PHYSICAL AND HEALTH EDUCATION CANADA LAUNCHES $2M SCHOOL SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GRANT PROGRAM

OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 6, 2022 /CNW/ - Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) is proud to announce funding from Sport Canada to increase the physical activity of K-12 students across Canada through the Access to Action Granting Program. As the only school-based program funded through the COVID recovery fund (Community Sport for All Initiative), Access to Action is uniquely positioned to reach more than 500 schools, and countless students this school year.

It has been reported that throughout the pandemic, average physical activity levels decreased by two hours per week between 2018 and 2020. Furthermore, the percentage of young people meeting the Canadian physical activity recommendation for children and youth dropped from 50.8% in the fall of 2018 to 37.2% in the fall of 2020 (Stats Can, 2022). The past three school years have reinforced the need for better health and physical education support for all students, and highlighted the disparities that equity-deserving students (including Indigenous, Black, students with disabilities, LGBTQ2IA+, Newcomers) face when accessing sport and physical activity opportunities. Access to Action aims to close the gaps among students, educators and community members by providing grants between $500 and $20,000 to schools to create and support new sport and physical activity opportunities before, during and after school hours. Grants will enable schools to create meaningful relationships with community organizations to support engaging, and re-engaging, equity-deserving youth in physical activity and sport.

"Today's announcement reinforces our commitment to building stronger and healthier communities. Sport plays an important role in building self-esteem and leadership skills, which allow people to grow and thrive physically, emotionally and socially. It should be accessible to everyone and become the basis for our children, who all deserve the opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity." The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

"Schools are the best way to reach the vast majority of young people in Canada. The last three years have highlighted the inequities in physical activity opportunities among youth, especially in Canada's diverse climate. For instance, newcomer students may not have had the opportunity to be active in cold-weather months, or communities who are recovering from traumatic events may not have the resources required to facilitate meaningful and restorative physical experiences" says Melanie Davis, Executive Director of PHE Canada, "Access to Action will meet young people where they are at - school - and expand school based physical activity options to what is relevant and meaningful to them.  It will build capacity by connecting the local sports community and the schools and reduce barriers to engagement by alleviating registration costs, equipment shortages, and transportation.  With a grant this size, PHE Canada is able to support thousands of students across the country and set them on a journey towards a healthy, active life".

Canada is vibrant and diverse with innumerable opportunities for sport and physical activity in and outdoors. Despite this, many students face barriers to participation. By supporting educators and schools, Access to Action will be able to reach a large proportion of equity-deserving youth and begin to open doors to relevant and affirming physical activities which will lead to better physical, social and mental health, both short and long-term.

With funding being distributed as early as November and on a rolling basis throughout the fall and winter, schools, school boards and school divisions are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to ensure students feel the benefits throughout this school year. Applications are now open on PHE Canada's website (phecanada.ca/accesstoaction).

About Physical and Health Education Canada (PHE Canada)

PHE Canada champions healthy, active kids by promoting and advancing quality health and physical education opportunities and healthy learning environments. Supporting community champions with quality programs, professional development services, and community activation initiatives, PHE Canada inspires all to live healthy, physically active lives. Find out more at www.phecanada.ca.

SOURCE Physical and Health Education Canada

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