Province provides relief funding for amateur sport
The B.C. government is providing $15 million for B.C.-based amateur leagues and teams competing at the provincial, national or international level to ensure athletes will continue to have access to these opportunities after the pandemic.
This dedicated relief fund will help amateur sports leagues and teams with operational costs, such as salaries, administrative costs, personal protective equipment, and the development of COVID-19 safety plans to ensure the safety of athletes and staff, explained a Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport media release.
“Funding will help ensure organizations pull through the pandemic to provide opportunities for amateur athletes and protect the jobs of people who work for the leagues and teams. The fund will be administered by viaSport focusing on leagues and teams owned and operated in B.C. that do not compensate athletes as employees, and can demonstrate at least 30% loss in revenue due to the impacts of COVID-19 and will not include college or university teams,” the media release stated.
“We have heard from hockey leagues about the pandemic being a tough opponent,” said Premier John Horgan. “This new relief fund will help them and other amateur leagues to get through these challenging times. We want sports fans to be able once again to cheer for their favourite teams on the diamond, at the local arena and on the pitch once the pandemic is over.”
“B.C.-based amateur sport organizations play a vital role in developing athletes who represent B.C. in provincial, national and international competition,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Some of these athletes have spent their whole lives working to get to this stage. This investment is another important measure our government is taking, so amateur athletes can continue to follow their dreams.”
The province has also provided $1.5 million in grants to 288 local sport organizations throughout British Columbia though the Local Sport Relief Fund. Given the demand of the first intake of the Local Sport Relief Fund, the intake for a second round was launched earlier this month, thanks to funding from the Government of Canada. Applications are being accepted until April 30, , through the viaSport website.
“During the pandemic, the absence of sport has had a profound impact on participants, athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, organizations and communities. This funding will help fill the gap and support B.C.-based amateur sports leagues and teams that have been ineligible for provincial sport relief funding to date and are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.,” said Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO, viaSport. “We are glad to partner with the B.C. government to administer these grants, recognizing the significant economic and community value of these organizations, their staff, volunteers, athletes and fans.”
The Province of B.C. has received just over $5.5 million in federal relief funding through the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Sport Organizations, including: funding allocated to support provincial, disability and multi-sport organizations, such as Field Hockey BC, BC Wheelchair Sports and Sport Med BC.
Funding was also provided to the following organizations: The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council to help offset funding pressures, including the impact of the cancellation of the 2020 North American Indigenous Games.
And the BC Seniors Games Society to help offset costs incurred from cancelling the 2020 55+ BC Games.
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