Game ON promotes ‘world-class’ sports

Michael Coteau
Michael Coteau

With the goal of creating a “world-class sport system”, the province is launching Game ON Sports Plan to “support our athletes from the playground to the podium,” Michael Coteau announced.
The minister of tourism, culture and sport and formerly minister responsible for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Toronto, told The Camera that “Participation in sports improves health and wellness and helps to strengthen people and communities. That’s why, I am proud that we are building on the success of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games to launch Game ON, the Ontario government’s Sport Plan.
“Through this plan, we will collaborate with our sport partners to create a world-class sport system and support our athletes from the playground to the podium.”
The province is focusing on participation, development and excellence in sport, he said, and is committed to providing access and opportunities for children and students to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity, both in and outside of school.
Promoting well-being is a key goal of Achieving Excellence, Ontario’s renewed vision for education, Coteau said.
Coteau explained that Game ON targets three priority areas:
• Participation: actions that enable all Ontarians to participate in safe, organized amateur sport.
• Development: actions that help Ontario’s athletes receive the right support as their skills develop.
• Excellence: actions to help Ontario’s high-performance athletes pursue excellence by facilitating access to the latest training, programs, facilities, resources and technical experts.
Noting that Game ON builds on a strong existing foundation of sport organizations, programs and investments, it recognizes the many ways in which organized sport can be good for people and communities, from the health benefits of physical activity to the economic benefits of hosting major events.
Progress is underway on a number of initiatives, including a Minister’s Advisory Panel. The province has named prominent sport leaders and experts to that panel to help achieve priorities set out in Game ON.
In addition, the Roundtable on Women and Girls in Sport in early 2016 will gather sector leaders to explore opportunities for women and girls in sport, built around the plan’s priority areas.
The Ontario Sport Symposium in spring 2016 will see the province bring together leaders in the sport sector to highlight research, trends and issues and to plan the best ways to implement Game ON.
The sports industry contributes an estimated $2.1 billion to Ontario’s GDP annually and supports 43,730 jobs. Ontario has almost tripled support for amateur sport from $8.78 million in 2003 to more that $25 million in 2015-16, Coteau noted.