Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Issue 9 - Evidence
OTTAWA, Monday, February 14, 2011
The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights met this day at 4:16 p.m. to
monitor issues relating to human rights and, inter alia, to review the machinery
of government dealing with Canada's international and national human rights
obligations (topic: federal programs supporting sports and recreational
activities for children and youth with disabilities).
Senator Nancy Ruth (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate Committee on Human
Rights was authorized by the Senate to monitor issues relating to human rights
and, inter alia, to review the machinery of government dealing with Canada's
international and national human rights obligations. Within the context of this
broad order of reference, the committee has decided to undertake a study of the
federal government's policies and programs pertaining to persons with
disabilities in sport and recreational activities, with a particular emphasis on
the needs of children and youth under 25 years old and on Canada's obligations
under Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Participation in recreational and athletic pursuits not only promotes
physical and mental well-being but also challenges the social stigma often
associated with disabilities. Unfortunately, persons with disabilities can face
significant barriers that can prevent them from becoming involved in such
Canadian and international laws confirm the right of persons with
disabilities to participate in all aspects of society. Equality rights are
guaranteed in Canada's human rights legislation and in the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms. Furthermore, as a signatory to the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Canada accordingly has
obligations to implement the convention and to protect the rights to equality
and non- discrimination of persons with disabilities, including obligations to
enable persons with disabilities to participate on an equal basis with others in
recreational, leisure and sporting activities. In this study, the committee will
place particular emphasis on children and youth under 25, as promoting healthy
living early on helps to establish good habits that can last into adulthood.
To assist us in understanding what is going on in the current state of
affairs, we are pleased to welcome this afternoon, this distinguished panel of
four government officials. We have from Human Resources and Skills Development
Canada, Jacques Paquette, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Income Security and
Social Development; and Carmelita Olivotto, Director, Intergovernmental
Relations and Special Projects. From Canadian Heritage, we have Martin Boileau,
Director General, Sport Canada; and Dan Smith, Director, Policy and Planning,
The idea for this study comes from Senator Kochhar, who is the President of
the Canadian Paralympic Foundation. His push and motivation have brought this
group of senators to have a look at what you are up to. Please tell us.
Jacques Paquette, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Income Security and
Social Development Branch, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada:
Thank you, Madam Chair. I will deliver a few remarks after which Mr. Boileau
will have remarks as well.
I am happy to be here with Ms. Olivotto on behalf of HRSDC. I plan to speak
about people with disabilities, offer remarks about the efforts of HRSDC with
respect to people with disabilities and close with a few words concerning the UN
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
People with disabilities are, as you probably well know, a varied group.
Disabilities can occur at any time throughout life. They can be permanent,
temporary or episodic, and can range from mild to severe. Approximately 4.4
million Canadians, or 14 per cent of the population, have a disability. This
group includes almost 400,000 youth under the age of 24.
School-age children from age 5 to 14 have a disability rate of approximately
4.6 per cent, or about 175,000 people, and the most common types of disability
they experience are learning disabilities and chronic conditions such as asthma.
The disability rate for youth aged 15 to 24 is about the same, around 4.7 per
cent, and we are talking about 195,000 people. Learning, mobility, pain and
agility disabilities are the most common reported for this age group.
HRSDC does not have programs or services specifically targeted to people with
disabilities and recreation or sport, but we have two types of effects in this
First, our programming for people with disabilities aims in one way or the
other to increase the social and economic participation of people with
disabilities in Canadian society; namely, in education, work, leisure and
culture. Essentially, inclusion in any of these areas fosters inclusion and
capacity to engage in other areas. In other words, if a young person with a
disability finds employment because of funding we provide to provinces under,
for example, the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, that
young person is also more likely to have the capacity to participate in sport
and in leisure and recreational activities.
Second, some of our programs fund projects that directly support and
facilitate the participation of children and youth with disabilities in sport,
leisure and recreational activities. I will give you a few examples.
A program called the Enabling Accessibility Fund aims to improve
accessibility, remove barriers — a key factor — and enable Canadians with
disabilities to participate in, and contribute to, their communities.
Since the first call for proposals in April 2008, we have funded over 300
projects, a number of which improved accessibility of organizations that provide
rehabilitative services for children and recreation opportunities for young
people. I can give you more details about this program, if you wish.
As part of this program, two major projects were also funded, including the
North East Centre of Community Society in Calgary, and this project will be a
225,000-square-foot complex designed to meet the sport, health, educational and
cultural needs of all individuals in Calgary's growing northeast communities,
including those with disabilities. The project is a unique model in program and
facility design that brings together a variety of partners in one complex to
meet individual and community needs.
Another program, the disability component of the Social Development
Partnerships Program supports an array of community-based initiatives that
effectively address barriers to inclusion in society that people with
For example, through this program we contributed to a project by the Active
Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability to provide people with
disabilities access to sport, leisure and recreation programs in their
With regard to the UN Convention, the Office for Disability Issues in my
Branch acts as a focal point across the federal government in relation to this
Convention. As such, efforts in the short term will largely consist of working
with the Canadian Heritage Human Rights Program to articulate what should be the
content of the report.
As we have ratified the Convention, we have to submit a first report in April
2002 on its implementation. We will then work across the federal government to
prepare the federal portion of the first report, in time for Canadian Heritage
to submit the entire Canada report in April 2012.
Canadian Heritage will coordinate the required consultations with the
provinces and territories to obtain their input on the implementation of the
To support this collaboration and the preparation of a pertinent,
high-quality report, HRSDC is establishing a collaborative mechanism to engage
other government departments, such as a core group committee with Foreign
Affairs and International Trade Canada, Justice Canada, and Canadian Heritage,
as well as an interdepartmental committee on disability issues.
The Office for Disability Issues, ODI, is also working to raise awareness of
the UN convention. For example, a day- long education and study session for 175
federal officials is being organized in March for that specific purpose.
Our longer-term objective is to have, in place, tools to strengthen
officials' capacity to consider and integrate disability issues in policies,
programs and services of all kinds and not only disability programs; in other
words, that disability issues become an integral part of our policy thinking
I will give the microphone now to Martin Boileau.
Martin Boileau, Director General, Sport Canada, Canadian Heritage:
Madam Chair, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to you about the
work that Sport Canada does to promotes the participation of persons with a
disability in sports.
As a Branch within the federal Department of Canadian Heritage, Sport Canada
strives to enhance opportunities for all Canadians to participate and excel in
sport. This is achieved by enhancing the capacity and coordination of the
Canadian sport system, encouraging participation in sports and enabling
Canadians with talent and dedication to achieve excellence in international
Sport Canada is not a regulatory body. We use our policies and programs to
encourage and support our objectives. As the federal government branch
responsible for amateur sport, we must also respect the important roles and
responsibilities of provinces and territories. For example, we have no mandate
or authority in the education system.
When it comes to sport for persons with a disability, the federal government
is only one player among many. Other key players include provinces and
territories, national, provincial and territorial sport and disability-specific
sport organizations, municipalities and, of course, the private sector. However,
Sport Canada has played, and continues to play, an important role in sport for
persons with a disability.
Since 1993, the Government of Canada, through Sport Canada's policies and the
leveraging our funding provides, has encouraged the integration of sport
programs for persons with a disability within mainstream national sport
The Government of Canada announced on June 28, 2006, the Sport Canada
Policy on Sport for Persons with a Disability. I think you have a copy of
that policy with you.
In 2009-10, Sport Canada contributed over $1.1 million to the Canadian
Paralympic Committee to assist with its operation, including the preparation of
Team Canada for the Paralympics and the development of a national Paralympic
sport system strategy. Through Budget 2010, an increase in federal funding of $5
million per year for the next five years will support the work of the Canadian
In 2009-10, Sport Canada provided $1.5 million to Special Olympics Canada to
support the participation of persons with an intellectual disability in sport.
Through Budget 2010, an additional $1 million per year for the next five years
will go to Special Olympics Canada.
Sport Canada also contributes funding to the Canadian Deaf Sports
Association, including support for a Canadian team to participate in the
Sport Canada provides funding to over 50 national sport organizations, such
as Hockey Canada, who are each responsible to govern the practice of their sport
in Canada. The funding supports their operations, including the delivery of
national level disability sport programs such as Hockey Canada's sledge hockey
In 2009-10, Sport Canada contributed over $3 million to national sport
organizations for these programs. National sport organizations also undertake a
variety of projects to support the participation of Canadians in their sport. In
2009-10, Sport Canada provided over $1 million to national sport organizations
for their sport participation projects aimed at persons with a disability.
Through our Athlete Assistance Program, Sport Canada provides direct grants
to athletes having the greatest potential to achieve top 16 results at Olympic
and Paralympic Games and World Championships. These tax-free federal funds
enable athletes to combine their sport and academic or working careers while
training intensively in pursuit of world-class performance. In 2009-10, Sport
Canada provided almost $3.9 million directly to athletes with a disability. A
total of 36 per cent of these paralympic athletes are under the age of 25.
In 2009-10, Sport Canada, based on the recommendations of Own The Podium,
provided almost $5.4 million to support the efforts of paralympic sport
organizations and their athletes to achieve podium performances at the
Recognizing that the development pathway for persons with a disability is
more complex and involves special considerations, Sport Canada has supported the
development of a resource document entitled No Accidental Champions.
Sport Canada is supporting individual sport with the development of their
sport-specific model for long-term athlete development, including a component
for athletes with a disability in sports such as cross-country skiing and
In 2009-10, Sport Canada made contributions totalling $275,000 towards the
hosting in Canada of international single-sport events in wheelchair athletics,
wheelchair basketball, boccia and swimming, as well as the hosting of Défi
sportif, an international games with four events for elite and recreational
athletes with all types of disabilities. Contributions were also made to Canada
Games for events for athletes with a disability.
Canada is proud to be hosting the third edition of the Parapan American Games
in 2015. The Government of Canada is contributing $500 million for the hosting
of the Pan Am Games and Parapan American Games in 2015.
Sport Canada has also negotiated bilateral agreements with every province and
territory that provides federal funding on a matching basis for the efforts of
these governments to increase the participation of their citizens in sport. A
number of these agreements include initiatives for persons with a disability.
Sport Canada also works collaboratively with provinces and territories to
advance the objectives of the Canadian Sport Policy endorsed by all
federal-provincial-territorial governments in 2002. This policy has equity and
access as one of its principles. The policy stresses that sport be welcoming and
inclusive to all under-represented groups, including persons with a disability.
Currently, Sport Canada is chairing the federal-provincial-territorial
disability sport work group, whose mandate is to examine issues, challenges and
opportunities to increase participation of persons with disabilities in sport,
and to recommend a course of action to federal-provincial-territorial
governments to address those opportunities.
Clearly, Canadian Heritage, through Sport Canada, is making a significant
impact on the participation of persons with a disability in sport in Canada. In
total, the Department contributed in 2009 —10 over $17 million dollars towards
sport for persons with a disability.
I understand that the committee is particularly interested in how programs
and policies target youth under 25 years of age. While the programs of Sport
Canada are not specifically targeted at youth, many of our high-performance
athletes, as well as many of the participants in the programs that are delivered
by the organizations we support, are under 25 years of age.
My colleague Dan Smith and myself will be pleased to answer any questions you
Senator Jaffer: Thank you for coming here today. I was interested in
what you said about the UN and about your preparation. You covered that area
well, namely, how you are preparing for the 2012 reporting and how you are
working with the departments. We will be interested to know how that
My question is on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities. What particular impact has the convention had on programs of sport
with persons of disabilities?
Mr. Paquette: First, when we signed the convention — and, before
ratification — we went through the usual process that any country goes through,
which is to see if we are compliant. In other words, is there any need to change
our legislation? We, as well as the provinces and the territories, went through
that process. At that stage, the conclusion was that we had both the legislation
and the protection in place to ratify it. We ratify it when we are compliant.
As I said in my remarks, first, we are pursuing awareness throughout the
department to ensure that everyone is well aware not only of the convention but
also of the content and meaning of some of these articles. Second, through that
discussion and coordination with other departments, we are trying to identify
where we must place more effort. That effort is what we must identify, in
consultation with the communities, to see where they want priorities to be
One important element of the first report that will be prepared in April 2012
is that this report will serve as a benchmark for us. With the convention, we
see the importance progressively evolving with these rights. We need to have a
starting point and the first report will be the benchmark. That report will
indicate the kind of progress we are achieving over the years. We must pursue
Senator Jaffer: My next question concerns Article 30 of the
convention. I know that you know what that article is, but I will summarize it
for the people who are watching this proceeding. The convention affirms that
persons with disabilities have the same rights as others to participate in and
enjoy sports, arts and other cultural activities. On one level, the convention
is intended to ensure that such sites as theatres, museums, cinemas, libraries
and tourism services are accessible to everyone.
Are any new programs in development as a result of Article 30 and especially
Article 35 of the convention?
Mr. Paquette: Regarding Article 30, on the participation in cultural
life, recreation, leisure and sport, a program that was in place, the Enabling
Accessibility Fund, EAF, came to an end in terms of its three-year span. In the
last budget — that is, at the time that the convention was ratified, which was
in Budget 2010 — the program was renewed by the government. In other words,
another $45 million over three years was announced in the last budget. At the
moment, we are in the process of completing the assessment of the first series
of projects that was submitted.
I refer to this program because it has two main components, and I want to
talk about the one specifically for small projects. These projects are roughly
up to $75,000, and any organization can submit a proposal. We called for
proposals. In fact, we received a lot of proposals across the country.
An amount up to $75,000 is available to make buildings that are accessible to
the public more accessible. When we say ``building,'' we are talking across the
board. In this case, we will see a lot of projects that deal with community
centres, for example. Buildings can be churches, because churches have religious
services but are often used as community centres as well. This type of program
will facilitate access, across the communities, to recreation, leisure and so
on, and it will remove some the barriers that the community of people with
disabilities face across the country. This program is something we think will
continue to have a significant impact in dealing with that specific article.
Senator Zimmer: Thank you for your presence and participation. Please
pardon my voice, as I have a bit of cold. What are some of the barriers and
challenges encountered by persons with disability who want to participate in
recreational and sport activities, and what do you consider some of the
potential solutions? It is a general question.
Mr. Paquette: I will say a few things. The first is that we know that
the situation of people with disabilities varies a lot, for all kinds of
reasons, including the nature of their disability, which means that the barriers
also vary a lot. It is hard to give one general answer. When we look at some of
the percentages, they vary significantly in terms of participation in sports and
leisure, depending on the condition of the person. You can imagine that the
spectrum is wide.
We notice that participation in sport and recreation, especially sport and
exercise, is higher for youth between 15 and 24 years old. There is a peek at
those ages, and I must admit that when we look at the general population, there
is also a peek at those ages, and it is a problem that sometimes participation
after age 25 goes down. That is another problem. In other words, we see a
similar tendency for people with disabilities.
The other factor that we look at is where people are. Overall, situations are
similar whether in a rural area or urban area, with two exceptions. One is the
facility. The barrier, the absence of facility or accessibility to the facility
is stronger in rural areas compared to urban areas. When we look at what
prevents people from participating in sports and so on, the percentage is not
high, but there is an element there. The other exception is that some people
need assistance, and this situation is the reverse. Apparently it is easier to
have assistance when they are in a rural area than in an urban area. The reason
might be because the community is stronger in a rural area. When we look at the
stats, these two factors vary. The rest are all the same, whether they are in a
rural or an urban area.
I will go back to the facilities. This factor is number one, in my mind. If
they do not have access to the facility, we can invest efforts and so on but
that will not have the impact we want, so it is essential to make the facilities
accessible and work on the other elements that support people.
I will add as well that, as you might know, a fitness tax credit was
introduced a few years ago to allow parents to claim up to $500 for expenditures
associated with physical activities in sports. The program is for people 16
years old and younger, and for people with disabilities, up to 18 years old, so
there is a slight difference. I say that because that tax credit is also to
facilitate participation when cost is an issue.
Dan Smith, Director, Policy and Planning, Sport Canada, Canadian Heritage:
Building on what Mr. Paquette mentioned, one of the aspects is making people
aware of the programs available to them. There are persons with disability that
have that disability congenitally and other people who acquire it at some point
later in life. Being aware of the programs and services available is one aspect
that needs to be addressed. The socio-economic aspect is another important
factor, and Mr. Paquette dealt with that factor.
More specific to sport, specialized equipment, for example, is required to
participate in a number of paralympic sports, and access to coaching and other
types of leadership, including the classification system to determine what
disability group they belong to in terms of competitive sport. Those are other
The other one I noted has been covered already. It was facility access, but
also accessing transportation to those facilities for persons with disabilities.
Senator Zimmer: How well does the Government of Canada understand and
respond to the needs of persons with disabilities, and will it be prepared to
respond to these needs as they evolve in the future?
Mr. Paquette: Do you mean in general terms, not only in sport and
Senator Zimmer: Yes, briefly.
Mr. Paquette: Briefly, I would say that it is a significant issue on
which the government is working. The government, and HRSDC in particular, has a
suite of programs specifically targeted toward people with disabilities. When we
talk to the community, one of the main issues that comes up is integration into
the labour market, for example, which was and continues to be a significant
challenge that we have to address. For example, we have programs like
opportunity funds that work with employers. We have labour market agreements
with provinces for people with disabilities because there are also many tools at
the provincial level.
In the context of the economic action plan, a suite of measures was put into
place specifically to support people with disabilities. Overall, the issue is
clearly something significant. The fact that we ratified the UN convention
quickly was a demonstration that this issue was important for the government.
If you ask the community, they will tell you that the work toward the
ratification of that convention was completed through close collaboration
between the community and the government, which proved we are able not only to
work together but to produce concrete results. This collaboration is something
we want to continue, and we have regular discussions with different
organizations representing the community for that purpose. We want to see a real
impact at the end, and a real result, because we want to ensure that, in the
life of people with disabilities, there will be a real improvement in some
cases. In other cases, there will be solidification of the economic gain they
Senator Zimmer: In your view, does the participation of persons with
disability in sport and recreational activities challenge the social stigmas
surrounding disabilities and promote equality of right, and, if so, how? I want
to add a comment at the end.
Mr. Smith: One of the trends over the last 15 to 20 years is the
amount of integration of so-called mainstream sport with sport for persons with
disabilities. For example, the national swim team holds their national
championships where they have athletes with disabilities competing at the same
competition as mainstream athletes. That integration contributes to the
visibility of sport for persons with a disability; it puts them on a relatively
equal footing with their able-bodied counterparts; and adds to the importance
attached to sport for athletes with disabilities and to their sense that they
are every bit as much a part of the national team as the other athletes.
Swimming is one of the best examples of that integration. We see that in
athletics, cycling and other events as well. That is one example of an area
where it comes to the fore.
Senator Zimmer: Two years ago, Senator Kochhar and I co-chaired a
fundraiser at the Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ontario. The Stronach family
donated the entire facility. We raised close to $200,000 for the Paralympics. We
are noticing that the Paralympics, the Paralympians and people with disabilities
are an inspiration when we see what they have overcome, and the smiles when they
spoke. It was an inspiration to listen to them. I think there is not only an
increasing awareness but also that they are moving ahead of other athletes in
popularity. Good luck and God bless.
Senator Hubley: Thank you for your presentations. My first question is
to Mr. Paquette. When you told us about the Enabling Accessibility Fund, you
closed by saying that if we needed more details, you would be willing to provide
them. You have provided more information in your answers. I will ask about the
services for children. What age group are we looking at when we talk about
children in the context of opportunities for young people? Is it 6 years and
under or ages 6 to 10 years? It is important to establish age parameters. Is it
only age 25 years and under?
Mr. Paquette: Let us start at the beginning. We do not count children
under 5 years of age because the physical development of children is much more
difficult to assess. We begin at the age of 5 years and continue until they are
no longer kids. That age will vary.
We do not necessarily have a fixed range in terms of age because it varies
according to program, for example. For example, student loans can be in place as
long as the person is studying. Student loans do not stop when the student is 18
years old. Depending on the purpose of the program, the age may vary. I referred
to the fitness tax credit, which applies to the age of 16 years. Often the
programs are put in place to look after an issue that we want to address. We
apply the parameters to target the issue for various reasons.
I am not sure that I can provide you with a clear definition of ``youth'' or
Senator Hubley: Is programming information available through medical
doctors? Is that one avenue of informing young parents of young people with
disabilities that programs are available? How do you deliver the information to
the people who need it?
Mr. Paquette: There are different measures, as for any government
program. In our case, we use Service Canada with its many areas of service
across the country to make sure that the information is available. We also work
a lot with national organizations such as those that represent the community of
people with disabilities.
For example, we work within communities to ensure that they know about the
Registered Disability Savings Plan. We had three-year targets for that program
and the take-up shows that we have achieved those targets in only one year.
Obviously, we work well with organizations representing communities to ensure
that the information is available through various means. That is how we make
these programs known.
Senator Hubley: It was noted by Sports Canada that you have no mandate
or authority in the education system. Is that a deterrent or barrier to children
Mr. Boileau: Clear roles and responsibilities can be an opportunity.
Our focus in sport is at the high performance level. Municipalities focus at the
community level, and provincial governments focus at the provincial level. It
might be a barrier in some cases, but we have clear roles and responsibilities.
That is only an opinion on my part.
Mr. Smith: Collaborative mechanisms exist between the federal
government and the provincial and territorial governments in the area of sport,
physical activity and recreation. Those mechanisms are a way of bringing forward
to our provincial and territorial colleagues ideas or issues related to sport.
Following that, there is a mechanism for discussion. Governments, in turn, can
liaise with their respective education ministry colleagues where that need
applies. It provides an indirect way of having that discussion.
Senator Hubley: The Canadian Sport Policy does not address issues in
much detail that pertain to Canadians with disabilities. Do you agree or
disagree? Given the current emphasis on Participaction, should more attention be
placed on persons with disabilities under this policy? What issues affect this
Mr. Smith: When reading the Canadian Sport Policy we do not see many
references to sport for persons with disabilities. However, the policy was
developed at a system-wide level and looked at issues that apply across the
board within the values and principles.
Equity and access are some of the fundamental principles being advanced
through the Canadian Sport Policy. Sport Canada has taken the pan-Canadian
policy, which applies at the federal, provincial and territorial levels, and
used it to build the Policy on Sport for Persons with a Disability. We
did the same for sport for Aboriginal persons and in our recent revision of the
policy, sport for women and girls.
They are mentioned in the policy, but the policy was intended to apply
system-wide. During the consultations for the Canadian Sport Policy, there was
significant engagement not only with the Canadian Paralympic Committee, the
Special Olympics Canada and the Canadian Deaf Sports Association but also with
Paralympic athletes and others involved in sports for athletes with
disabilities. We are about to embark on a renewal of the Canadian Sport Policy.
It has a vision through to 2012. In that next phase, sport for persons with a
disability will be an important component of the consultation for this new
Senator Kochhar: Thank you, witnesses. You have done an excellent job
in presenting the policies of the federal government.
I am in a learning mode. You said, Mr. Boileau, that the government is
spending $17 million on athletes with disabilities. You mentioned the Office for
Disability Issues. Is the $17 million a combined figure from Canadian Heritage
and the sports ministry, or is that figure separate?
I want to find out how much money you allocate for able-bodied sports
compared to disabled sports. I will ask a number of questions. You can answer
them as you feel like later on.
As you know, 37 per cent of able-bodied kids participate in some kind of
physical activity and sports, whereas only 3 per cent of disabled kids
participate in any kind of physical activity. The gap is too wide for my
comfort. That gap must be narrowed. I congratulate the federal government; in
five years you have done many good things, but you still have a long way to go.
Proportionate to population of abled and disabled, what percentage goes to
able-bodied people and what percentage goes to disabled people?
Mr. Boileau: Thank you for the question. When I referred in my remarks
to the $17 million, I was referring only to Sport Canada programs. If I use
numbers from 2009-10, those numbers do not include the new money, the $5 million
for the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the $1 million supplementary for the
The total budget of Sport Canada was $118 million. For people with a
disability the budget was $17 million. It is close to 15 per cent. I have 14.4
per cent here, more or less. I can explain how the budget is divided. If you are
familiar with the Own the Podium initiative in 2009-10, the part that we can
attribute to athletes with a disability is about $5 million out of a budget of
If you look at the Athlete Assistance Program, which has a budget of $26
million, almost $4 million is for athletes with a disability. For the national
sports organizations that we fund, it is directly $3 million out of $35 million.
I can probably provide you with more detail on that breakdown if you want. That
breakdown is for the $17 million, but on the other aspect of the question I will
turn to Mr. Paquette.
Mr. Paquette: For HRSDC, I can give you a few numbers for a few
programs. For HRSDC itself, we fund a suite of programs specifically for people
I spoke about the Enabling Accessibility Fund, EAF. We had the first $45
million over three years, and in the last budget there was new funding of $45
million over the next three years. That money is purely to fund accessibility
I spoke about the disabilities component of the Social Development
Partnerships Program. This funding is $11 million per year. That money is to
fund the different components, but some components are to support national
organizations that deal specifically with people with disabilities. Part of that
money is also for specific projects, and another part is for what we call the
Community Inclusion Initiative, and that initiative is specifically for people
with intellectual disabilities.
Finally, there is a small accommodation fund, which is to provide support for
conferences, for example, so organizers can use devices to make the conference
accessible to people with disabilities.
The Opportunities Fund, which is the fund that deals with businesses and so
on to support employment, specifically, this budget is $30 million per year.
That budget is purely for that purpose.
The Registered Disability Savings Plan is a special program. When people have
a child who is disabled, they can open this plan and put money in. It is a bit
like the other one; the growth of the plan and the interest that is within this
amount; but there are grants and there are bonds that are provided in some cases
to match the money put into these plans by the government. Sometimes we match
one to three, for example. For people who have a low income, there is also money
put into the plan by the government the moment it is open, even if there is no
money put into it by the family of the person. That plan is to build financial
resources for that person in the future. So far, if we talk about how much has
been invested by the government, we are talking about roughly $200 million for
this specific plan.
With the Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities, we have
labour market agreements in general for everyone, and in addition, we have
labour market agreements with provinces for people with disabilities. For these
agreements, we transfer money to the provinces but with specific objectives.
That amount is $223 million per year.
Senator Kochhar: Do you have some kind of listing for the public, a
booklet that specifies what Canadian Heritage does and what the ministry of
sports does, so the public can find out who to approach and what is available? I
realize health, sports and education are the responsibility of the provincial
and territorial governments and not of the federal government, and we still have
fairly good budgets. Are any booklets available in which you describe the kinds
of programs offered by Canadian Heritage and the kinds of programs supported by
the sports ministry?
Mr. Paquette: In Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, we can
provide the information to which I referred. All the information is on the
department website. As you said, in some cases, the money is transferred to the
provinces according to agreements, but in other cases we administer money
directly to organizations or to support specific projects.
Senator Kochhar: Can you supply that list?
Mr. Paquette: Yes, I can.
Senator Kochhar: How about you, Mr. Boileau?
Mr. Boileau: We have three programs in Sport Canada: the Athlete
Assistance Program, the Sport Support Program and the Hosting Program. The
information is on our website. We do not have a paper booklet that can be
distributed, but our clients use the website to make application to Sport
National sport organizations or organizations that want to host events use
Senator Kochhar: Do you have it written down in a format so that
ignorant people like me can understand it?
Mr. Boileau: We absolutely can prepare a document for you, sir.
Mr. Paquette: Can I add something? I have been reminded that I
approved something not long ago that I did not remember. We have a Federal
Disability Report that we publish every year that brings together all the
information about disability programs for the federal government. This report is
thick. We will provide copies to the members of the committee and then you will
have the entire picture.
Senator Kochhar: Mr. Boileau, all the programs you listed are
generated from the pride in Vancouver that we accomplished so much in the
Olympics and Paralympics. You are trying to develop programs to help and train
our elite athletes reach the podium and to go to London to win more medals.
However, I think that money is not being filtered down to make a feeder system
so that the kids in different territories and provinces can be trained to
substitute for athletes who are retiring, for example, like Chantal Petitclerc,
who won five gold medals. Unless we can filter a fair amount of money into the
programs for elite athletes, when the time comes for the Olympics in London, we
will be disappointed — that is, unless we can filter the money to the agencies
where they are trained, like Paralympics Ontario in Toronto, Variety Village or
a lot of other centres all across the country.
Have you given any thought to that training so that we can have the best
overall results for our country and ensure that we encourage kids with
disabilities to take part in activities and sports?
Mr. Boileau: We are injecting money into the entire sport system. By
hosting events, we create infrastructure and legacy. These events create
opportunities for our athletes, including our young athletes — the feeders, as
we call them — to participate and use those facilities. The money we inject into
the hosting program helps these athletes.
On the other aspect, we increased our contribution to national sport
organizations, and we also increased our money to the Canadian Paralympic
Committee and the Special Olympic Committee. We invest money in bilateral
agreements with provinces and territories. Some of that money is not only for
the elite athletes.
In the last budget, there was money for the Own the Podium initiative that
mainly feeds our excellence strategy, but there are other components for the
entire sport system.
Mr. Smith: Some of the significant new funding is going to the
Canadian Paralympic Committee. The committee also identified this issue. They
are aware that they need to do something about recruiting new athletes to
replace some of the athletes that will retire or need to be pushed, as happens
in able-bodied sport. The committee is looking at ways to reach down to the
grassroots level to collaborate with their provincial counterparts to have a
better development system for athletes. That is one of the priorities and
challenges that have been identified.
I think you may have a copy of this document as well, No Accidental
Champions. In last eight years, there has been an initiative called Canadian
Sport for Life, the long-term athlete development model. Many people are
interpreting that initiative as a way of having more high-performance athletes
in the future. This initiative is a way of having a better system so that we can
enable more of our top athletes to achieve excellence at the international
Every bit as important is involving more young people in sport and having a
positive experience when they are involved so they will stay in sport for life.
This particular model was developed specifically for athletes with a physical or
motor disability — and there is an equivalent one for athletes with an
intellectual disability — to try to look at ways of dealing with the entire
system, from the grassroots to high performance and, once an athlete retires, to
keep them in the system as a coach, volunteer or leader so they can continue to
Senator Kochhar: I am familiar with the programs the Canadian
Paralympic Committee offers. I do not see them spending adequate money in the
provincial bodies. Perhaps one way to encourage the provincial governments is
give a portion of matching funds to them. I know that Paralympics Ontario
receives $133,000 from the provincial government to run programs and to train
their local provincial athletes. That funding barely pays for the rent where
they are located. The Canadian Paralympic Committee has increased their budget
from $1.25 million plus another amount, which totals about $7 million a year.
They received a big boost to look after the elite athletes. While it is
gratifying and encouraging to see our athletes climb the podium, it is
embarrassing that the people at Variety Village do not receive a nickel, and the
provincial sector does not receive a nickel. If I know about the programs you
offer, maybe I can help groups access the system and encourage them to show you
what they can do so you can help them and vice versa. I am talking about our
athletes who are trying to climb the ladder — not those who are already there,
but those who are trying to climb the first few steps and to continue upwards.
Those athletes come from the local organizations.
Mr. Boileau: We will ensure that senators have proper documentation.
I want to mention something encouraging that happened in Halifax last week.
We had a federal-provincial- territorial meeting. In the past, we have been
talking mostly about physical activities and sport, but not necessarily
excellence and high performance.
At the suggestion of one of the provincial ministers, there will be a
federal-provincial-territorial table on high performance and excellence at the
provincial level. I understand what you are saying about the gap between the
community and the federal government in our excellence strategy. However, with
the involvement of provinces and territories, we will be in a situation,
hopefully, to reduce that gap.
The Chair: To Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, I want to
have a better understanding of these people we are talking about and who we are
interested in most. Regarding Canadians with disabilities, who are these people
who are 25 years and younger? I suspect you will not have the information; the
clerk will be happy to receive it. How many Canadians are in that group? In what
provinces and territories do they live? Where is the largest group within
Canada? What is the urban-rural breakdown? What is the gender split? What do we
know about participation levels in recreation and organized sport at this point
in time by disability, age and gender? I am happy to give you a copy of these
I understand that many people in the under 25 group may still be at home. I
want to know more about the economic status of families with disabled children
and about disabled youth who are living independently. What do we know about
their economic status, for example, with respect to income? How does that status
compare to other Canadian teenagers or families?
I am also interested in what disabled persons, particularly young people who
are disabled, express as their priorities for their lives. Do you conduct a
survey of what is most important to them? Some of the feedback that has come
from the disabled community is, why are you doing sport: priorities are jobs,
housing and access to education. That is partly why I ask if there is any data
behind participation in sport, besides people who send me emails. Is there other
data about what disabled people have as their needs and desires? Where does
recreation and sport feature in their views anyhow? Since there seems to be so
few of them engaged in recreation and sport — there may be a multiple of reasons
— I would like to know what you know or do not know.
For the Canadian Heritage officials, I will also give you a page of
questions. The list is much the same as the first list I asked. I am interested
in what disabled persons, particularly young people who are disabled, express as
their priorities for their lives. Do we have the survey or other data about what
are their needs or desires?
Where does recreation and sport feature in their views? How does the Canadian
policy on sport for persons with disabilities measure up against what young
disabled Canadians want to see?
The 2006 Policy on Sport for Persons with a Disability commits to an
action plan and to evaluation of the outcomes of that action plan. Can you speak
to the key elements of the action plan, and table them with the committee? Can
you also speak to the evaluations of that action plan that you have undertaken
and table these evaluations?
Can you explain what is meant by long term athlete development? How does this
development relate to the sport- for-life requirements for sport-governing
bodies? What responsibility do sport-governing bodies have for making equity
groups a priority, and what progress has been made on equity? Of course, when I
say ``equity,'' I am talking, in part, about gender equity. How are
sport-governing bodies accountable for their process of addressing the needs and
desires of various equity groups within the whole community?
I will split up those questions and hand them to you, and you can take a
crack at some of them now or you can answer in writing later, as you wish. What
would you like to do?
Mr. Paquette: I will start with the big ones by saying that we will
provide you with the information. You are asking pointed questions. For some of
the questions, I am confident that we have the information. For others, I am far
from sure that we have any information on them, so we will provide the
information that we have, especially by province, where they are and so on. We
will provide as much as we can.
The economic situation becomes more difficult because it is always the same
thing. The economic situation of children is usually the economic situation of
the family, so the question is more about family.
The Chair: Do we know if there are many disabled young people living
independently, say under age 20? There may be more between the ages of 20 and
25. Is this a phenomenon at all?
Mr. Paquette: I suspect it depends on the degree of disability or the
condition of the person; mild or severe. We can look at this information as
well. For example, for the labour market, we have statistics, I suspect. What is
not clear is if we have data for ages 18 to 25 versus the adults, but we will
look at what we have.
We will provide you with everything we have on this subject. If we think that
we can find additional information that might be useful for the committee, we
will include that information.
The Chair: Is there a survey of what these young people want? If they
had X number of dollars and could wave a magic wand at the federal government,
how would they spend the money, and where does sport come into that list?
Mr. Paquette: Are you talking about young kids?
The Chair: Yes, disabled.
Mr. Paquette: If you were to ask the same question of any population
in Canada, I am not sure that we would have that information necessarily either.
I will say one word about sport. In my mind, sport is an element, and I would
say recreation and culture is also the same thing. They are components of
integration into society. Labour market or employment is a key element, in our
mind, because that is where we find the financial support we need to live our
lives. The other element is essential in integrating into society and being part
of the community.
I would say it is not one or the other. We need to ensure that we remove
barriers that will prevent participation in these different sectors — culture,
sport and labour market. That is probably how the convention is drafted too.
They look at all sectors of activity to ensure there are no barriers that
prevent people with disabilities from participating if they wish to do so, and
that is what we have to work towards.
The Chair: Will Canadian Heritage comment now or leave it for later?
Mr. Boileau: We will come back to you with some of the answers. We
have at least one survey that we can look at when we are back at the office, and
that is the status of the athlete survey. We use that survey to guide our
program on the athlete assistance program. We will definitely look at that
I will ask Mr. Smith to give you a quick overview of Long Term Athlete
Development Model, LTAD, and a little bit on accountability.
Mr. Smith: The Long Term Athlete Development Model intends to take an
approach that is based on growth and development principles. It looks at stages
of development. It does not rely only on chronological age but looks at the
developmental age of athletes. It builds on that development, ensuring that
athletes are provided with an appropriate introduction to training and
competition that is commensurate with their stage of development. The model aims
to have optimal development and not end up with situations where kids are turned
off sport at an early age because it is far too competitive and too organized —
organized in the negative sense — and they drop out of sport.
The idea is that all children need an introduction to what we call physical
literacy. Just as we have literacy generally in the education system, the model
looks at physical literacy and some of the basic, fundamental movement skills
that all children require. We build on those skills to introduce the development
of sport skills and then we gradually introduce competition.
One of the other principles is avoiding early specialization other than in
sports like gymnastics, which is an early specialization sport with elite
athletes at a young age, particularly for females, and less so for males, but
they are still relatively young. The model tries to redesign the system in
Canada, so that we have proper introduction of basic skills, building on those
with fundamental sports skills, and then gradually introducing competition.
Seven stages of development have been identified. The model starts with an
active start, which is age three to five, and sometimes even younger, where kids
are exposed to balance and to different kinds of movement that might include
movement in water or movement on ice, but those kinds of things. They are the
Then there is learning to train, and these are catch-phrases used to describe
the various stages: training to train, training to compete and training to win.
The last stage is called active for life, and it tries to keep people in the
system, whether as a participant, like me playing old-timers' hockey, or whether
it is someone that comes back into the system and gives back as a coach or a
volunteer in a community sport association.
For No Accidental Champions, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, in
their consultations, advised there is probably a need for two additional stages:
they have an awareness-raising stage, and unfortunately I do not remember the
name of other particular stage. They have added other stages that are more
specific to sport for persons with a disability.
Implementing such a system will require a significant change in the way that
sport has been organized in the past. Already many sport organizations are
implementing it gradually.
We believe the model will do two things. It will contribute to better
performances for our top athletes in the future, and it will also ensure that
since children's first exposure to sport is a positive one and they have the
fundamental basics to enjoy competition and participating in sport, they will
stay in sport for a longer period of time.
The Chair: Of all the dollars you give out to both able-bodied and
disabled athletes, how much of it goes to boys and girls or men and women?
Mr. Smith: I will get back to you with the specifics.
The Chair: It would be great if you would.
Mr. Smith: Yes.
The Chair: You talked about the complex in Calgary that was built
recently, saying that it will work for disabled athletes. It will function for
them. What has Canada contributed regarding money to build the facilities for
the Pan Am Games, including the viewing structures and transportation access to
Mr. Boileau: We are providing an overall contribution to the Pan
American Games and the Parapan American Games, and to the host society of $500
million. Of that amount, $50 million is for essential federal services, and the
balance is mainly for infrastructure and legacies. The host society is
developing a business plan for the venues, which they will submit to Canadian
Heritage in the coming months. Of course, we do not have their full business and
The Chair: They have not yet received the $500 million.
Mr. Boileau: Absolutely not.
The Chair: How will you use that clout to make these facilities the
best possible for the disabled who are viewing the games and who are
participating in the games?
Mr. Boileau: We have a multi-party agreement and a contribution
agreement with the host society whereby they have to meet certain criteria,
including official languages and accessibility.
The Chair: Can you share with us the criteria around accessibility?
Mr. Boileau: Yes.
The Chair: For clarification, the Canadian Paralympic Committee
receives $5 million per year.
Mr. Boileau: Correct.
The Chair: Is any of this money to be set aside as an endowment, or is
it a case of money in and money out?
Mr. Boileau: There is no endowment. We are in the first year, so I
will give you a few examples of what the new money will be used for. There is a
changing-mind, changing-life program for schools. There is an international
hosting strategy, the LTAD system development. There is money for coaching,
para-sport equipment, a national public awareness campaign and a sustainable
The Chair: Are any of these things put through a gender lens? If not,
would you consider making gender part of the criteria of that committee?
Mr. Boileau: We will get back to the committee with that information.
The Chair: We would be happy to talk to you about it.
Senator Kochhar: You have given $5 million per year to the Canadian
Paralympic Committee for developing sports: the Own The Podium program, the
heroes program and other programs. However, none of the programs is set up as a
feeder system. Perhaps it is geared for that system in the proposal but not in
practice. Will you receive a report from them to ensure that a substantial
amount of that money is spent on a feeder system to help develop young athletes
at the local level? That is for the Canadian Paralympic committee.
You said that you have committed $500 million to the Pan American and Parapan
American Games. I understand that they will divide the games into Parapan
American Games and Pan American Games, each with two weeks, like the Olympic
Games and the Paralympic Games.
You were in New Delhi, India, for the Commonwealth Games, where they were
able to roll both games into one segment. I understand that if the Pan American
Games and the Parapan American Games combine, it will save them over $200
million by having only one opening ceremony and one closing ceremony, and not
wasting infrastructure and local authorities on an extra two weeks. I want to
ensure that when the proposal comes to you, you will consider amalgamating the
Pan American Games and the Parapan American Games.
Once the committee receives the $500 million, I am sure they will come back
to you for another $500 million. It is better to take into consideration how you
can produce more with $500 million.
Mr. Boileau: I will try to answer in part your two questions.
In terms of money for a feeder system and for Own The Podium, there was $5
million per year for La Relève, which identifies talent for future years. Of
course, this money will not go to the Canadian Paralympic Committee but to the
Own The Podium initiative more directly.
Just as the International Olympic Committee manages the Olympics and the
International Paralympic Committee manages the Paralympics, the Pan American
Sports Organization, PASO, will manage the Pan/Parapan American Games. Toronto
2015 is following the guidance of this international organization.
Part of the bid process for Toronto was to follow those procedures, and to
have a two-week gap between the events. I will add my views to yours in terms of
what was achieved in the Commonwealth system and in New Delhi specifically. We
saw the advantage of the integration. However, the event is managed by an
international body, and the Toronto 2015 host society is simply following the
rules. I assume that for 2015, the Pan/Parapan American Games will have a gap of
two weeks between the two events.
The Chair: Nothing can be done about that rule at this stage.
Mr. Boileau: That is correct.
The Chair: That gap is part of the deal.
Mr. Boileau: That is correct. That was part of our bid process. In
accepting to host the games, we also accepted the rules of the international
Senator Kochhar: You do not know what the rules are. Will they have
Mr. Boileau: They will have two separate games: the Pan Am and the
Senator Zimmer: Is that what you want or is that what they gave you?
Do you know what I mean?
Mr. Boileau: Yes.
Senator Zimmer: Would you prefer to have the games at the same time?
Do you have to accept that rule because that is the best you can do right now?
Mr. Boileau: That was one of the conditions around the bid for the Pan
Am and Parapan Am Games. The host society and the funding partner accepted this
requirement at the bid phase. We have to implement this requirement now that we
are hosting the games in Toronto.
The Chair: What would be the legal or other consequences if you chose
to do differently for Canada? My question is absolutely hypothetical and
speculative because they set the bid criteria. How do you change structures? Can
you stage the games in a different way now that you have the games and the
government has put up $500 million?
Mr. Boileau: If that change was the position of the funding partners —
the municipal, provincial and federal governments, we would have had to state
that position in the bid process. Now that the games have been awarded to
Toronto, we have the legal obligation to follow the rules.
The Chair: If this group of senators could deal with their municipal
and provincial cohorts, the world might change.
Senator Kochhar: There might be the legal obligation, but if the
federal government and the organizing body of the Pan Am Games feel that
combining the games would save a considerable amount of money and bring equality
to the able-bodied and disabled athletes and give their medals the same
prestige, would you encourage them to go back to the international organization
and try to influence them to change their policy?
Would the federal government participate in that power of persuasion? The way
the committee is going right now, they will be coming back for another $200
million. If you give them any more money, you should be able to persuade them to
go to the international committee.
Mr. Boileau: I totally understand your position. At this moment, the
Government of Canada is not entertaining the idea of funding more money to host
the Pan-Am and the Parapan American Games. It is a $500 million contribution in
total for infrastructure, legacy and essential federal services. I understand
The Chair: It is all right. It is okay. We are here; you are there. We
do different jobs. It is fine.
On the UN reporting back to the HRSDC, we have jumped through this kind of
hoop on other issues and other conventions that are coordinated through Justice
Canada or Canadian Heritage. What will those 175 people study for one day? Why
are there no non-governmental organizations involved in the reporting mechanism?
Mr. Paquette: Even if the convention was ratified, this piece of
legislation is comprehensive and we want to ensure the discussion over that day
is with people from all departments.
The Chair: Are they from all territories and provinces or only
Mr. Paquette: They are only federal. This discussion is our role as a
federal focal point. We bring in our colleagues and explain to them what the
convention means and what implication it has in the way they develop their
programs, projects and initiatives. What I said at the beginning was that we
want to ensure that people do not think that this convention applies only to
programs specifically dedicated to people with disabilities. It has to penetrate
all the programming of the government across the board. In other words, we want
to go beyond the converted, those ones who are already aware and working on
issues dealing with people with disabilities. We want to go beyond this work.
The Chair: Is it to integrate the perception of disability into all
the fingers of government?
Mr. Paquette: Exactly: This process is basically awareness and
The Chair: Are there any women-specific sports groups for disabled
women or girls? Do we know? I know there are women's sports groups, but are
there any for disabled women and girls? Can you have a search and let me know?
Mr. Smith: Can I have clarification of what you mean?
The Chair: Are there women-specific sports groups for disabled girls
Mr. Smith: There are no women-specific groups. Other than the Canadian
Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity, which
receives funding from Sport Canada, we no longer provide funding to any
gender-specific organizations. They were all encouraged to amalgamate as one
organization. It used to be that there was the Canadian Women's Field Hockey
Association and the Canadian Field Hockey Association. Now there is Field Hockey
Canada, Swimming Canada and Hockey Canada. All of them have an obligation and
responsibility to provide programming for both male and female athletes.
The Chair: How are they doing?
Mr. Smith: For the most part, they are doing reasonably well. I
mentioned earlier that the Government of Canada and Sport Canada had recently
conducted a review and updated the policy on sport for women and girls. The
original one had been in place since 1986. In 2009, the new version was
As part of that process, we looked at where progress was being made. From a
participant's point of view, there is good participation and relative gender
equity among participant groups. Where we have significant issues is with
leaders and coaches, as an example, where there is still an under-representation
or under-engagement of women as coaches and board members in sport
Senator Andreychuk: I have several questions. One is a follow-up to
Senator Zimmer's comments or questions. What are the greatest impediments now?
It used to be attitude and information, and then it was physical infrastructure.
I have not updated myself — perhaps others on the committee have — but what are
the impediments to having the disabled involved in sports and leisure when that
involvement seems to be the agenda for all of us? Where are you putting your
Mr. Smith: Examples of those barriers were the ones related to access
to facilities. Access is something that is being addressed. I am sure that we
will need to continue to address access.
Awareness is another important example, and not only awareness at the
national level, because we deal primarily with national sport organizations like
the Canadian Paralympic Committee and they, in turn, have relationships with
their provincial counterparts. Swimming Canada will have interaction with its
We do not become involved directly at that level. However, we make people
aware of the programs that are available and also move out to the mainstream
population, involving them as coaches and leaders as well, and making them more
aware so they can pass that information on to persons with a disability. I
cannot pinpoint one specific element. A myriad of factors are all
Senator Andreychuk: Coming from the community itself, where is the
emphasis now? I was involved in the past when the emphasis was on infrastructure
— making the buildings and the field facilities acceptable. Where are we now
from a community point of view?
Mr. Smith: Coaching is one. Ensuring coaches are aware of any specific
needs of athletes with a disability in comparison to mainstream athletes is an
example. Another example is ensuring we have persons not only with a disability
trained as coaches but also able-bodied persons who can be coaches and include
athletes with a disability as part of a training group, for example, in a
community sport association or a sport club. That area is important.
In some sports, equipment is an important factor. A basketball player needs
running shoes, a uniform and a basketball. In wheelchair basketball, the
technology is such that athletes require a particular type of wheelchair to
participate in that sport. Providing more access for persons with a disability
to sport wheelchairs, and they are different for each sport as well, is another
important component. I know the Canadian Paralympic Committee is trying to
provide that access in dealing with their provincial counterparts.
Mr. Boileau: Specific sports science and medicine is also something
that has been looked at more and more. Mr. Paquette wants to add something as
Mr. Paquette: I can keep going if you wish and provide more
information. That information is based on the data we have from 2006. The
question was regarding leisure activities and what barriers prevented people
with disabilities from participating.
We are looking at children specifically. The number one barrier, 40 per cent,
was their condition. That was an issue. The second one was that participation is
too expensive, and that is leisure, not only sports, so that barrier is broader,
followed by needs some assistance. The barrier of costs was30 per cent and the
barrier of needing assistance was 14 per cent. Then transportation service
inadequate was at 13 per cent; and no facilities or program available in the
community was at 10 per cent. Facilities, equipment or program not accessible is
only 5.8 per cent.
Obviously, a lot of progress was made because that barrier does not seem to
be a major barrier compared to others. Finally, needed specialized equipment not
available is at 3.9 per cent, but that is leisure. It includes a lot of
activities, including sport.
Senator Andreychuk: You now take that database into account in your
policies. How have you shifted with that information?
Mr. Paquette: When we say that participation is too expensive, for
example, the fitness tax credit can help. The incentive provides a tax credit of
up to $500 for children to participate in physical activities. That type of
support is available to address that issue.
Some of the other elements are more difficult. They depend on the community.
For example, transportation is more at the provincial and municipal level in
that context. Some of the elements are more difficult for us to act upon.
Senator Kochhar: Let us say that a young fellow wants to participate
in wheelchair racing. Wheelchairs cost $15,000 plus. Where can he acquire that
kind of money to participate in a sport like wheelchair racing?
Mr. Boileau: I do not know about wheelchair racing. However, I will
follow up on that question. Hockey Canada, for example, has provided 100 sledges
for sledge hockey in different parts of the country. They provided them to help
people who want to practice this sport. Providing the sledges is also used as a
communication tool because they understand the challenges that sledge hockey
players face. I know the example of sledge hockey, but I do not have any
specific information on wheelchair racing. However, I can try to get back to the
committee on that question.
Senator Kochhar: Thank you.
Senator Andreychuk: Not at the broad-based level but at the Paralympic
level, when the Olympics were on, there was a debate that some athletes who were
designated for the Paralympics felt that they were qualified to compete in the
Having been involved in the 1960s and 1970s when we said we did not want to
separate those with disabilities, we wanted to integrate them into society, is
that integration movement taking hold at the level of the Olympics, or was it
only a few athletes who, because of their particular disabilities, felt that
they were able to compete in the Olympics?
Mr. Smith: There was Brian McKeever, the cross-country ski athlete,
who qualified for the Olympic team. However, there are only so many events. In
the particular event for which he might have been included, the team made a
decision to put in a different athlete. However, Brian McKeever qualified for
the team, was recognized as part of the Olympic team and might have competed
under other circumstances. He then went on to participate in the Paralympic
games as well.
There are a few examples like that one. There was some debate and a lot of
media coverage about the South African athlete, the sprinter, who used an
artificial leg. There was much discussion about whether he should be allowed to
compete. In the end, the International Olympic Committee and the International
Amateur Athletics Federation decided that he did not meet the criteria, with
that prosthetic device in particular, to be able to compete.
I think there are times when athletes can demonstrate that they are able to
compete. Swimming might be another sport where an athlete with a particular
disability may be able to qualify. In cases like that, I think the system is
much more open to it than it may have been in the past. That issue is different
from whether sport for athletes with a disability should be on the calendar of
the Olympic Games, for example. They are on the calendar for the Commonwealth
Games. At present, those sports are exhibition sports when it comes to the
Olympic Games, for example, the 800-metre wheelchair race.
In Canada, we have the Canada Games where those sports are full medal sports.
Wheelchair basketball is taking place right now at the Canada Winter Games in
Halifax. That event counts toward the flag points for each of the provincial
teams. I know there is wheelchair athletics racing in the Summer Olympic Games
and also swimming. There is also an event for Special Olympics athletes in the
summer games for swimming, too.
Senator Andreychuk: My conclusion is that there is some debate amongst
the organizations and the athletes themselves as to what direction they want to
go. That debate is not finished; it is ongoing.
Mr. Smith: That would be a good characterization, yes.
Senator Kochhar: Much depends on the international body and whether
they will allow this integration. It does not depend upon the country.
Representatives from Canada on the international body can give ideas about what
must be done, but it is the decision of the international body to regulate and
allow what can and cannot be done on these sports levels; am I right?
Mr. Boileau: Yes, that is correct.
Senator Hubley: I believe there is a young athlete participating in
the Halifax Canada Games who is deaf but is competing with one of the hockey
teams. The story was an interesting one. Thank you.
The Chair: Are there any other questions, senators?
If not, then thank you.
Mr. Paquette: I want to answer one of your questions about the
preparation of the report for the convention. We will engage the community in
the preparation of the report. I wish to confirm that engagement.
The Chair: Does the community know that already?
Mr. Paquette: I suspect so. If they do not know, I will tell them. I
am meeting with some members on Wednesday. I will make sure that they know at
The Chair: Great; thank you.
(The committee adjourned.)