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2023 State of Sport Report Shows Rising Costs Threatening Access to Sport 

By: Jumpstart Staff

April 27, 2023

Jumpstart is dedicated to supporting youth sport in the most impactful way and has closely monitored the state of youth and community recreation in the wake of the pandemic through our annual State of Sport report. In partnership with Ipsos and our Canadian academic advisory panel, we uncovered the devastating impacts felt both by community sport and recreation organizations, and by the children and families who rely on them. 

  • In 2021, we calculated that Canadian kids had lost over 277 million hours of sport participation. Organizations were concerned about their ability to continue operating, with more than half saying permanent closure was a possibility. Parents reported seeing increased stress, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation in their children.
  • But thanks to our community of support Jumpstart was able to act quickly, creating the Sport Relief Fund. The fund was dedicated to helping community sport organizations continue operating so they could be there for the kids who count on them.
  • In 2022, the situation was still critical. Most organizations remained closed or were running reduced and modified programming, and many worried about their ability to rebuild. This meant that while the vast majority of parents felt their kids were very much looking forward to a return to play, they were finding fewer available opportunities for kids to register for sports.
  • Jumpstart was there, reinvesting in the Sport Relief Fund to ensure organizations could update technology, purchase safety equipment and train staff to continue offering programming where possible – and to simply keep the lights on if not!
  • Now, in our third and final State of Sport Report, we are seeing signs of recovery across the sector. Parents are reporting greater availability of sport programming and organizations see a shorter path back to normal operations than originally predicted.

That’s incredible news! But the crisis is far from over as another threat takes priority in the minds of many Canadian parents: rising costs.

  • 44% of parents say they cannot afford to register their children organized sports.
  • This is backed up by sports organizations, 81% of which say the costs to run youth programming have risen.

We know that access to sport matters. We know that it shapes development, boosts mental health, raises self-esteem, connects kids to communities, and builds dreams. We also know the solution to this cost crisis: investment in community sport in Canada to build a stronger, more accessible, and equitable game for all kids.

“I really want to register my children in organized sports programming especially on the weekend for their mental health and wellbeing, but I can’t due to the prices.”

- Parent/Caregiver Survey Respondent

Thank you for being part of Jumpstart’s community over the past three years. Throughout that time, you have helped us to address the continuing impacts on Canada’s kids, to support them and to help create an environment where all kids have the chance to play.

We know that you will continue to stand with us as we address the current climate by investing in community sport to provide both organizations and families with the funding, they need to cover programming, operational costs, equipment, transportation, registration fees and other expenses associated with kids’ participation in sport and recreation.

Please check out the 2023 Jumpstart State of Sport Report for full details on how rising costs are threatening kids’ ability to take part in sports, Jumpstart’s plan to address the crisis, and how you can help.

Together, we can provide much-needed opportunities for kids to realize the transformational benefits of sport and play!

2023 State of State Report