Martin C. Barry
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism Pablo Rodriguez and Alfred-Pellan Liberal MP Angelo Iacono have announced a contribution of $762,800 to the Laval-based Canadian Deaf Sports Association (CDSA) through the ministry’s Sport Support Program.
Rodriguez and Iacono made the announcement at the Centre Sportif Val-des-Arbres on Saint-Martin Blvd. East on May 22 on behalf of the Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan. The support is being provided over a two-year period, with half the funds distributed in 2018–2019, and the remainder in 2019–2020.
Helping deaf athletes
The CDSA is a pan-Canadian non-profit organization that aims to support the development of the practice of sport within the deaf community and among deaf youth, in order to ensure quality Canadian representation at international competitions. The organization offers opportunities for young Canadians to enjoy a competitive experience, travel and meet other athletes who share the same goals.
“Our government is proud to invest in the Canadian Deaf Sports Association, as it gives Canadian deaf and hard of hearing athletes an opportunity to participate in international sport events,” Rodriguez said in a brief speech to a small gathering of deaf and hearing-impaired athletes.
“Offering young athletes the chance to perform, no matter their physical ability, is essential to the development of Canada’s future,” he continued. “We are proud to promote inclusive sport and help ensure that everyone can grow to their full potential.”
Access to the podium
“This is good news for deaf athletes and I think it’s an important step going forward,” Iacono said in an interview. “It’s part of giving every Canadian athlete a chance to get to the podium. Offering more opportunities to practice sport proves to the whole country that sport should have no limits and that everyone can participate. These athletes demonstrate great perseverance and deserve Canada’s support and admiration.”
“I am committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their age, race, gender, sexual orientation or ability, has the opportunity to participate in sport and experience all it has to offer,” the Science and Sport Minister said in a statement. “By supporting the Canadian Deaf Sports Association, our government is encouraging Canadian deaf and hard of hearing athletes to pursue their sporting dreams. I am confident that the work being done by the CDSA will make sport more accessible and welcoming for everyone.”
The invisible handicap
Through sign language interpreters, Alain Turpin, executive-director of the Canadian Deaf Sports Association, said the association’s members felt greatly encouraged by the support coming from the federal government.
Describing deafness as “handicap that isn’t visible,” unlike blindness that is often identifiable when blind persons are using white canes, Turpin said deaf athletes often need specially-adapted equipment and facilities when they practice sports such as competitive swimming or running (where the starter signal can’t be heard by athletes with impaired hearing.
Support from Sport Canada
The CDSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of deaf and hard of hearing athletes. Through direct financial support, the CDSA helps athletes take part in international sport events sanctioned by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf and the Pan American Sports Committee for the Deaf.
Sport Canada has supported the CDSA since 1993 by providing over $5 million in funding for its activities. The Sport Support Program supports the development of Canadian athletes and coaches. Funding is provided to eligible organizations for programming that is aligned with the goals of the Canadian Sport Policy.