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The Sport Information Resource Centre

AthletesCAN, with the support of Sport Canada, is pleased to announce the Athlete Commercial Agreement Template now available for adoption by National Sport Organizations (NSOs). The Athlete Commercial Agreement was a key recommendation made by the Athlete Agreement Working Group to achieve a balanced and fair commercial environment in the Canadian sport system.

“We are proud to share this template with Canada’s national team athletes and our sport partners to continue to support an athlete-centred sport system in Canada,” said Georgina Truman, Manager Athlete Relations and Operations at AthletesCAN.  “A special thank you to the Athlete Agreement Working Group, Aird & Berlis LLP, and Sport Solution for their contributions to this project”

In the Future of Athlete Agreements in Canada (2015), an expert working group comprised of NSO leaders, marketing, and legal experts identified commercial aspects an increasingly complex and problematic part of the athlete agreement negotiation process. In an effort to negotiate commercial aspects, finalizing the agreement is often delayed, impeding the athlete’s ability to participate in NSO organized training programs and events. Further, athletes were found to be disadvantaged in this process due to a lack of understanding of determining commercial value, lack of expertise in negotiating commercial aspects, and lack of resources to seek legal advice and support.

In order to address these issues, the working group strongly recommended that commercial aspects be removed from the Athlete Agreements and placed in a separate agreement. By separating performance and commercial aspects into two agreements, the athlete will be able to negotiate and complete the performance side of the contract and continue training without being delayed by their wish to engage in commercial negotiations. It was noted by the working group that this practice will differ depending on the sport and individual athlete personal commercial relationships. Finally, this important structural change to the athlete agreement will empower athletes by providing more control over their commercial interests, a foundational shift to ensure a respectful high-performance partnership. Learn more here.

Further, Sport Canada strongly suggests that Carded Athletes and their NSO consign their commercial interests in a document separate from the Athlete/NSO Agreement required by Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) Policies. As a best practice, Sport Canada invites non-carded athletes to do the same by accessing the separate Athlete/NSO Agreement through either AthletesCAN or the Sport Canada AAP department staff.

“The Commercial Agreement template is a great tool for athletes to begin to take advantage of new marketing opportunities that are presenting themselves for everyone,” said Bo Hedges, Wheelchair Basketball Canada Athlete Representative and AthletesCAN Board Member. “It creates a platform that enables athletes and NSO’s to work together to build an environment where both can develop their own brands.”  

“Wheelchair Basketball Canada supports AthletesCAN in the ongoing work they are doing to strengthen the vital relationship that National Sport Organizations have with the athletes in their respective sports,” said Wendy Gittens, Wheelchair Basketball Canada Executive Director. “The Athlete Commercial Agreement template is an important tool that can be used to foster greater understanding and collaboration while cultivating a greater sense of shared purpose and responsibility in the growth and prosperity of amateur sport in Canada.”


About AthletesCAN
AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world. As the voice of Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture.

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For more information please contact:
Georgina Truman
Manager, Athlete Relations & Operations