Supporting Canadian Athletes

AthletesCAN is pleased to release The Future of Athlete Agreements in Canada

(Ottawa, ON – November 24, 2015) AthletesCAN is pleased to release The Future of Athlete Agreements in Canada, a system wide evaluation of the Athlete Agreement’s efficacy in reflecting both the needs and obligations of high performance athletes and National Sport Organizations (NSOs).

To download The Future of Athlete Agreements in Canada click here.

“The goal of this project is to raise awareness of the challenges that modern Athlete Agreements create for athletes and NSOs”, says Josh Vander Vies, President of AthletesCAN. “The paper aims to begin a national conversation on tangible changes to help both NSOs and athletes better understand how to use the Athlete Agreement to improve their relationship, and in turn, performance both on and off the field of play.  After extensive research and consultation, we have established four recommendations for NSOs and athletes to implement as part of a risk management strategy which would address both capacity and financial implications of appeals, disputes and possible breaches in contract.”

After doping, team selection and carding eligibility cases, the majority of disputes in the Canadian sport system flow out of the construction or enforcement of Athlete Agreements. These contracts between athletes and NSOs, adopted systemically in Canada, govern the daily relationships and mutual obligations that directly execute sport results. Disputes related to Athlete Agreements, like any formal or informal disputes in Canadian sport, are distractions to the performance of Canada’s athletes and Canadian Sport Policy goals.

These interruptions need to be minimized to optimize interaction between athletes and their NSOs and create high performance relationships; adding value to the sport system and enhancing the athlete experience.

AthletesCAN is especially proud of this ground breaking article, and the valuable intellectual capital it enjoyed from a strong Working Group and Canadian sport leaders at the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium, the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada and Sport Canada. The article makes four main recommendations including separating commercial obligations from agreements, developing meaningful reciprocal obligations, facilitating negotiation, and annotating agreements.

“OTP applauds AthletesCAN in leading an assessment of Athlete Agreements in Canada and identifying potential areas for improvement that will strengthen the relationships amongst the high performance partners in Canada,” says Anne Merklinger, CEO of Own the Podium.

“We are excited to be part of this process that will bring consistency amongst stakeholders and stronger inclusion of our athlete’s needs,” says Catherine Gosselin-Després, Executive Director of sport for the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “As the professionalization of our sports continue to grow, it is important that we equip our system with the tools that enables athletes to work through the business of sport while not detracting them from their performance plan.”

The Future of Athlete Agreements in Canada, to be followed by additional resources for NSOs and sport system stakeholders to support the change process, aspires to promote best ever performances across a thriving Canadian sport system, through a targeted and measured modification of existing practices.

To download The Future of Athlete Agreements in Canada click here.


For more information, or additional resources please contact:

Ashley LaBrie
Executive Director


As the voice of Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture.

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