Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Canadian Sports

Canadians have a unique opportunity to promote diversity & inclusion within their local sports teams & organizations. Learn how Athletics Canada & ESPN are leading the way.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Canadian Sports

Canadians have a unique opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion within their local sports teams and organizations. To achieve this, consideration should be given to offering specific professional opportunities for diverse groups, conducting a GBA PLUS review of all elements of human resources processes, and allowing functions to overlap between functions to allow for more experience, secondments and tasks to prepare employees to succeed and advance their careers. Athletics Canada has stated that it is likely the most inclusive sport in Canada in terms of racialized participation. However, they have also acknowledged that their board of directors should better represent the aspect of sport on the field of play.

To this end, they have co-developed a strategy with employees at all levels of the organization to help build an equitable, inclusive and safe workplace. The increasing number of mergers and acquisitions in the sports industry is another factor to consider. These often involve global companies, which can lead to employees working with and for people from diverse backgrounds. Last March, an example of this was seen when UBC-Okanagan named their first head coach from the Canadian university level.

ESPN is another organization that is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion. They seek to recruit, hire, develop and retain talented individuals who represent the organization's diverse group of fans worldwide. External stakeholders, such as customers and potential employees, have also expressed the importance of diversity. To further this mission, a coalition of sports leaders has been formed to manage a program that seeks to end LGBTQI2S+ prejudice in sports by educating and promoting the inclusion of LGBTQI2S+ people in Canadian sports.

This coalition was diverse in terms of age, region, level of work, length of service, occupational group, capacity, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation. The website offers resources and tools for all sports leaders to take advantage of. Many companies and organizations have been forced to recognize the lack of diversity among senior managers and address systemic racism in the way they conduct their businesses internally and externally. A visual audit conducted by CBC Sports examined hundreds of key positions in the 56 Canadian universities that compete under the umbrella of the national governing body U Sports. These changes relate to the shift towards a more service-based economy in sports (Cunningham, 201), which implies a more direct interaction between employees and customers. Despite legal mandates, sports organizations that lack a diverse workforce often face ethical challenges, especially at a higher level (i.

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