AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world. As the collective 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.
MISSION: Why we exist
To unite and amplify the voices of all Canadian national team athletes.
VISION: What we aspire to be
We are the collective athlete voice in the unwavering pursuit of an athlete centered sport
VALUES: What we believe in
AthletesCAN promotes and lives the following athlete focused values in our work and through our actions:
- Integrity – We lead with an honest and moral approach to everything we do.
- Transparency – We are open and vulnerable in our effort to create a better sport system.
- Inclusivity – We represent a diverse membership and support the voices of all athletes.
- Courage – We find the strength to stand up for what is right.
AthletesCAN serves an important and unique purpose in sport. Led by a committed group of current and retired national team athletes – AthletesCAN benefits from a rich history.
Over three decades ago, passionate trailblazers including three-time World Indoor Championship bronze medalist and Pan Am Champion Ann Peel (Race Walking); two-time Commonwealth Games Champion and two-time Pan Am Games silver medalist Dan Thompson (Swimming); ‘Crazy Canuck’ and Olympic bronze medalist Steve Podborski (Alpine Skiing); 1988 Olympian, Heather Clarke (Rowing); 2-time Olympic Champion Kay Worthington (Rowing); 1984 Olympian, Sandra Levy (Field Hockey); 1984 and 1988 Olympian, Shelley Steiner (Fencing), Tour de France Women’s Champion, Pan Am Games bronze medallist and 2012 and 2016 Olympic coach, Denise Kelly (Cycling); and former CEO of Freestyle Canada Bruce Robinson, came together to challenge the Canadian sport system. They identified the need for and founded an independent body, then known as the Canadian Athletes Association, that would represent ALL national team athletes as a stronger collective voice on key issues and initiatives in sport. These early days helped to build an increasingly athlete-centered sport system and provided hundreds of athletes with the opportunity to contribute in a number of important ways.
Since then, AthletesCAN has invested in athlete leadership development through effective representation and education. The organization has created resources to build and formalize athlete feedback mechanisms across the sport system. As a result of strengthening strategic partnerships both within and outside of the system, AthletesCAN has continued to pioneer innovative ways to ensure inclusive decision-making by informing, educating, and advocating for an athlete-centered sport system.