Meet a Sponsor: The Government of Canada

Opening Eyes screenings at the 2019 SOBC Games
A young local Special Olympics athlete enjoyed Opening Eyes screenings at the 2019 SOBC Games!

The Government of Canada is a vital supporter of Special Olympics Canada and Special Olympics BC, providing significant funds to develop new and existing sport programs and competitive opportunities. Without this funding, we could not offer the full range of opportunities that make such a difference in the lives of Special Olympics athletes and their families.

Thanks to the support of the federal government, Special Olympics BC is providing athletes like SOBC – Port Alberni’s Jamie Amos with a chance to put their best foot forward. 

Amos attended his first-ever Healthy Athletes screening at the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games in Greater Vernon, and found a lot of value in the experience. 

“I especially liked the [Fit Feet] volunteers, as they found a problem and told me how to fix it,” Amos said, and his coach noted how much that matters to him as a figure skater.

In the Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes screenings, Amos found out he had been wearing the wrong prescription, and received new glasses thanks to Essilor and Safilo. 

In the Special Smiles screenings, he said, “they taught me how to brush my teeth to keep them clean.” 

The volunteer health practitioners who deliver Healthy Athletes screenings have received Special Olympics training to work with individuals with intellectual disabilities, to help uncover issues in a welcoming and encouraging environment.

“I liked the volunteers that took their time to help athletes like me,” Amos said.

Funding from the Government of Canada helps Special Olympics BC provide health care professionals with training about the specific health care concerns of people with intellectual disabilities and how to ask the right questions, helping them draw out issues. Their interactions with Special Olympics athletes lead to referrals back into the health care system that ensure the individuals will get the treatment they need. And the practitioners take the lessons back to their professional life to help them work with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Learn more about Special Olympics BC’s health work

The Government of Canada also funds training and travel expenses for Special Olympics Team Canada athletes, coaches, and mission staff from B.C. This year, their support helped bring 11 athletes, six coaches, and three mission staff from British Columbia to the inspiring 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi. Here, athletes delivered top-quality performances and many personal bests on the world stage.

“Our province should be very proud of our members of Special Olympics Team Canada 2019. They worked very hard to be at their best on the world stage, and they showed inspiring determination, sportsmanship, and skills,” said Lois McNary, Special Olympics BC Vice President, Sport.

Learn more about Special Olympics Team Canada 2019

SOBC Athlete Leadership programs, Leadership Summits, and Coaching Summits receive support from the Government of Canada, allowing individuals throughout the Special Olympics BC community to come together to take part in networking opportunities and listen to inspiring expert speakers. Participants at these events come away with new tools and ideas to take back to their grassroots communities.

SOBC – Vancouver volunteer Wilson Wong and SOBC – Smithers volunteer Gale Jones at the Leadership Summit.

In October 2018, more than 100 leaders from across the province came together for a weekend of inspiring speakers and networking opportunities at the 2018 Special Olympics BC Leadership Summit in Richmond.

SOBC – Kimberley/Cranbrook coach Misty Pagliaro said she learned a lot from the presentations, and the Leadership Summit reminded her that she is part of a bigger community and that volunteers play a critical role in the success of SOBC. 

“I went away with a feeling of knowing that I am part of something worldwide, special, and big – and what I do makes a difference!”

Read more about the 2018 Special Olympics BC Leadership Summit

With the help of federal government funding, SOBC has strengthened our sport programs by developing tools and resources to support coaches and athletes. Support from the Government of Canada has also helped SOBC create new sport opportunities across the province, giving athletes the chance to train and compete in a variety of sports within their home communities.

SOBC is extremely grateful for the support of the Government of Canada. If you have a moment, please thank your local Member of Parliament for this support as it truly makes a difference.