, through Sport Canada, continues to work with the provincial and territorial governments and partner organizations in the sport system.  Through bilateral agreements on sport participation with the provinces and territories, Sport Canada supports leadership development, including the development of coaches.  For example, the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario offers leadership and coaching development initiatives—in co‑operation with provincial sport organizations, multisport service organizations and the Coaches Association of Ontario—for coaching mentorship and Aboriginal coach certification.

Our Government will continue to contribute to the development of alternative delivery measures for the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), through its funding for the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC).  E-learning initiatives are currently supported by the CAC for evaluations and pre-workshop sessions in areas such as sport ethics and developing athletic abilities.  There are also plans to expand e‑learning technology into the CAC’s professional development modules.

We will also maintain our support for a variety of measures to encourage qualified Canadians to pursue careers in coaching.  To address the growing need for professional coaches at all levels of the Canadian sport system, Sport Canada funding assists the CAC in its work with Canadian universities to establish undergraduate and graduate-level degrees and diplomas in coaching.  Furthermore, we support all seven National Coaching Institutes offering Advanced Coaching Diplomas.  In co‑operation with national sport organizations, National Coaching Institutes and the CAC, Sport Canada also encourages retiring high‑performance athletes to transition into coaching careers.

The Government of Canada provided funding for the creation of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) generic framework in 2004, and we continue to fund and promote its objectives.  Since then, Sport Canada’s Sport Support Program has provided between $1 million and $1.5 million annually in funding to assist in the development of the Canadian Sport for Life movement and the LTAD framework.  In addition, a component of the federal government’s bilateral agreements with provincial and territorial governments addresses the first stages of the LTAD framework, which generally target children and youth up to 12 years of age.

It should be noted that, increasingly, organizations are seeking criminal record checks to verify the suitability of applicants to leadership positions, including coaches.  Although Sport Canada is not responsible for the various systems used in different jurisdictions, we recognize the importance of this activity.  Therefore, Sport Canada will continue to support the CAC’s efforts to develop risk-management processes across all sports that will, among other things, address vulnerable-sector checks for coaches.  Sport Canada will closely follow these developments.

We are proud that our financial support to the CAC has helped it to manage the highly acclaimed NCCP, which is recognized throughout the world as an exemplary coaching education and certification program.  Several other countries have modeled their coaching programs on Canada’s NCCP.  The Program is designed to meet the needs of coaches at all levels to work with all athletes, including those with disabilities, within the Canadian sport system, from the first-time coach of a community team to the head coach of a national team.  The NCCP is one of Canada’s largest adult education programs, with more than 84,000 coaches registered for an NCCP module or workshop in fiscal year 2011–2012.  In fact, since 2006, more than 470,000 coaches have participated in the Program.

Canadian athletes and coaches represent our country with distinction on the international stage and are a source of pride for all Canadians.  In this context, the federal government has been instrumental in making sure that Canada’s national teams are supported by highly qualified, world‑class coaches.  Through its work with national sport organizations and Own the Podium, Sport Canada helps to ensure that Canadian athletes are supported by international-calibre high‑performance coaches.  In fiscal year
2012–2013, we contributed to the salaries and benefits of more than 300 coaches of national teams for the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and world championships.

We recognize that coaching forms the foundation of a strong sport system.  Please be assured that our Government is strongly committed to providing support for coaching and sport in Canada.  On behalf of the Government of Canada, I thank the Standing Committee for its recommendations and its interest in amateur coaching in Canada.

Please accept my best wishes.

Sincerely,

The Honourable Bal Gosal, P.C., M.P.