Celebrating Impact Across Canada: Insights from the 2024 Sport for Life Summits in Ottawa, Victoria, and Quebec City

In 2024, Sport for Life hosted three summits under the theme “Everyone Belongs” to promote the inclusivity and accessibility of sport and physical activity across Canada. Held in Ottawa, Victoria, and Quebec City, these events brought together experts, practitioners, researchers, and community leaders to address unique regional issues and foster a national dialogue.


The Ottawa Summit, held on January 25-26, 2024 at the Nepean Sportsplex, brought together experts and professionals in the nation’s capital to discuss critical issues in sport, including abuse-free environments, mental health, and the transformative power of athletics. The event featured captivating keynote presentations by renowned speakers such as Dr. Jennifer Fraser, Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt, Dr. Jean Clinton, and Kwame Osei, who set the stage for a diverse range of informative sessions.

Among the session highlights were the practical insights shared by three-time track and field Olympian Melissa Bishop, who introduced the “Classroom Champions” program, as well as Paralympian and dual sport world champion Darda Sales, who shared her experiences with adapted sport and inclusive activity. These sessions provided attendees with inspiring examples of how sport can be a powerful vehicle for fostering inclusion and strengthening communities.

The Ottawa Summit also showcased the latest research findings and successful pilot projects focusing on physical literacy and the significance of quality sport. These presentations aimed to promote inclusive sport participation and equipped attendees with actionable strategies to implement within their organizations.

Attendees praised the Summit’s value, with one delegate stating, “These events should be mandatory for coaches and sport organizations.” Another emphasized the networking benefits, noting, “It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with other professionals in the sport industry and stay updated on current and future developments in the field.”


The Victoria Summit, held on March 1, 2024 at the Esquimalt Gorge Pavilion, focused on the unique challenges faced by Indigenous communities and Newcomers to Canada. The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Federal Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, underscored the Summit’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion in her remarks.

Panel presentations and case-based group discussions provided substantial insights. The “Future of Sport” panel shared perspectives from senior leaders on overcoming barriers in sport and physical activity. In contrast, the “Belonging Through Soccer” panel explored the inclusion of Newcomers in the Canadian sports stream to enhance social inclusion and community engagement. Case studies on Indigenous inclusion and strategies for engaging Newcomers were central to the discussions, offering practical examples and strategies for improving engagement in these communities. Minister Qualtrough’s address further highlighted government support for fostering inclusive sports environments, reinforcing the Summit’s theme.

Feedback from attendees noted the impact and relevance of the sessions. One delegate expressed enthusiasm for the Indigenous-focused content and the proactive approach to New to Canada Participants’ inclusion, saying, “I enjoyed the Indigenous case study session and the brainstorming session for engaging newcomers!” Another delegate emphasized the value of the Summit for professional growth and networking: “I find that the Sport for Life Summit is not only a great opportunity to expand and apply knowledge but also a great networking opportunity to connect with people.”


The Quebec City Summit was held on March 20-21, 2024 at the Centre des foires de Québec, organized in partnership with Réseau Accès Participation (RAP). A pre-event reception at the Centre de glaces Intact Assurance, the largest indoor skating Centre in America, welcomed delegates to Quebec City and brought people together for a VIP visit and through the physical activity of skating. The Summit featured a diverse and exciting range of keynote speakers, roundtables, active sessions including a dynamic opening speech by Pierre Lavoie of Le Grand Défi, which inspired participants and fostered a sense of belonging and unity. Delegates discussed ways to enjoy sport and physical activity fully and across all ages.

One of the event’s highlights was the ‘Physical Literacy for Communities’ panel, which brought together three Francophone communities. Alexandra Ayotte from Lanaudière, Quebec, discussed implementing a multisport program as part of a pilot project and supporting existing or future park layouts to encourage free play. Claudie Ringuete from Kent, New Brunswick, talked about her future pilot project with a daycare to establish a circus arts program and develop a play structure that promotes physical literacy. Yannick Morin from Bromont, Quebec, partnered with Mariève Blanchet from UQAM to develop two physical literacy parks in the region, along with numerous research projects and the launch of their website this spring.

The 2024 Sport for Life Summits in Ottawa, Victoria, and Quebec City successfully brought together experts, practitioners, and community leaders to promote inclusivity and accessibility in sport and physical activity across Canada. The events provided valuable insights, practical strategies, and networking opportunities for attendees to foster inclusive sport environments within their organizations and communities. As we look forward to the national Summit in Gatineau in January 2025, we encourage you to stay informed and engaged by subscribing to our newsletter for early bird registration and updates on future events.

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