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Canadian Sport and Events Calendar


Overcoming vs. Dismantling Barriers to Sport and Physical Activity for New to Canada Participants



Event Date(s) : May 11, 2023
10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Organization : Sport for Life
Contact Person : Sport for Life
Contact Email :

Within the quality sport and physical literacy ecosystem, there are many barriers faced by New to Canada Participants. How can we dismantle them, so that everybody has access to these opportunities?
In this webinar, hear from panellists Noël Bahliby (Director of Youth Programs with the Centre for Newcomers), Kiruthika Rathanaswami (Adult Program Manager with Volleyball BC) and Craig Brown (Facilitator with Anti-Racism in Sport) as they discuss:
  • the important programs they support in their communities for New to Canada Participants,
  • the barriers New to Canada Participants face and ideas on how those barriers could be overcome, and
  • their insights on creating systemic change to dismantle barriers to participation.


Noël Bahliby
Noël Bahliby is the Director of Youth Programs at the Centre for Newcomers. Noël is passionate about community building and supporting youth to reach their highest potential.
Noël has studied public policy and economics, and enjoys exploring how different systems can collaborate to improve youth outcomes.
Kiruthika Rathanaswami
Kiruthika Rathanaswami was born in Pondicherry, India and moved to Canada with her family when she was a year and a half old. Kiruthika holds a Bachelor of Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia, specializing in Health and Physical Education. She went on to complete her Master of Arts in Kinesiology and Physical Education at McGill University. Her research “Physical Activity in First Generation South Asian Women Living in Canada: Barriers and Facilitators to Participation” was published in the Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal in 2016.
Kiruthika has been working in provincial sport for the past nine years, and has managed the grassroots and adult portfolios in volleyball. She is currently the Adult Program Manager for Volleyball BC (VBC) and is the project lead for volleyball newcomer initiatives. Earlier this year, VBC launched their new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy; one of the goals is to deliver low-barrier opportunities for newcomers to Canada, and other communities that do not traditionally engage in volleyball. In the past two years, Kiruthika has successfully led six newcomer programs with various Vancouver, Richmond and Penticton communities. She continues to work with existing partners and seeks new partnerships to meet the needs of the diverse population of B.C., and to bring awareness and opportunities for newcomers to try volleyball.
Outside of volleyball, Kiruthika is a trained bharata natyam (Indian classical dance) dancer with over 19 years of professional dancing experience. She has performed at notable dance festivals across Canada and the United States. Kiruthika is recipient of the 2012 City of Vancouver “The Mayor’s Arts Awards” for emerging artist in dance and the 2016 Dancing Damsel Women Achiever Award for the Performing Arts. She also continues to develop and work on new repertories, projects and teaches.
Craig Brown
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Craig Brown began his career in the financial sector, where he spent 11 years working in a variety of positions related to customer service and human resources. Although he previously completed degrees in psychology (B.Sc.) and business administration (M.B.A), in 2017, Craig moved with to Winnipeg to pursue an M.A. in Kinesiology and Recreation Management with a focus in Sport Psychology, which he completed in 2020.
Craig’s professional endeavours since moving to Winnipeg include various research projects related to the experiences of newcomers in sport in Manitoba, queer-youth resilience, anti-racism in sport in Winnipeg, and an organizational equity, diversity, and inclusion review. Craig has also worked with the University of Manitoba’s women’s soccer team as a student sport psychology consultant.
Craig’s mantra is to be the change that he wishes to see in others, one interaction at a time.