Inclusive Sport and Recreation Meetings In Collaboration with the Canadian Paralympic Committee

We would like to start by acknowledging the value that Dr. Stephen Norris brought to our ISR meetings, and thank him for his passion for and contributions to the sport community.

Notes from the October 3rd meeting in Calgary revealed a common thread, the way our sector is currently structured is not working. We need to work together to create a new ‘best practice’ in delivering high quality inclusive sport and recreation programming in Alberta. Between conversations at our last meeting, and the release of the provincial budget, it is clear that funding for the many organizations in our space is tightening quickly. We need a new way forward together so that we can maximize our resources, reach and voice. The ISR Collective hopes to continue to provide a space for us to achieve this and give our sector unity and clarity that we have traditionally lacked.

Here’s what we know:

  • There are almost 30 separate adapted sport organizations in the province.
  • There are 12 organizations alone in Edmonton, followed by 9 in Calgary.
  • 26 of these organizations provide only one sport or operate in only one location.
  • These numbers do not include the other inclusive sport, recreation and physical activity programs run by disability organizations, care facilities, municipalities, recreation centres such as YMCA, fitness/physical therapy/rehabilitation focused facilities and post secondary institutions.
  • Despite the volume of organizations and programming, gaps still exist in opportunity for the population we serve.
  • Government funding of sport has decreased by approximately 10% for this fiscal year and is set to decrease an additional 25-30% over the next 3 years.
  • Lotteries funding, which includes bingo and casino revenues that many groups rely on, has been rolled into general revenues in the current provincial budget. It is no longer possible to track the value of funding from lottery activities specifically.
  • The Alberta Sport Connection has been disbanded. This means the board no longer exists, but to date staff remain as Government of Alberta employees in their same or similar capacities as before.

Though we have not been in touch as quickly as we had intended, rest assured work continues in the background. The Active Alberta Coalition was successful in securing a 90-minute meeting with Minister Aheer this week of which representatives of the ISR community were invited to attend. This is an important step forward for our community, communicating with one voice about the importance of sport, physical activity and recreation for all Albertans. An ask will be made to meet with Ministry staff 4 times per year, twice with the minster, to keep the importance of the Alberta sport, physical activity and recreation sector top of mind.

Recent funding changes have increased the sport sector’s fixation on funding, and while this is important, we encourage everyone to shift the focus to becoming more cohesive. The arts community has had great success through increased collaboration and is a model we can use to work better together. We encourage everyone to think strategically about who you can collaborate with in this space to more effectively and efficiently deliver high quality programming.

We will deliver updates to you as we receive them and encourage everyone to save the date in your calendars for another ISR meeting on

February 4th, 2020 in Red Deer.

This meeting will focus on making sense of our changing landscape, and some targeted work on collaborations, and creating cohesion within our sector. Please RSVP by January 21st, by emailing with ISR in the subject line and ask to be added to the distribution list.

We’d like to share a new resource: Building Social Legacies Through Mega, Major and Signature Sport Events. Please access the PDF here.