TORONTO – AthletesCAN is excited to officially publish its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. Formally approved by AthletesCAN board in late 2020, the plan outlines a bold and transformative pathway for the organization over the next four years.
The strategy was developed in partnership with Deloitte Canada’s Community Advisory Program (“CAP”). As part of the process Deloitte CAP volunteers conducted extensive consultation with the athlete community and Canadian and international sport system stakeholders. More than 300 athletes from 71 sports participated in an athlete survey, and 16 stakeholder interviews were conducted during the process, which was overseen by a committee that included representatives from AthletesCAN board and staff.
The document sets out a high-level framework which will guide the organization’s direction over the coming four years, including core areas of strategic focus, long-term objectives, and key factors for successful execution.
“Over the last few years, Canadian athletes have started to use their voices and platforms to surface issues affecting them and their communities,” said AthletesCAN President, Pierre-Luc Laliberté. “Our new strategy will aim at amplifying those voices to promote positive change. There is still a lot of work to do to make sure all voices are heard across the Canadian sport system, but AthletesCAN will aim to help remediate that by listening to athletes, celebrating successes as well as surfacing issues and potential solutions.”
“The athlete community is the foundation of our organization and of Sport in Canada,” said AthletesCAN Manager, Athlete Relations and Operations, Georgina Truman. “We all want to see the sport system improve, and the starting point for that is a thriving, engaged and connected athlete community. There is a collective opportunity to do more to increase our relevance and deliver value for our membership in this regard.”
Supporting and complimenting this athlete-centred approach will be investments in three areas of strategic focus – awareness, insights, and activation.
AthletesCAN will dedicate significant resources to improving its awareness among Canada’s national team athletes across Canada. A full review of our membership will provide key information on the gaps in the athlete voice and to ensure ongoing progress. An approach focused on transparency will build trust in the organization as we strengthen our membership engagement models. In addition to national team athlete awareness, we will work to deepen and improve collaboration with key system stakeholders through consistent dialogue, facilitating engagement, and providing value added opportunities.
The organization’s focus will center on developing a robust, transparent, and credible system for capturing the collective voice of all Canadian athletes. Through formalized processes and procedures, AthletesCAN will collect the athlete perspectives to assess short and long-term system needs and identify key topics and focus areas. This work will center on data governance excellence, including clear data management policies and standards.
In collaboration with athletes and system stakeholders, AthletesCAN will work to develop and sustain impactful change initiatives guided by data-driven athlete insights. Following activation, AthletesCAN will communicate, monitor, and report the success of this change across the sport system from an athlete perspective. This is envisioned as recurring reports, and leveraging new technologies to provide a central area where athletes and sport system stakeholders can access athlete insights on key topics and change initiatives.
Finally, the organization will continue its commitment to organizational excellence. Those elements contributing to this priority include strong governance and reporting processes, financial risk management practices, staff and volunteer management and support, a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and ability for members to access information in both languages.
Critical to success in executing the plan will be the engagement of our Nations national team athlete and stakeholders, particularly as it relates to several new strategic initiatives designed specifically to improve awareness, insight generation, and activating key change initiatives. The need for a more focused and unified approach to building an athlete-centred sport system was one of the key themes that emerged throughout all phases of the project.
“We’d like to thank all athletes, national and multisport organizations, international affiliates, volunteers and other stakeholders who contributed to the development of this plan,” said Truman. “And a special thank you to our Strategic Planning Committee led by Pierre-Luc Laliberté and the Deloitte Community Advisory Program team for all their hard work, vision and leadership in bringing this initiative to fruition.”
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 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.