Federal Budget 2016 Offers Support for Sport and Recreational Infrastructure

Ottawa, Ontario (March 22, 2016)

Finance Minister Bill Morneau released his first budget, Growing the Middle Class, today and the sport, physical activity and recreation sector was the beneficiary of infrastructure support for community and recreational facilities.

The Budget sets out a plan for two phases of infrastructure spending. In Phase One (the next two years) $3.4 billion in new money has been allocated “for social infrastructure including affordable housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational infrastructure and community health care facilities on reserve.” Specifically, an amount of $150 million over the next two years will go to Regional Development Agencies on a cost-shared basis with municipalities, community organizations and non-profit entities to support projects to renovate expand and improve existing community and cultural infrastructure. No change has been proposed to existing infrastructure funds such as the Gas Tax Fund which will see funds transferred to it, on an accelerated basis, from older federal infrastructure programs. In addition, First Nations communities will see $76.9 million over two (2) years allocated to the construction of cultural and recreational infrastructure.

Phase Two will deliver on the remaining eight (8) years of the Government’s long term plan for infrastructure.

“We appreciate the funding committed in this budget to sport and recreation infrastructure. However, it is a very modest commitment given the estimated replacement costs to repair existing sport and recreation facilities in Canada is $16 billion - not including required funding for new facilities for the growing, aging and diversifying population, commented Cathy Jo Noble, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA). We look forward to continuing our dialogue with government to secure this critical investment in the future.”

In order to help with the concussion issue the Budget has earmarked $1.4 million over two years to “allow the Public Health Agency of Canada to work with provinces and territories to harmonize concussion management guidelines across Canada.”

The Budget will also see the Children’s Fitness Credit change over the next two years. In 2016 the maximum amount eligible will drop to $500 from $1,000 even though it will remain a fully
refundable credit. This credit will then be eliminated for 2017 and beyond.

“While disappointed in the message that this sends we will continue to work along with our colleagues in the sector and the government to find ways to encourage more Canadians to be more active”, stated Bob Elliott, Senior Leader of the Sport Matters Group.

In sport, there was little mention of high performance sport other than to allocate $10 million (from the Veterans budget) over the next two fiscal years to the Invictus Games which will take place in Toronto in 2017. This will consist of $4 million of reallocated funds from 2015-16 and 2016-17 as well as $6 million in new money from 2016-17.

On an overall basis the Budget calls for a deficit of $29.4 billion in 2016-17, $29 billion in 2017-18 with a decline to $14.3 billion by 2020-21.

For more detailed information on the Budget click here. (http://www.budget.gc.ca)

About Sport Matters Group

The Sport Matters Group (SMG) is a voluntary group of leaders from the sport, physical activity and recreation sector who have come together to talk about the important contribution that sport makes to society and to collaborate in advancing sport, physical activity, recreation and public policy. The SMG community includes some 85 National, Provincial, and Multisport Organizations, as well as physical activity, recreation and sport tourism organizations.

For more information, please contact: Bob Elliott, Senior Leader

Sport Matters Group
O (613) 521-9862 ext 3301
C (613) 299-5542
bob.elliott@sportmatters.ca www.sportmatters.ca