The National Recreation Statement (1987)

The National Recreation Statement

Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council
September, 1987
Quebec, Quebec

Table of Contents

Recreation Grows
Recreation Contributes
This Paper is Commissioned by Recreation Ministers
Background - Recreation Defined - 1974
Background - Provincial/Territorial Primacy Recognized - 1978
Ministers Act to Develop a National Recreation Framework - 1980
Government and the Private Sector
Community - The Core Concept

Ptecreation - A Medium for People Development
Provincial and Territorial Roles
The Municipal Role Defined
The Federal Role in Recreation
The Federal Role Defined

Benefits of Cooperation
Federal-Provincial/Territorial Cooperation
Benefits of Inter-Provincial/Territorial Cooperation
Current Federal-Provincial/Territorial Mechanism for Cooperation in Sport and Fitness
Provincial/Territorial and Federal-Provincial/Territorial Mechanisms for Cooperation

Recreation Grows
1.1 Society is rapidly changing! A fact which most people do not recognize until they are brought up short with the consequences of change. In no field is this more apparent than in the field of recreation and leisure. Shorter working weeks, flexible working hours, longer and more frequent vacations, advertisements selling the "good life" and "fit life", burgeoning communications, tourism and leisure technology industries doubling of recreation budgets, billions of dollars worth of new recreation facilities in a decade; all these are indicators of the growing demand for and consumption of recreation and leisure goods and services.
Recreation Contributes
1.2 The individual, faced with flux, changing family and social values, escalating inflation and an uncertain future, reaches out to find leisuite pursuits that meet his or her personal needs. In a society where people feel they are losing personal control over certain facets of their lives, recreation activities contribute a great deal to balanced individual growth. This paper is premised on the philosophy that the use of leisure in our democratic society will always remain the prerogative of the individual; that the individual should be both a provider and recipient of leisure services. This philosophy also maintains that recreation has an almost unlimited potential to develop life skills, to enhance communities and to promote and maintain healthy, independent lifestyles which contribute significantly to the quality of life in Canada.
This Paper is Commissioned by Recreation Ministers
1.3 This paper, commissioned by Recreation Ministers, stems from a recognition of the significance of recreation.
Background - Recreation Defined - 1974
1.4 The steps which have led to this important initiative have their roots in a series of progressive resolutions and agreements approved at a series of Recreation Ministers' meetings. At the first such Conference, in Edmonton, in 1974, Ministers defined recreation as "all those things that a person or group chooses to do in order to make their leisure time more interesting, more enjoyable and more personally satisfying". Confirming their appreciation of the role and meaning of recreation in the lives of Canadians, the Ministers unanimously adopted the following resolution:
"Whereas recreation includes all of those activities in which an individual chooses to participate in his leisure time and is not confined solely to sports and physical recreation programs but includes artistic, creative, cultural, social and intellectual activities; and whereas recreation is a fundamental human need for citizens of all ages and interests and for both sexes and is essential to the psychological, social and physical well-being of man; and whereas society is rapidly changing and leisure time is increasing; be it therefore resolved that this Conference recognizes the fact that rcreation is a social service in the same way that health and education are considered as social services and that recreation's purpose should be:
(a) to assist Individual and community development;
(b) to improve the quality of life;
(c) to enhance social functioning.
Such recognition will indicate the constitutional responsibility of the Provinces and Territories in recreation services."
Background - Provincial/Territorial Primacy Recognized - 1978
1.5 The provincial and territorial recognition of the constitutional responsibility of provinces and territories in recreation was further reinforced at the 1978 Conference in Montreal where the Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport stated.
"I do indeed recognize the primacy of the provinces in the field of recreation". The provinces and territories agreed that Recreation in Canada, in common with other social services, lies within the jurisdiction of provinces.
However, it is recognized that primacy does not mean exclusivity. The resources and the cooperation of all jurisdictions, as well as a wide variety of private and commuitity agencies, are required to meet the recreation needs of all citizens.
Ministers Act to Develop a National Recreation Framework - 1980
1.6 With a clear and broad definition of recreation, with the primacy of provinccs in recreation confirmed, and with the publication of a federal discussion paper "Towards a National Policy on Fitness and Recreation", the scene was set for the 1980 Ministers' Conference, held in Toronto. Ministers agreed to proceed with the development of a National recreation framework for action. Recreation Ministers, at that Conference, directed the Deputy Ministers to commission the Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council to develop a paper to articulate the responsibilities of different levels of Government and provide cooperative strategies.
The purpose of defining the roles and responsibilities of different levels of government and of the private sector, in the provision of recreation opportunities, is to minimize duplication of effort and to ensure that all resources are directed to meet the recreation needs of the 80's in a coordinated, responsive and effective manner.
At.the 1983 Conference of Provincial/Territorial Ministers held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, an Interprovincial Recreation Statement was affirmed.
Subsequently, at a special meeting, on June 4,1987, Federal/Provincial Ministers agreed to amalgamate a Federal Role Statement into the existing 1983 Interprovincial Statement for declaration of a National Recreation Statement at the Federa/Provincial Conference of Ministers in Quebec City in September of that year.
The professional art, culture and sport fields provide for the education and entertainment of Canadians. They do not, however, come within the scope of this statement.
Government and the Private Sector
1.7 Government is by no means the central primary provider of recreation opportunities. Many essential recreation opportunities are provided through volunteers, or non-profit and commercial agencies and organizations. Indeed the role of the private sector is increasing in scale and significance as it responds to the growing demand for leisure opportunities. Government has a responsibility to nurture the development of private and commercial opportunities that can develop the economic base and thus reduce demands on the tax base.
In addition, Government should provide support services to reinforce the effectiveness of the non-profit, sector. It should also assist in identifying the optimum roles of Government and the private sector in providing recreation opportunities in the local, regional and/or national context. It is likely that cooperative ventures, using combinations of public and private resources, will become increasingly popular as all parties cooperate to make the best use of resources in times of fiscal restraint.
Community - The Core Concept
1.8 Despite the fact that people are more mobile than in the past and have established communities of interest, beyond their neighbouihoods, the geographic community remains the focal point for recreation activity. Principles and proposals outlined in this paper are therefore predicated on a core concept,
..."that the sphere in which people must find meaning an purpose is the family, the neighbourhood and the community; with its schools, churches, libraries and cultural institutions, sports groups and recreation clubs and social organizations. Programs of community activities are essential elements of life if people are to keep their sense of purpose and achieve happiness in a complex society. In their own communities ordinary citizens and their families can share with others the work of planning and carrying out projects for which they have recognized needs and set the goals. Here they can use their own methods and their own leaders for effective development".
This concept provides a cohesive philosophical base for the remaining sections of this report.
Recreation - A Medium for People Development
2.1 Recreation is a personal matter People become committed to it. Recreation is a medium that helps people deal with life-cycle changes that are as powerful as the movement to accept personal responsibility for maintaining good health, or as subtle and significant as recognizing the character not the caricature of the disabled person. The delivery of recreation services is much more dependent on local decisions and volunteers than social services such as health and education.
This independence from day-to-day direction and financial support would not reduce the interest or initiatives of provincial or territorial governments in providing the assistance, leadership and recognition that is so essential to the coherent development and maintenance of this system. This is particularly true in respect to the volunteer.
The management of clubs and societies, the provision of leadership and instruction, often the raising of capital and operational dollars and, frequently, the coordination of recreation programs depends on the commitment and capability of the community volunteer. This resource must be the object of strong provincial support.
Provincial and Territorial Roles
2.2 In claiming primacy of jurisdiction for recreation, the provinces and territories have accepted a far-reaching responsibility. This responsibility will require that each province and territory should:
1). state, publicly, a provincial or territorial policy that outlines goals and objectives and emphasizes the value and importance of recreation and leisure as a social service;
2). commit a high priority and sufficient resources to this policy so that its success is assured;
3). ensure coordination of all provincial or territorial recreation programs and services and the delivery of these programs in a consistent manner according to the stated provincial/territOrial policy. If there are programs and services that cannot be consolidated within one department or ministry, these should be under the surveillance of a coordinating mechanism, maintained by a lead ministry, that is charged with the responsibility for overall program coordination and delivery, as outlined in the policy statement;
4). observe and analyse recreation trends and issues to keep the provincial/territorial policy current, to alert municipalities to these trends and issues in recreation, and to introduce, where necessary, new, broad provincial/territorial social policies and legislation;
5). provide resources to the municipal government, which is acknowledged as the primary agent in the delivery of equitable public recreation services, so that the quality of life, at the community level, may be enhanced; this can be accomplished through incentive grants that support community and regional confer. ences, that assist with the training of full-time, part-time and volunteer leaders, and that encourage new, supportive consultant services;
6). influence the educational system so that all students and graduates, at all academic levels, beginning at the elementary school level, have a variety of activity skills, a knowledge of human growth and development, a positive attitude about recreation, and a sound philosophy of leisure;
7). encourage and support autonomous provincial or territorial recreation organizations and associations that represent provincial or territorial interests and that can assist government by organizing programs that would otherwise be unavailable, by assessing provincial/territorial resources and their allocation and by contributing to the development of new program initiatives; and, through these groups, involving as many people as possible in the making of decisions that affect their well-being;
8). provide provincial or territorial programs and services that build an Integrated, viable delivery system, linking all the parts of the system; e.g., munidpal, provincial, territorial and federal levels of government, provincial or territorial organizations and the voluntary, private and commercial sectors;
9). plan and support recreation research, with special emphasis on applied research projects and the dissemination of recreation research findings to the field;
10). consider the designation of an advisory body that represents all of the provincial or territorial agents in the recreation delivery system and make it possible for this body to function so that it may provide advice to the province or territory, discuss and recommend new program initiatives, coordinate public, volunteer and private sector planning for recreation and, be used by the province and territories as a "sounding board" for policies and new initiatives prior to implementation;
11). meet regularly with other provinces and territories and federal ministers and officials to plan cooperatively, to coordinate programs and resources, share information, to ensure that these responsibilities are carried out and identify approaches taken or methods used that have proven to be successful.
The Municipality - The Prime Agency
2.3 It is recognized that individuals should freely identify and pursue recreation activities of their choice. Opportunities for participation should be initially developed and managed by individuals or groups independent of goverrunent involvement. Where additional resources are required and costs can be reduced through collective action, community scale resources and organizations should be cooperatively developed or utilized to meet recreation needs.
Municipal governments are closest to the people; they are likely to respond more flexibly, more quickly and more effectively to the needs of the community in matters of recreation. For this reason the municipality is the primary public supplier of direct recreation services. Therefore, in its policy on recreation, each provincial/territorial government must outline the role it intends to assign to its municipalities.
(i) "Municipality" is used as a general term and includes regional authorities and any designated communities providing recreation services.
(ii) The role of the private sector is critical in the community context. Commercial outlets, voluntary cultural, sport and recreation agencies, private clubs, and educational institutions play a vital role in providing community recreation opportunifies.
(iii) Within some communities there are designated geographic areas and special groups which come under the direct jurisdiction of senior levels, of government in respect to recreation services.
The Municipal Role Defined
2.4 The basic role of the municipality is to ensure the availability of the broadest range of recreation opportunities for every individual and group consistent with available community resources.
The scope of recreation opportunities, normally provided by's municipal recreation authority, usually exceed those offered by provincial/territorial Mirlistries of Recreation. Thus, opportunities for participation in crafts, performing arts, sports, outdoor recreation and access to museums, parks, seniors' activity centres, filirin"e"s and heritage resources, etc., usually come within the mandate of municipal departments.
Typically the municipality should:
1).establish a designated municipal recreation authority to serve as the focus for the provision of community recreation opportunities;
2). be continually aware of all relevant community resources and recreation opportunities and ensure that this information is readily available to the public;
3). provide incentives and services to these programs, as required, to ensure effective development relevant to the needs identified; e.g., training recreation leaders, providing program information, developing new facilities and resources, modifying programs to integrate special populations, etc.;
4). undertake a regular assessment to determine community needs or interests not being met through existing community programs;
5). make every effort to respond to recreation needs through the development of initiatives by:
  1. existing community groups, organizations or agencies;
  2. the establishment of community associations, etc.;
  3. the private and commercial sector or, if none of the above arc feasible;
  4. direct involvement of the municipal authority;
6). coordinate the development and best use of community resources through the establishment of an appropriate mechanism that can stimulate joint planning, information exchange, and program evaluation, among all groups and agencies currently providing recreation opportunities. A community recreation "council", "board" or "commission" is one mechanism that can be used to good effect.
The Federal Role in Recreation
2.5 There is a clear and necessary role for the federal government in the fleld of recreation, although it is recognized that the primacy of jurisdiction for recreation rests with the provinces and territories. In fulfilling its responsibilities assigned by the Constitution, the federal government must take action that will affect the broad scope of recreation.
The Canadian delivery system of recreational services involves a wide range of local, provincial/territorial, national and international organizations in both the public and private sectors. It is therefore to the advantage of all that federal depanments work closely and cooperatively with all agents within the system in the implementation of programs which affect recreational services.
Public Sector
It Is understood that in order to reduce duplication and to make better use of public resources, the federal government will, wherever feasible, coordinate its programs with those of other governments, in order to provide an optimum environme for Canadians in which to improve their quality of life.
Private Sector
The role of the private sector, both voluntary and commercial. is vital in the provision of recreation opportunities in which Canadians may freely choose to participate. The federal government, in common with other governments, will ensure that its programs contribute to the effectiveness of the private sector, to create and maintain a recreation delivery system responsive to the needs of all Canadians.
Generally, the federal government acting in consort and consultation with the provinces and territories, the private and voluntary sectors in the recreation field will:
  • primarily involve itself in those activities that are national in scope;
  • provide for the development and maintenance of recreation programs and services appropriate to those facilities and institutions under the sole jurisdiction of the federal government.
The Federal Role Defined
2.6 The federal government will, specifically, contribute to the development of recreation in Canada by:
1). providing, through national organizations and agencies, complementary opportunities for individuals to participate in recreation activities;
2). ensure Canadian representation, both internationally and within Canada, in recreation activities that serve a national purpose;
3). contributing, at the national level, to the development of recreation services through the provision of resources and support to the public, voluntary and commercial sectors;
4). developing and circulating nationally, promotional and resource materials which will encourage individuals to participate in recreation activities.
Fitness and Amateur Sport Canada affirms the aforementioned federal role in recreation and, in this respect, will make decisions related to its assigned mandate in physical recreation and physical activity. Therefore, to fulfill the commitment to federal/provincial consultation and coordination in the broad, scope of recreation programs and services; Fitness and Amateur Sport Canada will:
  • actively provide liaison with the various federal departments whose mandates in part deal with other aspects of recreation;
  • develop a federal mechanism which will provide for an ongoing forum of federal provincial/territorial governments involved in recreation to exchange information and coordinate activities that will optimize both programs and resources,
  • develop a central "data base" which will provide a central focus for information on the various recreation related programs and activites of the federal, provincial and territorial governments.
Benefits of Cooperation
3.1 Cooperation is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Individual parties must see a likely benefit from cooperation before they invest the resources and goodwill necessary to work together.
There are four principal reasons why Governments should invest in cooperative activities in recreation:
1). to enhance the quality of existing programs by sharing ideas and approaches;
2). to avoid duplication in program development or specialist areas, and to utilize the best available Canadian expertise to enrich all development efforts;
3). to define and maintain a clear definition of the roles, responsibilities and associated programs of different levels of Government, to ensure the best possible coordinadon of limited resources;
4). to enunciate clear, collective statements on inter-provincial territorial and/or federal-provincial/territorial issues in order to facilitate the resolution of issues or the development of joint initiatives.
(Such collective statements and cooperative action in no way precludes bilateral discussions between individual provinces or territories and the federal government.)
Federal-Provincial/Territorial Cooperation
3.2 The adoption of a federal- provincial/territorial mechanism for cooperation will assist in the coordination of activity through:
  • increased opportunities for dialogue between officials at all levels, from the working level through to the Ministerial level;
  • increased opportunities to work cooperatively in establishing annual initiatives for joint projects and activities;
  • clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the levels described within the cooperative mechanism;
  • cost-savings through the initiation of joint projects and activities shared funding responsibilities.
Benefits of inter-Provincial/Territorial Cooperation
3.3 As noted, the 19 78 Federal- Provincial/Territorial Ministers' Conference confirmed the primacy of the provinces/territories in the field of recreation. In addition, it was recognized that recreation, in common with other social services, lies within the jurisdiction of provinces/territories.
This agreement carries with it the expectation that free, independent provincial and territorial actions will be complemented by a new, reinforced commitment to work together on an interprovincial basis to meet mutual needs.
Current Federal-Provincial/Territorial Mechanism for Cooperation in Sport and Fitness
3.4 The federal-provincial/territorial cooperative mechanism for Sport and Fitness currently in effect is mainly centered around the Fedetal-Provincial /Territorial Ministers' Conferences, a Federal-Provincial/Territorial  Deputy Ministers'Committee and Committees of the interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council/Fitness and Amateur Sport Executive. The latter two committees are involved at the working level to implement cooperative activities prescribed by the Ministers, through the Deputy Ministers.
This mechanism for cooperation is graphically depicted by the-following figurie:

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