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Children's Race

Keep Alberta Moving!

Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Playbook


What is SPAR?

SPAR stands for Sport, Physical Activity, and Recreation. The SPAR sector is very diverse and represents a multitude of organizations, sub-sectors, individuals, and relationships.

What is SPAR Matters?

SPAR Matters provides the opportunity for a collective voice to represent the SPAR Sector and we are currently focused on amplifying our voice for the upcoming provincial election. 

Swimming Trainer with Students

Spar Leadership Group

History of the collaboration

The leadership group is currently represented by several organizations from varying facets of the sector and representing a variety of members and perspectives. We are looking to expand our network and if you are interested in amplifying our voice email 

Alberta Sport Leadership Association

The Alberta Sport Leadership Association is a newly formed non-profit organization that represents the nearly 90 provincial sport and multisport organizations in Alberta. Their purpose is to unite and advance Alberta’s sport sector through increasing the profile of sport by advocating the positive values and benefits; serving as the unified voice within the Alberta sport community to identify issues and seek mutually beneficial solutions; and providing overall leadership and strategic direction to the sport community.

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The Alberta Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) is a non profit organization committed to building healthier and happier communities and citizens by developing and promoting recreation and parks. Its membership represents over 90% of the population of Alberta through municipal and non-profit organizations serving Albertans through recreation and parks programming, spaces and places.


Calgary Adapted Hub powered by Jumpstart (CAH) is a collective of seven Calgary-based organizations committed to providing quality sport and recreation opportunities for children, youth, and families living with disabilities in the city of Calgary. The Hub’s goal is to maximize available programs and create bold new ones through knowledge-sharing, research, education, evaluation, and—above all else—collaboration.

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The Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association is a voluntary, nonprofit organization that has been established to coordinate a program of worthwhile athletic activities for the young people of Alberta in an educational setting. The membership, currently 373 high schools, ultimately determines the policy of the Association through representation on the provincial Board of Governors.

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Ever Active Schools is a registered national charity designed to create and support healthy school communities. They engage and support schools through a Comprehensive School Health framework, which addresses health and education goals to improve the social outcomes of children and youth in Alberta.

Fitness Alberta is a non-profit organization whose passions are standards, professionalism, and evidence informed education for personal trainers and group exercise professionals. Their certifications are recognized across Canada, North America, and internationally. Powered by the AFLCA, the organization has supported the fitness industry with certification and professional development for 40 years and enjoys a community of more than 2,000 certified exercise professionals across Alberta.

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Mount Royal’s Bachelor of Health and Physical Education (BHPE) responds to the growing need for community health and physical activity champions in Western Canada and beyond. The BHPE focuses on creating experienced and well-rounded graduates prepared to become strong health and wellness advocates in the community or pursue further education at a graduate or professional school level.

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building, creating, and educating athletes, coaches, and sport-science professionals. They are a part of many journeys through high-performance sport – from medal counts and Olympic or Paralympic podiums to overcoming injuries and pushing past personal barriers. But they want to be known for the legacy of the people they develop and the positive mark they leave in their community.

Free Play for Kids mission is to provide marginalized kids and youth with the opportunity to play in a safe, accessible, and inclusive environment at no cost to them or their families—because when kids are empowered through play, their families, their schools, and their communities are empowered as well.

Industry Background

SPAR is woven into the fabric of our communities, positively impacting the lives of all Albertans. SPAR creates memories we all cherish and provides us with sanctuary in challenging times, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, more than 82% of Albertans believe that sport contributes to an improved quality of life.
Among the many ways in which SPAR makes Alberta stronger, the sector provides a significant contribution to the province through improved health outcomes, strong economic value, and broad participation. The following highlights but a few of the ways in which SPAR makes Alberta healthier, more connected, and more prosperous.

Improved health outcomes

+ Over 2.2 million cases of health conditions were prevented in 2019 as a result of sport and physical activity participation, including over 600,000 each for Coronary Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and Depression.
+ An increase in physical activity would increase Alberta GDP by a cumulative $1.13 billion and would decrease absenteeism in Alberta by nearly 10,000 days annually by 2040.
+ A 20% increase in physical activity amongst Albertans would reduce Alberta health care spending by over $150 million annually. Increased physical activity will help Albertans live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.

Economic value

+ In 2019, 10.2 million Canadians participated in health and fitness clubs throughout the year, contributing to a total social value of $14.63 billion dollars.
+ The SPAR sector contributes as much as 2% to Alberta’s GDP and supports 88,000 jobs, more than 3.5% of total employment.
+ In addition to the numerous opportunities for careers in the sector, jobs in the SPAR sector also provide meaningful employment experiences that contribute to the career paths of many teachers, health care workers, and social service professionals.
+ In 2019, Sports Tourism in Alberta was valued at $537 million dollars.

Particpation & Volunteerism

+ It is estimated that 24% of adults and 59% of children participate directly in organized sport.
+ Sport has the highest volunteer rate and number of volunteer hours of any other organizations in the nonprofit sector.
+ Annually 13.6 million hours of volunteer time are dedicated to amateur sport in Calgary alone.

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