The Government of Canada has embraced our shared vision of ‘sport for all’, through its generous and ongoing financial contribution to Special Olympics in Canada. Special Olympics Canada asks the Federal Government to include us in the 2022 Federal Budget - to sustain the current level of funding support on a permanent basis as we position ourselves to recover, rebuild and reignite our movement for future growth and continued delivery of high-impact, cost-effective, community-based programs for athletes with an intellectual disability.
All month long, athletes from across the country will be meeting virtually with their local Members of Parliament to discuss ensure sustained support for Special Olympics Canada.
The federal government's support - on-going annual funding and four year incremental funding in the 2018 budget has been integral to the growth of Special Olympics in Canada, and our movement's ability to positively impact the lives of more than 49,600 Canadians with an intellectual disability through sport.
We've made huge strides and built strong momentum across the country with the incremental funding support of the federal government over the last 4 years. At only 5% penetration today, we aspire to keep growing to reach more Canadians with an intellectual disability, enriching lives through the transformative power of sport.
Our number one priority is to recover, rebuild and reignite our movement. As such, Special Olympics Canada and its 12 Provincial/Territorial chapters are requesting that current incremental funding be maintained in the 2022 federal budget – securing the gap of $1.8 million as permanent funding going forward. With maintained federal government support, thousands more people with intellectual disabilities, their families, and the communities in which they live, will benefit.
From 2018-2020 were able to accelerate growth across our organization, prior to the impact of the pandemic:
- 2019 was a record-breaking year, with athlete registration reaching 49,626.
- 2019 was a record-breaking year with volunteer registration reaching 22,876.
From 2018-2020, we saw 31% growth in the number of schools offering Unified Sports
Special Olympics Team Canada at 2019 World Summer Games: 155 medals, +11 vs. 2015
Throughout the pandemic, all 12 Special Olympics Provincial/ Territorial Chapters provided forms of virtual programming when in-person programs were suspended, such as:
- Walk The World With Me (a collective step count challenge)
- Healthy @ Home (online activity tracking)
- Virtual activity challenges and fundraisers
- Live workouts, nutrition sessions and athlete socials on Zoom or Facebook
A 2021 DIG study showed that the public believes that individuals with intellectual disabilities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
Despite the tremendous effort by Special Olympics staff, coaches and volunteers across the country to keep athletes active, healthy and connected through virtual training, the necessary suspension of in-person programming had a significant impact on registration. Moving forward, Special Olympics Canada is focused on recovering, rebuilding and re-igniting the movement - but we need your help.
Stories of our athletes