Canadians Miss Youth Sport, But Not All Plan to Return According to New Research from Canada Games

Canadians Miss Youth Sport, But Not All Plan to Return According to New Research from Canada Games

April 1, 2021
1 in 3 Canadian youth are unsure if they will return to sport after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

Ottawa, ON – The Canada Games Council (CGC), in partnership with IMI International, issued a national study on the impact of the pandemic on youth activity in sport.

More than 2,000 Canadians ages 13 and over, including 600 youth between the ages of 13-24, were asked if once COVID restrictions were lifted whether they planned to return to sport. As many as one in three youth were unsure if they would return and 20 percent of active participants answered they did not plan on returning.

Key findings from the study include:

-A majority of youth/teens describe sports restrictions during the Covid-19 Lockdown as “Sad” and  “Unfortunately Necessary”

-1 in 3 Canadian youth were unsure if they would return to sport 

-1 in 5 active Canadian youth (20 percent) say they do not intend to return to sport after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

-69% of Canadians feel that sports will be essential in getting teens/youth motivated and engaged after the COVID restrictions.

-84% of Canadian youth/teen parents believe that sport has a positive impact on their child's mental health and/or stress levels

“The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on all Canadians, but this concerning data suggests that our sport community needs to do everything we can to support the long term welfare of Canadian youth, by remaining engaged in sport,” said Dan Wilcock, President and CEO, CGC. “The benefits of sport are clear in developing the next generation of Canadians, but  many thousands of Canadian youth appear at risk of missing out on those physical and mental benefits coming out of the pandemic. As we move forward, we want to support a safe and welcoming environment that motivates Canadians to experience the positive benefits of sport.”

The Canada Games, the country’s marquee event for amateur sport, recently revealed a new brand identity reflecting its ambition to “spark greatness” in the next generation of Canadian athletes, leaders and communities.

“It is important to keep setting goals and staying active,” said Catriona Le May Doan, CGC Vice Chair. “There will be a brighter tomorrow and events like the Canada Games will be key in giving young athletes something to strive towards. Sport, team play and competition has been pivotal in my journey and really motivated me through the key adolescent years. We need to do whatever we can to spark greatness in the next generation of Canadians as they strive for excellence in sport and beyond.”

Held every two years, alternating between winter and summer, the Canada Games brings together over 2,000 able-bodied athletes and athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities for the largest amateur multi-sport event in the country. The next Summer Games take place August 6-21, 2022 in the Niagara Region. The 2023 Canada Winter Games take place on Prince Edward Island.

About the Canada Games Council

The Canada Games Council, a private, non-profit organization, is the governing body for the Canada Games. Held once every two years, alternating between winter and summer, the Canada Games represent the highest level of national competition for up and coming Canadian athletes. The Games have been hosted in every province at least once since their inception in Quebec City during Canada’s Centennial in 1967. The Games are proud of their contribution to Canada’s sport development system, in addition to their lasting legacy of sport facilities, community pride and national unity. The organization of the Canada Games is made possible through the tireless dedication of local Host Societies and the contribution and support of the federal, provincial/territorial and host municipal governments.

We would like to acknowledge that the land on which we work is the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishinabek People, whose footsteps have shaped this land since time immemorial.

Media Contact

Erin Mathany, Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Partnerships



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