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New research from Canadian Women & Sport, E-Alliance and Jumpstart Charities demonstrates impact of the pandemic on sport participation for Canadian girls aged 6-18.

Toronto, ON (July 13, 2021)Canadian Women & Sport, in partnership with E-Alliance and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, and thanks to funding from Sport Canada, released a new study – COVID Alert: Pandemic Impact on Girls in Sport – examining the impact of the pandemic on sport participation for Canadian girls aged 6-18.

The key finding from the study shows that 1 in 4 Canadian girls (aged 6-18) who participated in sport at least weekly prior to COVID-19 are not committed to returning to sport once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. If realized, this equates to potentially more than 350,000 Canadian girls not returning to sport.

More than 5,000 Canadian families were surveyed for the study with a focus on girls aged 6-18 who participated in organized sport at least weekly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commitment to return to sport is dramatically lower among girls who participated infrequently compared to those who participated frequently (i.e., at least weekly) before the COVID-19 shutdown.

“As sport starts to return, there is an opportunity to change the minds of girls who are not committed to return. Caregivers, teachers, coaches, and community leaders can each play a part to remove the barriers keeping these young athletes away from sport,” said Allison Sandmeyer-Graves, CEO, Canadian Women & Sport. “We must pay attention to what girls want and design programs with their needs at the centre. It’s not too late to turn this tide. The time for action is now.”

“This concerning new data shows that thousands of girls are at risk of missing out on the physical, mental and social benefits of sport as we come out of the pandemic,” said Dr. Ann Pegoraro, Co-Director, E-Alliance. “Girls were already at a disadvantage in sport. This further demonstrates we require proactive and immediate action to create a compelling case for girls to return to sport.”

“Jumpstart’s national reach, and partnerships with community sport organizations and thought leaders like Canadian Women & Sport have the Charity well-positioned to lead the way for girls’ return to sport,” said Scott Fraser, President, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. “Through our Girls in Sport initiative, Individual Child Grants and our Sport Relief Fund financial assistance programs, Jumpstart remains steadfast in its commitment to removing barriers to sport and play.”

The full COVID Alert: Pandemic Impact on Girls in Sport report is available online here.

Key Report Findings

  • One in 4 Canadian girls (aged 6-18) are not committed to resuming pre-pandemic sport participation levels once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted
  • Top three negative impacts as reported by girls whose sport participation has decreased due to COVID-19: mental health, physical health, social connection
  • 93% of girls (aged 6-18) who participated in organized sport at least weekly prior to the COVID-19 pandemic decreased their participation during the pandemic

The top five barriers girls reported prior to COVID-19 have been heightened by the pandemic, specifically:

  • Access to facilities and programs
  • Quality of programs
  • Alternatives / Other interests
  • Cost to participate
  • Lack of confidence

Connect with Canadian Women & Sport

Facebook and Twitter: @WomenandSportCA
LinkedIn: Canadian Women & Sport

About Canadian Women & Sport

Canadian Women & Sport is dedicated to creating an equitable and inclusive Canadian sport and physical activity system that empowers girls and women—as active participants and leaders—within and through sport. With a focus on systemic change, we partner with sport organizations, governments, and leaders to challenge the status quo and build better sport through gender equity.

About E-Alliance

E-Alliance is a knowledge sharing hub made up of scholars and partner organizations from across Canada who are dedicated to gender+ equity in sport. E-Alliance is led by three co-directors, Dr. Gretchen Kerr (University of Toronto), Dr. Guylaine Demers (Université Laval) and Dr. Ann Pegoraro (University of Guelph)

About Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity committed to ensuring kids in need have equal access to sport and recreation. With an extensive, national network of more than 1,000 grantees and 289 local chapters, Jumpstart helps eligible families cover the costs of registration, transportation, and equipment, and provides funding to selected organizations for recreational infrastructure and programming. Supported by the Canadian Tire Family of Companies, Jumpstart has provided more than two million opportunities for Canadian kids to get in the game since 2005. For more information, visit

Follow Jumpstart on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to learn about how the Charity is giving kids across Canada a sporting chance.

For More Information

Alex Grey | Director, Marketing and Communications | Canadian Women & Sport |