Multiculturalism and Federal Sport Policy in Canada


The inclusion of multiculturalism into Sport Canada and its policies is a subject that has not garnered enough attention amongst this governing body. While Canada’s Multicultural Act policy if for the most part supported by residing citizens, negative portrayals by various media sources have overshadowed these positive beliefs. Primarily, racism is an issue that has plagued the world for most of time and comes across as the false pretence that a certain individual is better than another based off their race, skin colour, religion, ethnicity, or cultural beliefs. While sports were often times viewed as a way for multicultural individuals and visible minorities to escape the harsh reality of racisms existence, this problem has now immersed itself in sport and become a major cause for concern in every level of athletics.

Statistics show that the issue regarding barriers to participation in sport is very real for visible minorities. The government has not made many significant strides in attempt to make sport more accessible to these underprivileged individuals. Moreover, discrimination has become a significant problem that has not been fully addressed by Sport Canada and various incidents of prejudice and inequality continue to arise. Sport governing bodies have not responded effectively for the need to develop multiculturalism and sport policy. Challenges that have prevented cohesion between multiculturalism and sport policy include structural divisions, complexity, a lack of data, and the lack of capacity of sports leaders to implement these types of policies. One positive example that has helped break the barrier for inclusion of immigrants into sport has been displayed by the Inclusive Recreation Model for Immigrants and Refugee Youth through the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. This organization strives to prepare youth for athletic competitions, coaching certification, parental involvement, and coalitions with various local community organizations.

It can be justified that more resources should be allocated towards developing a proper organization or governing body that’s sole purpose will be to propel multiculturalism and sport policy. Similarly, racism has brought upon a negative portrayal toward sport and stricter policies must be incorporated in attempts to help reduce the amount of incidents. After reading this chapter, two specific questions must be answered if the federal government and Sport Canada hope to achieve any future success with multiculturalism and federal sport policy in Canada. These questions are presented as follows:

In what ways can the Canadian government and Sport Canada make progressive developments to make sport accessible to visible minorities while incorporating multiculturalism and sport policy?

How can racism in sport be eliminated and has this issue contributed to the barriers to participation amongst visible minorities?

Frisby, W., Thibault, L., & Cureton, K. (2014). Multiculturalism and Federal sport policy in Canada. In I. Henry & L.M. Ko (Eds.). Routledge handbook of sport policy (pp. 106-116). NY: Routledge.

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