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CEO Blog: A Discussion on the Strategic Framework for Sport in B.C.

Fall is in full swing and the consultation process around the Strategic Framework for sport in B.C. continues to make progress. In advance of our next gathering at Sportscape, Charlene Krepiakevich, CEO at viaSport, shares some insights and observations of her own about the process and how she sees us advancing together as a sector as it evolves.

Dear Sport Leaders,

One key quality that is fundamental to my style of leadership is listening. In the first six months at viaSport, I have strived to listen, learn, and engage with sport leaders across the province. While I haven’t met every leader, and learned all that is required, I am committed to ongoing communication and engagement with you. While in-person meetings are my preference, technology does allow us to enhance our connectivity and to communicate in many different ways about many topics. I am determined to strengthen our sport ecosystem and will strive to keep our lines of communication open. To this end, I am pleased to share this blog as a message from me to you, the sport leaders of B.C., about the recent Sport Framework consultation process.

What was the purpose of the recent consultation process?

Charlene: The Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture, along with the Parliamentary Secretary and other Sport Branch personnel, started conversations with the sector in January 2018 to listen and discuss provincial sport priorities. Through formal and informal meetings with sport leaders across the province, key themes emerged and the Ministry formed a draft sport framework. Soon after my arrival to viaSport in June 2019, the Ministry asked for another round of dialogue to share, validate, and offer further comment on their thinking and ideas in a draft framework.

With guidance from viaSport’s Multi-Sport Leadership Council, a plan was created and a consulting firm hired to offer numerous opportunities for the sector to validate and provide feedback on these themes. The viaSport Leadership Council included representation from:

  • Sport BC
  • The BC Games Society
  • BC 55+ Games Society
  • BC Recreation and Parks Association
  • BC School Sports
  • BC Sports Hall of Fame
  • Canadian Sport Institute Pacific
  • I-SPARC
  • Sport Med BC
Strategic Framework for Sport

 

Why was a consultant engaged to facilitate the consultation process? What role did viaSport have? 

Charlene: viaSport was asked by the Ministry to bring the sector together for discussions around the draft sport framework. To ensure a fair and equitable process, viaSport recommended an independent, third-party consultant facilitate the consultation with guidance from the MSO Leadership Council. While viaSport coordinated the consultations, Julie Butcher from The Refinery Leadership Group facilitated the process and the MSO Leadership Council helped in an oversight function at each stage within the process.

What was process for consultation? 

Charlene: With oversight by the MSO Leadership Council, and facilitated by Julie Butcher from The Refinery Group, the  Process began when the Parliamentary Secretary shared a draft of the framework at an in-person meeting during Sportscape in July 2019. Over 100 sport leaders gathered at the event and contributed to an exercise providing sector feedback on government’s five proposed priorities: participation, athlete development, infrastructure, systems excellence, and sport event hosting. High energy and engagement generated hundreds of ideas, questions, and comments!

Sport leaders were then asked to participate in one of five in-person, half-day working groups tackling each priority and themes from Sportscape. The working groups reviewed and strengthened the themes that were then shared back to the sector in five webinars August 15 and 16. The results of the webinars were posted for further feedback up to August 21.

Following this consultative process, Refinery prepared a key findings report containing the insights and recommendations on the five priority areas. The report was submitted by The Refinery Group to the Ministry for consideration in late September.

Sportscape group photo

 

What were the key themes in the Key Findings report?

Charlene: In the key findings report, The Refinery Group describes the process, recaps the feedback, and summarizes the sector recommendations for each priority area. Read the full report here.

While the report speaks for itself, and offers strong recommendations to the framework, my observations include the following:

  1. There is strong passion and commitment to quality sport while at the same time a need for innovation and change. Many comments were made indicating the sector will reach its capacity and capability without a strengthened commitment to continuous improvement.
  2. For long-term sustainability, a different sport delivery model was discussed. Costs are escalating. Risks are emerging. The system is strained and new ways must be found to support and deliver safe and quality sport experiences for our communities.
  3. Considerable comments were made about the perception of sport and a desire for greater promotion of the social and economic benefits of sport.
  4. While sector membership tells one story of sport, it is an incomplete story of sport. Sport definitions must evolve to include physical literacy and recreation.

What are the next steps in the development of the Sport Framework?

Charlene: Currently, the Ministry is reviewing the key findings report from the sector and preparing a “Strategic Framework for Sport in British Columbia.” It is expected the framework will build on existing strengths while also providing direction for current priorities. The date of publishing and releasing the framework is pending government review and expected within the fiscal 2019/2020 year.

Following the release of the framework, viaSport will work with the Multi-Sport Leadership Council and the sector for implementation. While the framework will provide current direction, the consultation with the sector will be iterative. Government and viaSport will continue to seek feedback on direction and implementation – striving to ensure our plans support a strong, healthy sport sector.

Yours via sport,

Charlene Krepiakevich