AthletesCAN celebrates 46th Canadian Sport Awards with first in-person recognition ceremony since 2019

VANCOUVER – Field hockey Olympian and film director Phyllis Ellis, road cyclist Michael Woods, the Canadian Soccer Players Association (CSPA) leadership, CAN Fund founder Jane Roos and journalist Sean Fitz-Gerald were honoured Friday night, as AthletesCAN – the association of Canada’s national team athletes – celebrated the 46th Canadian Sport Awards.

Ellis was honoured with the AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award and Woods took home the True Sport Award, while the CSPA’s leadership consisting of Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, Sophie Schmidt and Quinn were recognized with the #AthleteVoice Award as Rep of the Year, and Roos earned the Bruce Kidd Leadership Award. Finally, Fitz-Gerald won the second edition of the revived Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism Presented by the Toronto Star. Woods and the CSPA were unable to attend in person and accepted their awards virtually.

The celebration of trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives was hosted by Scott Russell of CBC Sports at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel in Richmond, B.C. and served as the kickoff to the first in-person AthletesCAN Forum weekend since 2019. The event was made possible in part by the generous contribution of Richmond Sport Hosting.

Following Forum, a national digital campaign in partnership with CBC Sports along with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees for the People’s Choice Award for Most Trending Moment of the Year will take place in December, after the conclusion of the 2023 Pan American and Parapan American Games in Santiago, Chile.


AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award: Phyllis Ellis, Field Hockey

AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award Winner / Prix Responsabilité Sociale AthlètesCAN

Phyllis Ellis directed the groundbreaking documentary Category: Woman which follows four female athletes who were forced out of competition by regulations that profile and target women athletes set by World Athletics. Her work documented the consequences to the bodies and lifestyles of these women as a result of the regulations that the, predominantly male, decision-makers set under the guise of fair play.

True Sport Award: Michael Woods, Cycling

True Sport Award Winner / Prix Sport Pur

Michael Woods became just the third ever Canadian this season to win a stage at the Tour de France, one of the most prestigious bike races in the world. Formerly an elite middle-distance runner and Canadian junior record holder in the mile, Woods’ track career stalled due to injury, and he took up competitive cycling at an age when many other cyclists are beginning to burn out. He is believed to be the only person in history to have run a sub four-minute mile and to have successfully competed in one of cycling’s Grand Tours. 

#AthleteVoice Award – Rep of the Year: Canadian Soccer Players Association

#AthleteVoice Award Winner / Prix #VoixDesAthlètes

Led by Janine Beckie, Christine Sinclair, Sophie Schmidt and Quinn, the Canadian Soccer Players Association initiated a job action against Canada Soccer during the SheBelieves Cup in February, protesting significant budget cuts to the women’s program. The team skipped practice sessions and wore purple warmups as a sign of solidarity during the tournament which serves as preparation for the World Cup. These four representatives appeared in front of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to testify about how the women’s program receives less support than the men’s team in terms of funding for training camps, provision of medical and training teams, and compensation for representing Canada on the world stage. The CSPA negotiated a 2023 interim agreement with Canada Soccer that significantly increased the national team’s base compensation over 2021 levels.

Bruce Kidd Leadership Award: Jane Roos, Canadian Athletes Now Fund

Bruce Kidd Award Winner / Prix Bruce Kidd

Jane Roos was a promising track athlete, but a car injury ended her career at the age of 19. Roos turned her attention to helping other athletes fulfil their Olympic dreams and started CAN Fund, a non-profit dedicated to helping Canadian athletes pay for coaching, training, nutrition and living expenses. Over the last 20 years, CAN Fund has raised over $50 Million for Canadian athletes, and helped support 80 per cent of the Canadian athletes who have competed at the Olympics since the Athens 2004 Games.

Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism Presented by the Toronto Star: Sean Fitz-Gerald

Randy Starkman Award Presented by the Toronto Star Winner / Prix Randy-Starkman presenté par le Toronto Star

Sean Fitz-Gerald most recently worked for seven years as a Senior National Writer at The Athletic, having been one of the company’s first hires with its Toronto bureau in 2016. As a reporter, he has covered the Olympics and Pan American Games, and is well known for finding unique human interest angles and gaining insightful responses in interview features, particularly with Canada’s national team athletes. Prior to The Athletic, Fitz-Gerald also worked as a sports reporter for the Toronto Star, National Post and The Canadian Press.

AthletesCAN launches Request for Proposals, welcomes Nicolas Rouleau as Project Manager for AthleteHUB Initiative

TORONTO – AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is launching a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the AthleteHUB Initiative, led by Project Manager Nicolas Rouleau.

Originally announced in February, the AthleteHUB online platform will serve as a centralized one-stop shop for Canadian national team athletes. It will house a wealth of information and resources that are currently available across the Canadian sport system, consolidated into a single, new space.

The Hub will include general athlete onboarding and support, safe sport and educational resources, eLearning modules, information on funding, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees along with Commonwealth Sport Canada and their respective Athletes’ Commissions/Councils, Game Plan – Canada’s Total Athlete Wellness Program, an athlete data collection tool, etc. The AthleteHUB will initially be integrated into the new AthletesCAN.ca by January 2024, with completion of a dedicated mobile app expected by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2024.

Leading its development, Project Manager Nicolas Rouleau will oversee the AthleteHUB until its successful delivery early next year and provide effective support to AthletesCAN staff, Board, members, alumni and volunteers. Prior to joining AthletesCAN, Rouleau developed an expertise in international Multisport Games through various positions at the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and more recently, as an advisor with the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC). Rouleau helped prepare Canadian delegations attending the Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games, the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games as well as two Pan American Games. In addition to supporting logistics ahead of the Games, Rouleau held key operational roles on site, mostly focusing on travel and accommodation.

"We are excited to welcome Nicolas to our team to help us create this important athlete-centric platform. The launch of our Request for Proposals for the AthleteHUB Initiative serves the ever-increasing demand to support and educate high-performance athletes in navigating the complexity of the Canadian sport system, and how to utilize its resources efficiently. The AthleteHUB will close this gap and provide direct access to athletes to the information they will need on their journey towards a successful and empowering sport experience."

Erin Wilson - AthletesCAN President

Both the Athlete Hub Initiative itself and Rouleau’s appointment as Project Manager are funded by Sport Canada.

"I am thrilled to be joining AthletesCAN as Project Manager for the AthleteHUB. The opportunity to collaborate with talented individuals and make a real impact while creating a new online platform catered specifically to athletes has me excited for the challenge ahead. I cannot wait to bring my passion and dedication to the team."

Nicolas Rouleau - AthleteHUB Project Manager

Organizations interested in submitting a bid proposal for the AthleteHUB Initiative can apply by Aug. 31, at 11:59 p.m. ET to nrouleau@athletescan.ca. Questions surrounding the RFP will be answered until Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. ET.

About AthletesCAN

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 over 6,000 current and recently retired Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN membership spans 68 sports across the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan/Parapan American, and Commonwealth Games, and those currently funded by Sport Canada competing at Senior World Championships. AthletesCAN ensures an athlete-centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture, through educational resources, support, training and professional development.  

Follow us on social @AthletesCAN and Join #TheCollective today.

For more information, please contact:

Alan Hudes
Manager, Communications and Sport Partnerships
613-526-4025 Ext. 224

New World Players Association Leadership to Intensify Efforts to Strengthen Unions and Address Power Imbalances in Global Sport

Affiliates of the World Players Association (WPA) met at FIFPRO HQ in Amsterdam late last month to elect a new Executive Committee (Ex Co) team to lead the organization through the 2023-26 period.

The WPA, which is headquartered in Nyon, Switzerland, brings together over 85,000 athletes, through 138 player associations, in over 70 countries, across 17 different sports. The 14-person Ex Co, comprising the leading representatives of athletes globally, committed to scaling up efforts to build the power of the player association movement and stop the harm arising from the power imbalances many athletes are subject to because of global sport’s governance and institutions. This includes threats to their health and safety, the exploitation of their commercial rights, and cases of widespread abuse.

The Ex Co would like to sincerely thank and acknowledge the outstanding contributions of outgoing President, Don Fehr, and Executive Director, Brendan Schwab, who are finishing their tenures with the organization after almost a decade at the helm.  Fehr and Schwab have been instrumental in laying the foundations for World Players, embedding its presence as the recognized voice for athletes among many global institutions, and making great strides to ensure the fundamental rights of athletes are embedded in global sport.

International Symposium Identifies Priorities for Protecting Athletes and Canadian Sport from Competition Manipulation

OTTAWA –  Following a two-day symposium in Toronto, experts from a variety of industries identified the need for a coordinated pan-Canadian approach to prevent competition manipulation that is bolstered by comprehensive education. The 2023 Symposium on Competition Manipulation and Gambling in Sport, co-hosted by McLaren Global Sport Solutions (MGSS) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), brought together more than 150 delegates from key sectors, including athletes, national and international sport, regulatory agencies, betting operators, academia, legal, technology, and law enforcement.

The symposium examined the issue of competition manipulation using three themes – the current landscape, Canada’s response, and the international perspective. Throughout, experts emphasized that protecting athletes and sport from competition manipulation and match-fixing will require collaboration and alignment across multiple sectors, both in Canada and internationally. 

Jacqueline Simoneau

"Competition manipulation is in its infantile stages in Canada, so there's an urgent need to provide the sport community – athletes, officials, coaches, and parents – with comprehensive education before it really takes hold. Athletes, in particular, need to be able to recognize competition manipulation, know how to report it, and understand the risks and possible sanctions."

Jacqueline Simoneau - Two-time Olympian, International Olympic Committee Believe in Sport Ambassador, Member of the Canadian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission