Breaking Barriers: Sport for Life’s New Initiative for Equity-Deserving Groups

Sport for Life is embarking on an important project to break down barriers and create opportunities for equity-deserving groups in Canada to participate in sport and physical activity. With funding from Sport Canada, this initiative aims to support 30 organizations dedicated to serving diverse communities. These include but are not limited to, girls and women, people with diverse abilities, Indigenous peoples, Black and racialized individuals, 2SLGBTQI+ populations, and newcomers to Canada.

The project, running from May 2024 to March 2025, will begin with a comprehensive needs assessment to understand the unique challenges and opportunities each organization faces in engaging their communities in sport and physical activity. Through surveys and virtual and in-person sessions, Sport for Life will collaborate with these organizations to develop tailored learning pathways that build the capacity of their staff and volunteers.

A key component of the project is providing access to the PLAYBuilder platform, which offers a library of 900 expert-designed activities. Experienced advisors will guide each organization in leveraging this resource to adapt existing programs or create new ones that meaningfully engage their target populations. By equipping these organizations with the tools, knowledge, and support they need, Sport for Life aims to foster sustainable, inclusive, and high-quality sport and physical activity experiences.

The learning opportunities span a wide range, from self-paced eLearning courses on physical literacy, Long-Term Development, and social-emotional learning to hands-on workshops focused on inclusive program design, engaging newcomers, and integrating Indigenous perspectives. By offering diverse training options, the project seeks to meet organizations where they are and provide relevant, practical support.

Throughout the project, Sport for Life will facilitate webinars and foster a collaborative network among the participating organizations. This network will allow for the sharing of best practices, challenges, and successes, creating a supportive community united to dismantle systemic inequities in sport and physical activity.

The impact of this project extends far beyond the 30 participating organizations. By empowering these groups to create welcoming, inclusive, and developmentally appropriate programs, Sport for Life contributes to a cultural shift in the Canadian sport and physical activity landscape. Through this initiative, every individual who gains access to quality experiences represents a step towards a more equitable and active society.

As the project unfolds, Sport for Life will continuously evaluate its progress and impact, ensuring that the learning pathways and support provided effectively meet the needs of the organizations and the communities they serve. The insights gained through this process will inform future initiatives and contribute to the growing knowledge around engaging Equity-Deserving Groups in sport and physical activity.

In a world where systemic barriers continue to limit opportunities for marginalized communities, projects like this one offer a beacon of hope and a roadmap for change. By collaborating with grassroots organizations, providing targeted resources and support, and fostering a network of committed changemakers, Sport for Life is paving the way for a more inclusive and active Canada.

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