Research

In September and October 2021, Ontario Sport Network commissioned custom research in collaboration with leading research firm IMI International to help us, as a community, better understand the state of sport and physical activity in our province. Our research looked at a representative sample of Ontarians of all ages and backgrounds across the province, capturing crucial data that can help us understand how we can make sport a more accessible and inclusive experience for all.

We know that there are many different barriers to participation as well as a variety of motivating factors that drive people to be active.

Below are some of the key highlights with a full report to follow.

1

66% of LGBTQIA+ identifying Ontarians cite safety concerns as a barrier to their participation in sport or physical activity and 41% say mental health is also a key barrier to their participation. Stats like these only further highlight the need for our communities to be safe spaces for all who occupy them. Frontrunners run group is one example of grassroots organizations that are bringing community members together across the province to get fit in a safe and welcoming environment.

2

The benefits of sport and physical activity are vast and plenty, but over half of all youth in Ontario say the development of leadership and teamwork skills is a major factor in their participation.

3

The importance of positive role models for young people cannot be underestimated. We know that nearly half (48%) of people in the GTA say that developing positive role models is a key driver in their participation in sport or physical activity.

4

Overall wellbeing is the main driver of participation in physical activity for Ontarians. 59% of people in Ontario say the reduction of stress is a key motivating factor in their participation in sport. This is closely followed by 58% who say that mental health benefits motivate them to participate in sport and physical activity.

5

Mental health can be a significant barrier to participation in sport and physical activity for Ontarians with a disability, with nearly half stating this as an issue. Safety is also another key concern for 64%. But we also know that Ontarians with disabilities truly value the social benefits of sport, with 60% citing social aspects as a major motivaing factor in their participation. That's why we know it's crucial for facilities and sports to be accesible and safe spaces so all Ontarians can enjoy the benefits of being active.

6

Sport teaches endless lessons at all points of life but none more so than when we're young and the pitch or yard acts as just another classroom, overflowing with learning opportunities. 56% of parents say participation in sport or physical activity helps their children develop confidence.

7

43% of Ontarians over 50 years old are more interested in getting active than ever before.

8

Our family is a key motivator for Ontarians in being active; 44% say that family has an important influence on their participation.

Up Next

We're excited to delve into this research as part of our 'OSN Sport Speaks' series that will feature subject matter experts and ambassadors. The series will begin in early 2022 and we'll examine topics such as equity, diversity, and inclusion, mental health, accessibility, safety and much more.

If there are any specific topics you'd like us to consider for one of our series, drop us an email at info@ontariosportnetwork.ca

Research conducted by IMI International, 2021

1

66% of LGBTQIA+ identifying Ontarians cite safety concerns as a barrier to their participation in sport or physical activity and 41% say mental health is also a key barrier to their participation. Stats like these only further highlight the need for our communities to be safe spaces for all who occupy them. Frontrunners (link to their specific ambassador page) run group is one example of grassroots organizations that are bringing community members together across the province to get fit in a safe and welcoming environment

2

The benefits of sport and physical activity are vast and plenty, but over half of all youth in Ontario say the development of leadership and teamwork skills is a major factor in their participation

3

The importance of positive role models for young people cannot be underestimated. We know that nearly half (48%) of people in the GTA say that developing positive role models is a key driver in their participation in sport or physical activity

4

Overall wellbeing is the main driver of participation in physical activity for Ontarians. 59% of people in Ontario say the reduction of stress is a key motivating factor in their participation in sport. This is closely followed by 58% who say that mental health benefits motivate them to participate in sport and physical activity.

5

Mental health can be a significant barrier to participation in sport and physical activity for Ontarians with a disability, with nearly half stating this as an issue. Safety is also another key concern for 64%. But we also know that Ontarians with disabilities truly value the social benefits of sport, with 60% citing social aspects as a major motivaing factor in their participation. That's why we know it's crucial for facilities and sports to be accesible and safe spaces so all Ontarians can enjoy the benefits of being active.

6

43% of Ontarians over 50 years old are more interested in getting active than ever before

7

Sport teaches endless lessons at all points of life but none more so than when we're young and the pitch or yard acts as just another classroom, overflowing with learning opportunities. 56% of parents say participation in sport or physical activity helps their children develop confidence.

8

Our family is a key motivator for Ontarians in being active; 44% say that family has an important influence on their participation.