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Increasing Physical Activity For Children, Youth

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Sport, Physical Activity, and Recreation, at their annual meeting today, agreed to take specific key measures to increase physical activity levels for children and youth. They also agreed to provide funding for Aboriginal athletes' travel to future North American Indigenous Games (NAIG).

In addition, they reaffirmed their support for the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and expressed their gratitude to Larry Smith for his accomplishments over the past eight years as the Chair of the Canada Games Council (CGC) Board of Directors.

Ministers affirmed their commitment to work together to meet the pan-Canadian physical activity targets that they established in 2008.1 As part of this, they agreed on a joint policy statement aimed at enhancing collaboration to increase physical activity among children and youth. In addition, Ministers committed to:

* engage Ministers of Health and Ministers of Education to work with them to improve the health, well-being and quality of life of Canada's children and youth by increasing their physical activity;

* endorse the after-school time period as an opportunity for government policy and program efforts targeting children and youth physical activity in partnership with non-government stakeholders; and

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* support collaborative action across governments, including the alignment of social marketing efforts through common themes and messages, to help promote physical activity.

Ministers also directed their officials to explore potential opportunities for joint government action to increase physical activity levels of adults and to report back with options.

Ministers highlighted the importance of the NAIG in the advancement and development of Aboriginal sport and athletes. Based on an initial agreement in 2008, Ministers approved a funding framework for travel for future NAIG events. The framework, comprising minimum standards for athlete preparation and team selection, will promote Aboriginal sport development and contribute to a higher quality experience for provincial and territorial Aboriginal participants. The next NAIG will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from July 8 to 17, 2011.

Ministers reaffirmed their support to the CAC in approving the revised Mandate Agreement of the Association, originally endorsed in 2005. Ministers applauded the work of the CAC, which is recognized as a world leader in coach training and certification. Since 1974, more than one million coaches have participated in the CAC's National Coaching Certification Program, making it one of Canada's largest adult education programs. This successful program provides Canadian coaches with essential skills to enhance experiences for all Canadian athletes and strengthen sport from the playground to the podium.

Ministers expressed their continued support to the Canada Games and the Canada Games Council and underscored the importance of these Games to the development of Canadian

athletes, as the Canada Games provide athletes with valuable training and competition experience, as well as an opportunity to achieve their goal of becoming future Olympians and Paralympians. Ministers congratulated Tom Quinn and Piers Macdonald on their appointment as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Council and wished them success in their new positions.

P/T Ministers recognized that the Government of Canada's Recreation Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan in Budget 2009 was an excellent contribution towards sport and recreation infrastructure funding; they would welcome a dedicated infrastructure program for sport and recreation facilities. Sport and recreation are fundamental to the health, social and economic well-being of Canadians.