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Leading with Pride at the Canada Games

6/8/20

by: Canada Games Council

Leading with Pride at the Canada Games

The power of sport has the capability to bring people together and create a sense of belonging and inclusivity, and that’s exactly the atmosphere we strive to create at each Canada Games. The 2021 Canada Games Host Society, as well as the Canada Games Council, recognize inclusion as a core value to their organizations and are actively taking steps toward the goal of making the Games a more inclusive place. Although there is still progress to be made, the Canada Games Council and its Host Societies continue to create policies and plans in an effort to ensure the Games are a welcoming environment for all athletes and stakeholders regardless of their sexual orientation. Here’s how we’re taking action: 

Education

The Canada Games Council recognizes that education is a crucial step on the road to inclusion, and are committed to educating all of their Canada Games stakeholders including their Board, staff, Host Societies, and Provincial/Territorial teams.

In a 2011 survey report from Egale Canada, 29% of Canadian high school students identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans, two-spirit or questioning. Since 2017, the CGC has taken several concrete steps to educate, promote and provide programming for internal and external stakeholders who identify as members of the LGBTQI2S community. Education has taken the form of webinars, documents and in-person workshops. Specifically, the CGC staff have taken the Respect in the Workplace training offered through the Respect Group and the Leading the Way – LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport workshop offered by the Canadian Women & Sport. Plans are also in motion to include education on LGBTQI2S inclusion for Host Societies and Provincial/Territorial teams. 

Gender Inclusion Policy

The CGC recognizes that sex and gender are not the same thing, and that individuals are born with different combinations of sex and gender as part of their identity. In advance of the 2019 Canada Games, they created the Gender Inclusion Policy that aims to set the conditions by which the CGC and its Host Societies will create a safe and welcoming environment for transgender or intersex participants at the Canada Games. This policy allows for individuals to participate in Canada Games sports, disciplines and events in the gender they identify with. More information around the policy and the impact on Canada Games athletes can be found in this CBC article.

Proud Alumni

The CGC and the 2021 Canada Games Host Society are thankful for alumni such as David Thibodeau, who competed in Swimming for Team New Brunswick at the 2013 Canada Games, for guiding us in the right direction. David is a You Can Play Ambassador who has been a wealth of knowledge for both organizations on inclusion. We’re grateful for his input and advice, and you can read more about his Games experience and his perspective on the importance of inclusivity later this month.

The CCG works closely with its Host Society partners around inclusion planning and the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., were a great example of that work in action. The 2019 Canada Games Host Society planned and implemented LGBTQI2S programming at the Games where they partnered with the Central Alberta Pride Society to offer two Pride Days with the goal of educating and entertaining the public and Canada Games participants. The Pride Days were a success, and the CGC plans on working with future Host Society partners on their own Pride Days at upcoming Games so that we can continue to further educate and promote inclusivity within the sporting community. 

Promotion

As important as it is to create policies and programming around inclusion, we need to actively promote that inclusivity within the Games environment so that all athletes and stakeholders, regardless of their sexual orientation, feel welcomed. One of the ways the 2019 Canada Games Host Society accomplished this was through the use of Canada Games inclusion posters that were inspired by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s signage at Canada House during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. These posters were designed and distributed across the 2019 Canada Games Athlete Village and competition venues. 

We’re excited to continue working with our partners and alumni and create a Canada Games environment where everyone feels welcomed and accepted!

Canada Games Pride Poster

Pride at the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games

To continue this positive momentum, Niagara 2021 has taken significant steps forward in the planning and delivery of an inclusive and welcoming Games. Working with several community partners that include Pride Niagara, PFLAG, Niagara Falls Community Health Centre, SAFTI (Social Activities for Transgender Individuals), OUTNiagara, QUEST Community Health Centre, Positive Living Niagara, Transgender Niagara, You Can Play, Egale, Brock University and Niagara College, the 2021 Canada Games Host Society is developing policies and initiatives to ensure all athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators are welcome and supported at the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games.

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