Canada's New Government Announces the Creation of Podium Canada

The Honourable Michael Chong, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Minister for Sport; the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC); the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC); and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) today announced the creation of Podium Canada. This initiative will support Canada’s national sport organizations (NSOs) in their goal to increase medal counts by Canadian athletes at Olympic and Paralympic Summer and Winter Games.

Podium Canada is a partnership between the major national funding partners for high performance sport in Canada: Sport Canada, the COC, the CPC, and VANOC. Podium Canada’s role, as an advisory body, will be to make funding recommendations to the national funding partners based on expert analysis and to help NSOs implement their technical programs. Finally, Podium Canada will monitor NSOs’ implementation of their high performance programs to ensure maximum performance results.

“Canada’s New Government is pleased to support this innovative partnership model that will bring together the key partners involved in promoting sport excellence in Canada,” said Minister Chong. “This partnership between the major funding partners of Canadian high performance sport, including provincial and territorial governments and corporate Canada, demonstrates our collective commitment to reach common performance targets for Canadian high performance athletes.”

Podium Canada will assume the roles and responsibilities of the Canadian Sport Review Panel, which currently makes recommendations to national funding partners on the amount and priority areas for the allocation of funding for Canadian NSOs’ high performance programs.

Podium Canada will encompass the Own the Podium 2010 initiative for Olympic and Paralympic winter sports, as well as Road to Excellence, an initiative for Olympic and Paralympic summer sports.

“The development of Podium Canada is the next logical step in the advancement of our goal to create a more efficient and effective Canadian sport system,” said Chris Rudge, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “With Own The Podium 2010 and Road to Excellence partnering under the same umbrella, we are laying the foundation for a strong high performance sport system that will provide funding recommendations and unparalleled technical expertise to support Canada’s athletes and coaches as they strive for the podium. The creation of Podium Canada also allows us to use Own The Podium 2010 and Road To Excellence resources in a mutually supportive manner to avoid redundancies and bring the best knowledge base to all sports.”

Dr. Roger Jackson, 1964 Olympic medalist in rowing, has been named CEO of Podium Canada. He will also lead the Own the Podium 2010 winter sport stream. Alex Baumann, 1984 Olympic medalist in swimming, will lead the Road to Excellence summer sport stream.

“The Canadian Paralympic Committee is proud to be a funding partner of Podium Canada,” said Brian MacPherson, chief operating officer of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Podium Canada represents a new way of doing the business of high performance sport. Pooled resources, expert based decision making, and targeted sport funding are just a few of the defining characteristics of Podium Canada that will ensure podium success at Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Podium Canada is an advisory committee and will not make binding funding decisions. It will make recommendations to the funding partners on close to $40 million in existing funding from government and non-government sources to support winter and summer sport excellence in Olympic and Paralympic sports. Sport Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee will provide administrative support.

“As a proud partner of Own the Podium 2010, VANOC will continue to work with our sport and government partners to ensure unprecedented success for Canadian winter athletes in 2010,” said Cathy Priestner Allinger, VANOC’s executive vice president for sport, Paralympic Games, and venue management. “Under Dr. Roger Jackson’s leadership, Podium Canada will serve as an effective sport delivery model for all Canadian sports leading up to the 2010 Games and long after them.”

The Government of Canada is the single largest investor in Canada’s sport system. More than $140 million is provided annually for initiatives to support our high performance athletes and to promote sport excellence and participation among Canadians.