Canada’s economy has seen its slowest pace of growth in 60 years, and that impact has trickled down to impact Canadian families.
Some of the hardest hit by the economic slowdown are having to make difficult decisions about their children’s organized activities. All too often, those decisions result in kids who just can’t play.
Thankfully, there are programs like The Big Play, a coordinated effort between Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and the Hockey Canada Foundation. The Big Play provides up to $500 in funding for a child to take part in hockey, with the money available for either registration fees or equipment, which is provided by Canadian Tire stores.
The program helped fund hockey fees for more than 1,600 children in 2015 and over 1,100 in 2016. The program is currently in its third year of existence and, though official numbers aren’t available, it’s likely that another 1,000 children have been able to play hockey because of the program.
Has it made a difference? You bet.
Children from ages 4-18 can qualify for the program and funding has gone to kids throughout Canada. The program is based on a first-come, first-served basis, with annual funding of $500,000. Parents who qualify for financial assistance (based on the federal low-income cut-off guidelines) can visit jumpstart.canadiantire.ca to apply for funding through The Big Play to help their child or children take to the ice.
The funding can only be used for fees associated with registered minor hockey associations through Hockey Canada.
The Big Play is just one part of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, which also has general funding for children to participate in the sport or activity of their choice, from ballet to cricket to soccer. CTJC funds more than 200,000 children each year across Canada. Since its inception, Jumpstart has helped almost 1.5 million children take part in sports across Canada.
Jumpstart works with numerous organizations and community partners, including the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Maison de la Famille. Individual Canadians and families can help support the program by making online donations or by hosting a community fundraiser.