We call upon the federal government to ensure that national sports policies, programs, and initiatives are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples, including, but not limited to, establishing: 

  1. In collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, stable funding for, and access to, community sports programs that reflect the diverse cultures and traditional sporting activities of Aboriginal peoples. 
  2. An elite athlete development program for Aboriginal athletes.
  3. Programs for coaches, trainers, and sports officials that are culturally relevant for Aboriginal peoples.
  4. Anti-racism awareness and training programs.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Updates

Current StatusAug. 17, 2020IN PROGRESS
Previous StatusJune 15, 2020IN PROGRESS

Why “In Progress”?

Federal Government has committed ongoing funding through Budget 2017 ($18.9M over 5 years + $3.5M ongoing after that) and Budget 2018 invested $47.5 over 5 years + $9.5M ongoing after that. Multiple initiatives underway at various provincial/territory sports bodies.

Government & Sports Organizations Commitments to Aboriginal Sports

Federal Government

May 31, 2019 – Budget 2018: $47.5M over 5 yrs + $9.5 annually
Funding is to expand the use of sport for social development in more than 300 Indigenous communities. Those needs form the specific targeted social outcomes of the SSDIC component: 

  • improved health, education, and employability; and
  • the reduction of at-risk behaviour. 

The SSDIC component is divided into 2 streams:

  • Stream 1 – This stream is reserved for established provincial/territorial Aboriginal sport bodies.
  • Stream 2 – This stream is open to Indigenous governments, Indigenous communities and other not-for-profit Indigenous and non‑Indigenous delivery organizations collaborating with an Indigenous organization(s).
Aboriginal Sports Council

The Aboriginal Sport Circle is Canada’s national voice for Aboriginal sport, which brings together the interests of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. Established in 1995, the Aboriginal Sport Circle (ASC) was created through a national consensus-building process, in response to the need for more accessible and equitable sport and recreation opportunities for Aboriginal peoples. The ASC is currently restructuring

Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council BC (I-SPARC)

Funding to offset costs for more than 500 athletes, coaches, chaperones and mission staff from B.C. Without this funding, fees would need to be increased and participation on Team BC would be out of reach for many families. Reducing barriers to participation in sport remains a priority for both the provincial government and (I∙SPARC). Its Team BC program provides an opportunity for Indigenous athletes to experience a major international sport competition and to share and celebrate their cultural heritages with other youth.

I·SPARC works with First Nations, Métis Chartered Communities, Friendship Centres, schools and other sport and health-sector stakeholders to deliver community-based programs. These programs promote having an active lifestyle and support transformative change in the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples, families and communities in B.C.

Manitoba Aboriginal Sports & Recreation Council Inc. (MASRC)

The MASRC is “The Bridge” between existing partners in the sport/recreational delivery system and Manitoba’s Aboriginal community. The MASRC partners with Sport Manitoba to provide more programs and opportunities for Aboriginal people to participate in sport. We work with Provincial Sport Organizations and Coaching Manitoba to provide educational and upgrading opportunities for Aboriginal coaches and officials. The focus of the MASRC is to work with Aboriginal communities, organizations and individuals to develop sustainable programs that improve opportunities for community members to participate in sport and recreation activities. Our overall objective is to assist in this development by providing the necessary training and resources.

Indigenous Sports & Wellness Ontario (ISWO)

The Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) is the official Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sporting Body (P/TASB) for Ontario and serves all 133 First Nations, in addition to Inuit and Metis Peoples, living both on and off reserve, in urban and rural settings.

  • ASWCO operates more than forty events on an annual basis, including multi-sport and leadership camps, the Ontario Native Basketball Invitational, the Ontario Native Volleyball Invitational, sport clinics, try-outs for Aboriginal Team Ontario, conferences, workshops and retreats.
  • ASWCO has developed a number of strategies to ensure its providing relevant community programming, including: a Far North Strategy, Urban Indigenous Strategy, Youth Leadership and Mental Health Strategy and a High Performance Strategy.
  • Net proceeds from Toronto 2017 NAIG were directed to a Legacy Fund, aimed at increasing sport and wellness programming, services, and equipment to Indigenous yout

Oct. 2, 2018 – Standing Bear, a leadership program for Indigenous youth, developed by ASWCO, stands apart from other leadership programs for three primary reasons:

  • the program was developed in consultation with more than 550 Indigenous youth across Ontario,
  • the program is culturally grounded within an Indigenous framework of learning, being and doing, and
  • the program works to create collective impact, bringing together a variety of stakeholders, organizations and communities, with one common purpose.

To ensure a consistent support system, Standing Bear provides participants with opportunities throughout the year, including day camps, conferences, and workshops, and as well, an opportunity to participate in a range of sport programming delivered through ASWCO. Funded by the Government of Ontario, Standing Bear opens the door to new opportunities, while reaffirming self-determination, community building and the capacity to affect change, in a culturally meaningful and relevant way, strengthening youth’s self-identity as Indigenous Peoples.

Nov. 16, 2018 – ISWO announcing twin five-year historic agreements for Indigenous sport and wellness. A collaboration between the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism and Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation will result in the hosting of several international sport and cultural events in the area, in addition to a multi-platform media partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC)

Nov. 19, 2018 – Agreement between ISWO and CBC builds on their past partnership to further improve awareness of and increase access to major sport and cultural events for Indigenous youth and adults in Ontario over the next five years. CBC Sports will provide a minimum of 100 hours of live and on-demand coverage throughout the series of ISWO events, including, but not limited to the Masters Indigenous Games (2021, 2023), and the Ontario Indigenous Summer Games (2019, 2021, 2023).

  • CBC Radio will produce multiple documentaries telling the stories of the participants in ISWO programming who have used sport as pathway to wellness.
  • CBC Arts will produce digital and radio content reflecting the rich diversity of cultural expression during ISWO events.
  • CBC News’ award-winning Indigenous Unit will cover ISWO through original journalism, story-telling and news coverage. This coverage will be distributed across all CBC/ platforms, including those specifically developed to reach Indigenous people.
  • CBC Sports will produce signature ISWO sport features for several platforms including ca, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Where possible, CBC regional offices will collaborate with ISWO for the purpose of increased storytelling of Indigenous sport and wellness opportunities led by ISWO.

Both CBC and ISWO will make best efforts to provide increased opportunities to promote Indigenous participation in sports media careers.

Official Federal Government Response : Sept. 5, 2019

Sept. 5, 2019 – Through Budget 2017, the Government of Canada invested $18.9 million over 5 years, starting in fiscal year 2017 to 2018, and ongoing funding of $5.5 million every 4 years thereafter, to support Indigenous youth and sport initiatives. More Indigenous children and youth will be able to participate in sport by investments in the following 4 areas:

  • Indigenous sport leadership
  • culturally relevant sport programming
  • the North American Indigenous Games
  • Sport Canada’s data and research

More specifically, the investments allocate funds to: 

  • the Aboriginal Sport Circle to assume a greater leadership role on Indigenous sport development 
  • provinces and territories, through bilateral agreements, to increase the operational capacity of provincial and territorial Indigenous sport bodies, increase the offering of culturally relevant sport programming including North American Indigenous Games team preparation and travel
  • national sport organizations and multisport service organizations to ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development and growth through increasing the offering of culturally relevant sport programming
  • the North American Indigenous Games on a 4-year cycle starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020 to ensure the Games are hosted in Canada every 4 years

As this initiative is implemented, the Government of Canada will look for opportunities to profile excellence among Indigenous youth in sport, which will help to develop an elite athlete program for Indigenous athletes, as per Call to Action 90ii.

Through Budget 2018, the Government of Canada invested $47.5 million over 5 years, and $9.5 million per year ongoing, to expand the use of sport for social development in more than 300 Indigenous communities.