Athlete Assistance

At Ontario Para Network we understand that funding can be a challenge and a major barrier for athletes with a disability. Not only can specialized sport equipment be expensive, but so can the cost of equipment maintenance, tools, registration fees, as well as transportation to/from practices, competitions, clinics, etc. that are held all over the province due to the nature of parasport and the fewer number of programs, clubs, and athletes compared to able-bodied sport.

Luckily, there are a number of funding sources available for amateur athletes, coaches, and clubs/programs to access in order to help reduce some of these financial barriers.


Team Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund

In keeping with their commitment to amateur sport in Canada, Investors Group established an Amateur Athlete Bursary Fund for Canada’s top amateur athletes in 2000.

Working in partnership with AthletesCAN, the Fund awards twenty bursaries of $5,000 to Canadian amateur athletes each year. The bursary selection committee is made up of active and retired national team athletes and officials from AthletesCAN.

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS)

Women in Sport Encouragement (WISE) Fund

The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) both recognizes the achievements of girls and women, as well as provides grant opportunities.

The Women in Sport Encouragement (WISE) Fund was created to support women leaders’ development and organizations that are currently offering or creating diverse opportunities and programming, along with positive experiences for girls and women in sport and physical activity building on Canadian Sport for Life. Ten recipients will receive a grant of $1,000 each to support professional development or programming.

Canadian Paralympic Committee

Sport Development Fund

The Paralympic Sport Development Fund (formerly the System Development Fund) targets sport initiatives helping develop athletes, from playground to podium.

Funding amounts of between $5,000 and $15,000 will be available.

Through the Paralympic Sport Development Fund, the Canadian Paralympic Committee invests in sport development programming including recruitment initiatives, coaching, equipment, competition and more. Funds can be used to support the creation of a new program or go towards the expansion of an existing successful initiative.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart / Canadian Paralympic Committee

Parasport Jumpstart Fund

The Parasport Jumpstart Fund was created by Canadian Tire Jumpstart and Canadian Paralympic Committee to help get more kids across Canada involved in sport. The fund helps to support the costs of sports and recreational programs for children between the ages of four and 18, who are financially disadvantaged and living with a disability. Funds may be used towards registration, transportation, and equipment costs for children within approved parasport programs.

Challenged Athletes Foundation

Access for Athletes Grant Program

It is the mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges, so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.

Access for Athletes is committed to helping athletes overcome financial impediments by providing funding grants for individuals for equipment, training, coaching and competition costs.

Coaches Association of Ontario (CAO)

Quest for Gold Coach Bursary

The Quest for Gold Program provides education-based subsidies for competitive to high-performance coaches, including those at the high school, university and club level. It is administered through the Coaches Association of Ontario. The program aims to ensure that Ontario’s developmental and high-performance athletes receive the best coaching possible, by providing a series of enhancement programs and resources for coaches and Provincial Sport Organizations.

Up to a maximum of $300 per individual in the fiscal year (April 1 – March 31) will be available to cover up to 60% of course registration fees (workshop training) and up to 70% for completion of certification process (portfolio + evaluation).

Dairy Farmers of Canada

Champions Fund

The Champions Fund was created by Dairy Farmers of Canada to empower the female athletic community, to provide a resource that can help change the game for Canada’s young girls and women athletes.

In 2017, the Champions Fund will award $5,000 grants to 30 deserving female athletes, teams, or organizations, providing the financial support needed to pursue their athletic goals.

GoodLife Kids Foundation Grant

The GoodLife Kids Foundation Grant Program accepts requests for funding to support ongoing physical activity programs for children with special needs – primarily physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Grants are available only to Registered Charities or Qualified Donees for programs being offered in Canada with requests of up to $10,000 being considered.

KidSport Ontario Grant

A KidSport Grant provides under-serviced kids, ages 18 years and under, with financial support to play the sport of their choice through a local organized sport club/program. A KidSport Grant covers up to a maximum of $500 per child each calendar year and can be requested for registration and/or equipment costs. Applications are administered by KidSport Ontario and are reviewed through a confidential application process.

Petro-Canada Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence (FACE)™ Program

Since 1988, Petro-Canada has supported over 2,700 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. Petro-Canada’s FACETM Program supports up-and-coming athletes when they need it most – when they are striving to represent Canada at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, but don’t yet qualify for government funding.

Every year, Petro-Canada selects 50 promising athletes from across Canada. These athletes and their coaches are awarded a $10,000 FACE grant to help them along their journey, with $5,000 going directly to the athlete and $5,000 to their coach.

FACE grants are often used for expenses related to training, equipment, coach education, and/or travel for competitions.

‘Quest for Gold’ Ontario Athlete Assistance Program (OAAP)

The Quest for Gold Program was established to provide additional support to athletes from Ontario and to increase the performance and number of Ontario athletes competing at the highest national and international levels, thereby contributing to the improved performance of Canada at international competitions.

The program is funded from net revenues generated by the Quest for Gold lottery, created by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). It is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport and administered by each sport’s Provincial Sport/Multi-Sport Organization (ie. Ontario Para Network for wheelchair athletics, basketball, rugby, and tennis).

Wheelchair Basketball Canada

Special Project Funding

Wheelchair Basketball Canada is committed to providing ample opportunities and support for all clubs and Provincial Sport Organizations across Canada. In an attempt to provide leadership and resources to increase measurable growth in the participation base, as well as develop opportunities that will encourage appropriate and relevant participation and competition, the organization dedicates financial resources for Special Project Funding that can be applied for annually.

Additional Funding Opportunities

In the past, some of our athletes have used the following resources when looking to purchase their own equipment or fund their training:

  • Local service organizations such as: Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Optimist Clubs, Kinsmen Clubs, etc.
  • Crowdfunding campaign such as GoFundMeMAKEACHAMPDreamFuel, and PursuIt
  • Individual or community-run fundraising events.

Athletes in need of sport equipment can also contact the Ontario Para Network and make use of our Wheelchair Loans Program. For a low monthly fee, ON PARA members can rent a sport wheelchair from us in order to try out a new sport or continue playing the sport they love! We want to make sure that the cost of equipment is never a barrier to participation in our sports.