Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

The Canadian Sports Policy of 2012 – What’s it all about?

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The Canadian Sports Policy of 2012, is a document drafted from Sports Canada as the successor to the policy drafted in 2002. The document employs an outlook centered on, “a dynamic and innovative culture that promotes and celebrates participation and excellence in sport” (Sport Canada 2012 p.2).  This policy is not invasive as one might expect as it is created as a roadmap for present organizations to enhance their mandates or aid in the creation of new programs or policies. The policy contains seven values as well as principles that help support the idea of creating an inclusive culture. It also contains five goals for sport development once a solid physical literacy is achieved. The goals blossom from introduction to sport, recreation, competitive, high performance, and finally sport for development. Though sport presents countless benefits both from an individual and societal level, the implementation of this policy does raise some concerns.

On the downside of this policy, there are some ambiguous moments especially on defining the mechanisms used for implementing this policy. Concerns of whose interests are really addressed raise concerns as well as there is definite undertones of pushing an excellence narrative along with a limiting of autonomy for the participants based on the type of stakeholders involved. On the positive side, this policy provides a schematic that is fluid and multidimensional and promotes the ideology of collectivism rather than adopting a neo-liberal perspective on sport. Ultimately the language used in this policy presents a double-edged sword, it can be a bit biased in favouring excellence but also focuses on the importance of giving access to all Canadians by way of opportunity. This this policy offers a solid foundation for any program in fostering an inclusive environment, but only time can tell on how effective it can be.


Sport Canada. (2012). Canadian Sport Policy 2012. Department of Canadian Heritage

One thought on “The Canadian Sports Policy of 2012 – What’s it all about?

  1. Hey, great post for a topic of discussion!

    I think your right, having looked over the policy numerous times, I too feel that there may be a biased towards sporting excellence rather than participation. Yet, the more I think about this, I feel like the policy is merely following social trends, as we see the demand for greater sporting athletes to keep us excited nowadays. I think that it is important to focus on excellence, as I feel that viewers see elite athletes and look up to them as role models and therefore it creates a positive impact on participation of a sport.
    However, with an extra focus on excellence, it makes it harder for those who aren’t as skilled at a certain sport, and therefore recreational sports is great for keeping people active and playing a sport they desire. The great thing I’ve noticed about Canada vs the UK, is that recreational sports is more encouraged to everyone. Whereas, I feel like in the UK, rec sports is where those who never succeeded at getting to the next level end up, and that creates more problems for those who simply just want to play the sport, as it becomes a competitive environment.

    Great Post.


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