Many Canadians don’t realize how powerfully sport affects them, which may be why active sport participation is declining. To help correct this decline, the federal-provincial-territorial ministers responsible for sport, fitness and recreation issued the first-ever Canadian Sport Policy, in 2002. The policy urged researchers to provide compelling evidence of the benefits of regular sport participation.
This study identifies four important categories of benefits from sport participation: health, social cohesion, skills and economic impact. The study concludes that Canada’s strong sporting culture is a significant part of the national fabric, and that governments, communities, families and individuals have good reason to support sport participation.
The authors advise governments to develop sport policy within the context of larger policy frameworks, build financial targets for health care savings into performance measurement of sport policy and programs, stimulate investment and engagement in sport, and fund more research.