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Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to provide an update to Members on additional sport funding, provided to community governments and sport organizations, through a partnership between the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and Sport Canada.
To date, the COVID-19 emergency support funding for sport organizations has provided a total of $1.846 million for communities and sport organizations in order to:
- Adapt their programs to meet public health requirements,
- Train and prepare staff and volunteers,
- Purchase specialized equipment, and most importantly of all, and
- Continue to offer sport and recreation programming for the mental health and physical well-being of our residents.
This is an increase of $263,000 above the $1.583 million I announced last fall.
Mr. Speaker, many of our residents benefit greatly from the investments we make in sport and recreation. These additional investments, supported by the Government of Canada, are especially important for:
- our elderly residents,
- those with disabilities,
- people living in isolated communities, and
- those who cannot afford program fees.
The mental and physical benefits of participation in all types of physical activity, recreation and sport are well documented. Those benefits include:
- Improved mental health,
- Improved heart and lung capacity,
- Better sleeping patterns,
- Control over chronic diseases like diabetes,
- Reduced stress, and
- Increased self-esteem.
Sport and recreation investments are also important for leadership development by offering training for coaches and officials, developing role models, and by building administrative capacity in volunteer organizations.
Mr. Speaker, the COVID-19 emergency support funding for communities and sport organizations has already supported many activities. I would like to share a few examples with Members today:
- In Kakisa, the Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation has built a 5-kilometer trail on the south side of their community for Elders and all community members to get outside and enjoy the land. The trail is being used for walking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice fishing at the river. It also gives community members easy access to firewood to heat their homes. Families have been gathering at the river for cookouts, fishing and other cultural practices. Community members are very happy with access to the trail and for the employment opportunities its construction provided for community members.
- In Tuktoyaktuk, the Hamlet’s Recreation Department partnered with the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation, Aimayunga Woman Shelter, Jason Jacobson Youth Centre, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Student and Family Support Program on several activities including:
- A drive through healthy foods feast with over 600 meals being provided for families before Christmas, and
- Outdoor games day on January 16 as part of the Sunrise Festival with Elders story telling, a fishing derby, tug-of-war and a harpoon throwing competition.
- In Fort Good Hope, the community used their funding to support outdoor sport activities. These were well received because they:
- Allowed the participants to maintain physical distancing requirements, and
- Allowed for purchase of new equipment so that fewer people were
- In Tulita, the community used the funding to provide more programming, particularly for Elders who have been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
The COVID-19 emergency support funding for sport organizations has allowed these and many other activities to occur during a very difficult time. This latest top-up will continue this support. The ingenuity and innovation of communities and sport organizations has been simply wonderful and for that I thank them.
Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.