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Canadian government allocates $2.4 million to mental health in high-performance sports

The goal is to give athletes access to mental health care professionals where they train and compete, in a safe and inclusive environment

Photo by: Roger Sedres/Athletics Canada

On Monday, the Canadian Ministry of Sport announced that the Canadian Sport Institute and Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees will receive an investment of $2.4 million toward mental health in high-performance sports.

Canadian ski-cross racer Annie Tansley rehabs her knee on the Alter G antigravity treadmill at the Canadian Sport Institute in Calgary

The Minister of Sport, the Hon. Pascale St-Onge, says this investment will enable Canadian sport organizations to support and provide care for athletes, coaches and other stakeholders. This investment will address the urgent mental health needs of Canadian athletes, which is a crucial step toward making sports as safe and inclusive as possible.

The recent surge in athletes speaking out on abusive, corrupt and toxic environments in Canadian high-performance sport has prompted the ministry to implement change.

According to the press release, more than 10,000 athletes on Canada’s high-performance sports pathways will benefit from increased funding, education and programming. 

“This has been an especially challenging time for Canadian athletes’ mental health and wellness,” says Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker. “This funding will further enhance the mental health programs in place that are devoted to our athletes.”

Crystal Emmanuel (right) at the 2021 Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Trials in Montreal. Photo: Pierre Paradis/Athletics Canada

The Canadian Olympic Committee says a majority of these funds will go directly to their Game Plan program, which is a wellness collaboration between the three major sports organizations that provide Canadian athletes with resources for life beyond sport.

The Game Plan program was launched in 2014 as a holistic approach to athlete development and wellness through an athlete’s career and beyond. The program is designed to understand the sport ecosystem, address athlete needs, and provide them with resources to be successful.

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