The Values Proposition: Strengthening Sport in CanadaSymposium Report
INTRODUCTION | VALUES-BASED SPORT: BY DESIGN NOT BY CHANCE
On October 15-16, 2018 the Public Policy Forum (PPF) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) brought together a diverse group of delegates from sport, academia, government and the corporate sector for a symposium to discuss the integration of a values-first approach to sport at all levels. The program for the one-and-a-half-day symposium, as well as a list of the participants, can be found in Appendix A.
The symposium was the culmination of a series of five roundtables that PPF and CCES organized across Canada in spring 2018 to explore the actions and policies required to ensure that values-based sport is both intentional and a fundamental part of the Canadian sport system, from the playground to the podium. A summary report of the five roundtable discussions, The Values Proposition: Building a Stronger Canada through Values-based Sport, was released in July 2018.
Through passionate debate and insightful conversation, those involved in the symposium — from the Minister of Sport to grassroots sport organization volunteers — envisioned a Canadian sport system for the next generation that is consistently true to sport’s core values, and actively stewarded by those same values, to address problems such as doping, bullying and harassment. With the understanding that current examples of values-based sport occurred largely by chance, this event served as a platform for the sport community to reinforce the values, to commit to a game plan, and to develop an accountability mechanism for the future.
Values-based sport is strongly grounded in the framework of the Canadian Sport Policy 2012. This report goes much further and identifies game plans for the key stakeholders involved in sport in Canada — from policy-makers to participants and everyone in between — to take concrete actions to make values-based sport the foundation of their policies and practices. We also highlight some of the stories we heard at the symposium of people or organizations that are already making values-based sport a central part of their actions to illustrate how it can be done.
We hope that those within the sport community, as well as those using sport as a tool for social development, will draw on this report as a valuable tool-kit to help transform Canada into a truly values-based sport nation.
‘Begin locally, work collaboratively and be impatient. Never doubt the importance of what you are doing through these acts.’
David Johnston, former Governor General of Canada
WHAT IS VALUES-BASED SPORT?
As we strive to make Canada a values-based sport nation, we first need to be clear about what values-based sport means. For the purposes of the discussions at the symposium, we focused on the four values that Canadians identified through public consultation more than a decade ago as essential to the Canadian sport system: fairness, excellence, inclusion and fun. To ensure all Canadians experience the full range of mental, social and physical health benefits of participating in sport, these values are conveyed through a set of principles. The True Sport Principles form the foundation for values-based sport: Go For It, Play Fair, Respect Others, Keep It Fun, Stay Healthy, Include Everyone and Give Back. To create a positive sport experience, all the principles must be present and in the right balance to ensure that no single principle becomes so powerful that it pushes others out of the sport experience.
So values-based sport is sport where the policies, programs and practices in sport are constantly and consistently driven by the seven True Sport Principles.
WHY IS VALUES-BASED SPORT IMPORTANT?
At the symposium, Paul Melia, President and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, identified major threats to the integrity of Canadian sport, including:
- intentional, systematic doping in sport;
- harassment and abuse (both reported and unreported instances);
- poor parental behaviour;
- weak sport governance;
- high prevalence of violence and potential for injuries, including concussions;
- leakage of bad values from professional leagues;
- lack of accessibility to programs, equipment and opportunities; and
- match manipulation orchestrated by organized crime or other influencers.
We need values-based sport to address and prevent these unethical issues from undermining the integrity of sport. By entrenching values-based sport all across Canada, we can also improve the sport experience of those involved in sport, encourage more people to take up sport and thereby increase participation and retention rates. Values-based sport will, by design, have a positive impact. It will instill character in our children, strengthen our communities, and increase our opportunities for excellence.