When Olympic figure skater Mirela Rahneva began to investigate the state of her national sports federation, she quickly realized that it wasn't just sled and skeleton athletes who were struggling. In response to the request of the federal, provincial and territorial governments to establish a pan-Canadian framework on physical activity, the Canadian Olympic Committee created a code that sets higher and more detailed standards for who is part of sports boards and how transparently they should operate. JD Miller, co-founder of the privately funded Olympic sports organization B2ten, participated in the creation of the sports governance code and believes that its use by all National Sports Organizations (NSOs) could drive a rapid and necessary change in the sports system. The code states that it will “establish independent, transparent and accountable governance in NSOs to “improve the performance of the board of directors and improve organizational performance”, and will provide “an objective standard against which funders and other stakeholders can be compared.” The fastest way to get all NSOs to come together would be for the federal government to require compliance to obtain funding from Sport Canada. Sport Canada provides leadership and funding to help ensure a strong Canadian sports system that allows Canadians to progress from early sports experiences to excellence in high performance.
The Canadian sports and physical activity sector is committed to facilitating the full and active participation of people with disabilities, from recreational physical activity to high-performance para-sports competition, and to contributing to social inclusion through these activities. The Universal Canadian Code of Governance for Sport (UCCMS) is the result of an extensive consultation process in which knowledge and experience of the sports system and external experts in the field were requested. Miller believes that a public report card that records and gives “light to the sun” on the performance or not of sports bodies in terms of governance would also benefit the Canadian sports system. He adds that the international sports sector, including Canadian sports, must work urgently to eliminate plastics. The opportunities for Canadian sport organizations today are vast. With a strong commitment from Sport Canada, a unified code of governance, and an emphasis on inclusion for all Canadians, sport organizations have an opportunity to make a real difference in their communities.
By embracing transparency and accountability, sport organizations can ensure that their operations are efficient and effective.