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OTTAWA – (November 20, 2020) AthletesCAN, with the support of Sport Canada, is pleased to announce the highly-anticipated release of the Future of Athlete Representation within Governance Structures of National Sport Organizations position paper (the “Paper”). A product of the Athlete Representation Project (the “Project”), the paper outlines the findings of a comprehensive evaluation of athlete representative governance structures of National Sport Organizations (“NSO”) to determine how athlete representation can be optimized at the board of director’s level.

The Project was motivated by the enactment of the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (“CNCA”), which endeavored to provide the not-for-profit sector with a modernized statutory framework. Following the enactment of the CNCA, NSOs were required to make significant amendments to their governance structure and bylaws, which changed long-established practices in the sport sector, and the way the athlete representation has been formalized within the NSO decision-making processes.

The Project involved three phases carried out between 2017-2020:

The goal of Phase I (2017) of the project was to explore the implications of the enactment of the CNCA to gain a better understanding of the current landscape of athlete representation in Canada. As part of the process, in collaboration with Sport Solution Program Managers, 49 sets of current NSO bylaws were examined resulting in the identification of 6 models and current considerations around the use of athlete representation.

Phase II (2017-2018) involved the Athlete Representation Project Workshop (“workshop”) hosted at the 2017 AthletesCAN Forum inaugural NSO/Athlete session September 21st in Ottawa. The workshop brought together 90 athlete representatives and sport leaders to discuss their perspectives on the current landscape of athlete representation within NSO decision-making processes. As a result of this collaborative discussion, four key areas emerged including considerations for athlete directors, prominent concerns, areas of consensus and considerations for developing a model for best practices.

The goal of Phase III (2019-2020) was to develop tangible tools to assist the sport community in moving forward with effective, inclusive, and broad-based athlete representation. To achieve this goal, structured interviews with athlete representatives and leaders from NSOs took place to verify key benefits and issues as well as areas of learning. Further consultations were conducted to examine international best practices including athlete representation governance models from USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Finally, a framework of resource development was charted based on the learnings from each phase to support the optimization of athlete representation within NSO governance structures.

“AthletesCAN is proud to present the results of the Athlete Representation Project and accompanying resources,” said Georgina Truman, Manager, Athlete Relations and Operations at AthletesCAN. “We look forward to supporting athlete leaders and our sport system partners in their adoption of the enclosed best practices for optimizing athlete representation within NSO governance structures”

We would like to thank the following partners for their contributions throughout the project: Ashley LaBrie, Patrick Jarvis, Dasha Peregoudova, Jillian Drouin, Thea Culley, Josh Vander Vies, Tom Hall, Connor Allison, Claudia Warner Romano, Lucy Wu, James Sifakis, Umar Khan, Brittany Bates, Tyler Matthews, Greg Cherniak, and each athlete representative, NSO Leader, and International affiliate who contributed during each phase of the project. 


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.

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