Supporting Canadian Athletes

Athlete Assistance Program (AAP)

The Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) is a national-level program that identifies and provides funding directly to athletes already at or having the potential to be in the top 16 in the world.

The AAP is the only Sport Canada initiative that provides funding directly to athletes. Funding is based on national standards, which are sport specific, in order to identify eligible athletes for financial support.

Athletes who are approved for funding and are financially supported through the AAP are referred to as CARDED ATHLETES. AAP support is referred to as CARDING.

The AAP offers three types of financial support to eligible athletes:

  • Living and training allowance;
  • Tuition and deferred tuition support; and
  • Special-needs assistance.

Living and Training Allowance

Athletes approved for the Sport Canada AAP funding are eligible for a living and training allowance. This allowance is usually paid in advance every other month. The allowance paid varies with the athlete’s carding status:

Carding Status______ __Monthly Allowance


Click here for carding criteria.

Click here for carding levels.

Tuition or Deferred Tuition

The Athlete Assistance Program tuition support is intended to help athletes obtain a minimal post-secondary level education. The following policies apply to both tuition and deferred tuition support.

Tuition Deferred Tuition
Who is eligible?
  • Carded athletes attending College, CEGEP, Apprenticing or University while meeting high-performance training and competitive requirements.
  • Athletes unable to attend post-secondary school full-time due to their involvement in sport.
What does it entail?
  • Athletes attending an eligible Canadian post-secondary institution are given vouchers to pay for their tuition.
  • This support is available for the period during which the athlete is carded.
  • The AAP automatically calculates deferred tuition credits for eligible carded athletes.
  • To defer tuition credits, carded athletes must be eligible to attend school at the post-secondary level.
  • Athletes can use available deferred tuition credits once they have retired from sport or are no longer carded, provided the credits are accessed within five years of the last day of carding support.
  • Sport Canada provides tuition vouchers to the NSO.
  • NSO completes the appropriate part of the tuition voucher and provides the voucher to eligible carded athlete.
  • Athlete completes the appropriate part of the tuition voucher and submits it to the school.
  • School completes tuition voucher and either lists the courses being taken or attaches an official school registration form with a list of courses being taken.
  • School sends the AAP an invoice along with a copy of the completed tuition voucher and a breakdown of the incidental costs.
  • Athlete submits to the AAP a current official student transcript & Deferred Tuition Form (available from NSO).
  • The AAP reviews form and determines number of deferred tuition credits eligible and monetary value of these credits.
  • Athlete submits original of payment / official registration receipt to the AAP which indicates the breakdown of the fees paid.
  • The AAP reimburses athlete directly up to monetary value for which the athlete is eligible.
  • Canadian public universities or colleges and/or other Sport Canada approved institutions.
  • Canadian public universities or colleges and/or other Sport Canada approved institutions.
  • Full-time or part-time degree, diploma, certificate programs.
  • Degree programs may be undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate or professional.
  • Any credits leading to apprenticeships in trades or a legitimate degree (based on approval by Sport Canada).
  • First undergraduate degree (if athlete has not received previous assistance for undergrad), or
  • Graduate degree if athletes wish to train Full-Time during a pre-Olympic/Paralympic year.
How much?
    • Tuition fees will be supported as outlined in these policies: however, this support is limited to a maximum of $5,500 annually.


  • 4 full-time semesters or equivalent (unless standard program length exceeds 2 years).

University undergraduate degree:

  • Normally 8 full-time semesters or equivalent.

University graduate degree:

  • Normally 4 full-time semesters or equivalent (unless the standard program length exceeds 2 years).

University post-graduate degree:

  • Normally 4 full-time semesters or equivalent (unless the standard program length exceeds 2 years).



  • The monetary value of a deferred tuition credit is established by the AAP and equals the average tuition cost of two full-time undergraduate semesters in the carding year for which the deferred tuition credit is awarded, divided by ten.
  • Athletes are allowed to defer a maximum of 10 courses (2 full-time semesters) for each year they are carded and eligible to receive tuition support, up to a maximum of 40 deferred course credits.


*Important Notes:

  • Athletes who receive Academic Awards are still eligible to receive tuition assistance unless the award is designated specifically to offset full or partial tuition fees.
  • The following incidental school costs, which may be included with tuition fees, are not supported by the AAP:
    • Medical fees, health fees, dental fees, bus passes, parking fees, interest charges, late fees, taxes (e.g. GST), textbooks, and any other fees that are optional to the student.

Special-Needs Assistance

Generally, special-needs requests are considered only from athletes for whom AAP support is their primary or major source of income or for athletes who must relocate for sport purposes.

Special-needs assistance is limited to a maximum of $5,000 annually.

This does not include local transport, supplements/vitamins, equipment/clothing/food/rent, club fees, coaching expenses, medical/dental/physio/chiro; lost time expenses (this is covered by living / training allowance).

The following expenses are eligible for special-needs assistance:

Child-Care Expenses

  • Child-care assistance is limited to a maximum of $1,000 annually.

Relocation Expenses

  • When both the NSO and the AAP have determined that a carded athlete must move to or from an approved single-sport National Team Training Centre, the AAP may assist in offsetting some of the relocation costs.
  • The AAP will support only two moves during an athlete’s career: either from home to the training centre or from the training centre to the athlete’s home.
  • Relocation assistance is generally limited to one-half of the actual transportation costs associated with relocation, to a maximum of $500 per move.

Retirement Expenses

  • Athletes who have been carded for a minimum of three years may receive some support for their adjustment to retirement through a special-needs application.


Requests are sent to the NSO. Athletes requesting special needs assistance for child-care or retirement expenses undergo an assessment of financial means:

  • A copy of Revenue Canada’s Notice of Assessment from the most recent tax year, a written statement from athlete indicating the anticipated income and expenses for the next year, and the reason for special needs assistance.
  • NSO assesses and verifies request
  • The NSO forwards its recommendation regarding the request to the AAP Manager for approval.
  • The AAP Manager approves or denies the request for assistance. If the AAP Manager determines that the athlete can adequately support the special needs for which he or she is requesting support, the request for support will not be approved.

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