$25.3 Million Investment from Government of Canada for Gender Equity in Sport

On Oct. 24th, the Government of Canada announced renewed funding of $25.3 million for gender equity in sport.

We are pleased to see the government deepen its commitment to gender equity. Today’s announcement is especially important because we are at a critical juncture in sport where pushing forward with urgency to create real change is vital to achieving our shared vision of sport that is safe, welcoming, and inclusive for all.

At Canadian Women & Sport, we believe in the power of sport and have seen how transformative it can be for girls, women and gender-diverse people in all areas of society. This is why we have and continue to focus on increasing equity and inclusion in the sport system at all levels.

Inequity denies people access to the benefits of sport. And as recent events and reports highlight, inequity in sport creates the conditions for real harm to individuals, their families, and our communities. 

We continue to hear about the individual and systemic impacts of decades of abuse, toxic cultures, sexual violence, and harassment that span all levels of sport. We continue to witness privilege and power prevailing over real action and change. These realities are rooted in gender inequity and misogny, among other intersecting forms of systemic discrimination. It is telling that women have been at the forefront of demanding change and leading solutions–they have been so deeply affected by inequity and the harms it causes for generations. 

The realities we face aren’t unique to a specific sport organization, they highlight system-wide issues. As a result, our solutions have to be far-reaching, collaborative, system-focused, and community-informed. In Canada, we have the benefit of tremendous assets, diverse perspectives, and a robust history of doing this work. Permanently ensuring equity and inclusion for all girls, women and gender-diverse individuals will nonetheless require a renewed commitment to persistent effort, fresh approaches, and on-going investments over many years. 

We believe that change is not only necessary, it is possible. We have already started to see evidence of change.

Since the Government’s initial $30 million investment in gender equity in 2018, we’ve seen near unanimous agreement on the importance of gender equity, unprecedented levels of action, and positive outcomes from initial activities. With funding from the initial investment to Canadian Women & Sport specifically, we worked with over 10,000 leaders across the sport system to advance learning and action. More than 40 national and multi-sport organizations completed the Gender Equity Playbook, an in-depth gender equity transformation process. 

While the work has begun, thanks to many organizations and individuals, and there are signs of progress, there is still a long way to go. And until all women, girls and gender-diverse people–including those who are Black, Indigenous, racialized, 2SLGBTQQIA+, who come from low-income communities, who are new to Canada, or who are living with disabilities–enjoy the full benefits of inclusion, the work will continue. 

Given this context, today’s announcement of renewed funding for gender equity in sport is timely and much needed. It is vital fuel for the hard work ahead. Thank you to the Government of Canada for your commitment to change.  

With that, we call on all sport leaders, sponsors, governments, and those with power and influence to uphold your responsibility and take meaningful action to create permanent inclusions for girls, women and gender-diverse people in sport at all levels. With persistence, a better sport system is possible.