Overview of the Sports & Recreation Industry
Participation in sports (athletes, spectators, coaches, referees administrators)
In BC, there are over 612,000 participants in organized sports and more than 500 sport facilities throughout BC. While participation in organized sports has declined in other areas of Canada, BC reported an increase of 1% in rates of participation from 2005 to 2010.
More Canadians involved in amateur sport as coaches, referees, administrators, and spectators.
In addition to participation in amateur sport, Canadians are also involved in sport indirectly as coaches, referees, umpires, administrators, and spectators. This indirect involvement has increased over the years in contrast to the declining trend in sport participation. Although sport participation declined by 20% over the 1992-2010 period across Canada, adult Canadians’ indirect involvement in sport, as spectators at amateur events, almost doubled from 24% to 40% of the population. Moreover, the involvement of adult Canadians in sport as administrators, referees, and coaches remained fairly stable during that same period. In 2010, over two million Canadians, or 7% of the population, volunteered as administrators or helpers in amateur sport. This represents an increase compared to rates of involvement of the Canadian population in 1998 and 2005, where respectively 4% and 5% of adults were involved as administrators or helpers.
Sport Organizations in BC
Immigrants and Sports in Canada: participation & benefits
Sports help new Canadian citizens (those who have lived in Canada for at least three years and have attained Canadian citizenship) integrate into Canadian society.
‘Playing Together New Citizens, Sports & Belonging’ reports that:
- 69% of newcomers who play sports within the first 3 years believe it helps them learn about Canadian culture
- 95% of new citizens surveyed agree that sports are an important part of Canadian culture
- sports can teach elements of Canadian culture not learned in books or online: jargon and slang, humour, how to handle conflict, acceptable behaviours or gestures
- new citizens quickly recognize how difficult social interactions can be without having some hockey sense. Many focus on learning something about hockey in order to fit in. They joked that you “score points” with Canadians if you learn enough to pretend like you know what you are talking about.
- more meaningful social interactions occur in the stands and on the field than at work
The participation gap between Canadian-born and immigrants in sports is narrowing.
Established immigrants participate in sport less than recent immigrants. Canadian born immigrants coming to Canada after 1990 (29%) tend to participate regularly in sport and at the same rate as Canadian born (27%). The participation rate of newer immigrants tends to increase rather than decrease over time. Those immigrating to Canada between 2001 and 2005 (31%) are more likely to participate in sports than Canadian-born individuals. Conversely, established immigrants are less likely to engage in sport activities; only 16% of immigrants who moved to Canada before 1990 participate regularly in sport.
All levels of government (federal, provincial and municipal) along with sports and recreation organizations such as the BC Recreation & Parks Association (BCRPA) focus on teaching skills for health living and fostering physical literacy –(ability to master fundamental movement and sport skills that allows individuals to move confidently and with control in a wide range of physical activity situations).
- provincial government of BC provides sport-related grant programs that encourage sport participation and healthy living, develop high-performance athletes, and improve of sport and recreation programs, e.g. BC Sport Participation Program, Coaching & Officiating Development Fund. For further details on BC government programs , see:
BC Government: Sports
BC Government: Sport Funding
- BCRPA provides programs such as MEND for children (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!) focus on developing lifelong healthy living skills for children, while ‘Choose to Move’ and ‘ActiveAge’ target inactive older adults 65 years of age and older (increases physical activity levels and strives to decrease social isolation, motivate and support the adoption of active lifestyles).
Sport Tourism in BC
Sport tourism in British Columbia is valued at $300 million annually, and is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry.
Sport tourism can be a key to a community’s economic development both through the value of a sport as a tourism generator, and the potential to market other business and economic opportunities.
Occupations in the Sports & Recreation Industry
During the years 2016-2025, immigrants to BC are projected to fill 35 per cent of all additions to the labour supply in the province.
Sports & Recreation: Occupations in Demand across all BC regions:
2016 to 2025
|Athletes, NOC 5251||200|
|Coaches, NOC 5252||650|
|Sports Officials & Referees, NOC 5254||190|
|Program Leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness**, NOC 5254
**ranked in the 100 Top Opportunity Occupations in BC
For the period, 2014-2024, the largest employment growth in the sports and recreation industry will be for Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness (NOC 5254). BC is forecast to have 1.1% expected annual demand growth rate with 3,480 Job openings.
Other careers in sports and recreation industry follow with lower growth for the period 2014-2024:
Coaches: 600 job openings, 1.1% expected annual demand growth rate
Athletes: 160 job openings, 2.0% expected annual demand growth rate
Sports officials & referees: 140 job openings, 1.6% Expected annual demand growth rate
Sources: WorkBC Career Profiles: Athletes, Coaches, Officials & Referees, Program leaders & instructors in recreation, sport & fitness
Finding Jobs in the Sports & Recreation Industry
Online Job Postings
Sports jobs in Vancouver, BC
Athletics Club jobs in Vancouver, BC
Athletic Training jobs in Vancouver, BC
Sport Development jobs in Vancouver, BC
Fitness jobs in Vancouver, BC
- BC Recreation & Parks Association
postings for fitness instructors, aquatic fitness, personal trainers, and recreation workers
- CanFitPro Fitness Industry Jobs
[sort results by city to show BC locations]
- SIRC – Sport Information Resource Centre – Careers
postings from across Canada – can search by job title or browse all listings
postings with SportBC, and SportBC member sports organizations
Creating a List of Potential Employers
You can use directories to produce lists of employers in the sports, recreation and fitness industries in British Columbia. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.
try selecting one or all of these categories: Fitness – Classes. Fitness – Equipment, or Fitness – Gyms & Clubs. Then select ‘British Columbia’ and your town/city
select either ‘Fitness Professionals’ OR ‘Health Clubs/Studios’, then enter your town/city and type of fitness (e.g. yoga, pilates)
provides contact information for municipalities throughout BC. Try linking to your town/city then look for their Parks & Recreation Department – most hire fitness professionals to lead programs
Still looking for more information? Try looking at the following resources:
- ViaSport British Columbia
nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness, opportunity and participation in sport across BC; members include sports organizations
- SIRC, Sport Information Resource Centre
provides access to national, provincial, and territorial sport organizations, researchers, sponsors, and leaders
- HelloBC: Recreation Sports in BC
lists a wide variety of recreation sports and their sponsoring organizations in BC (including skiing, surfing, bicycling, mountain biking, dragon boats, adventure races)
provides certification for wide variety of fitness instructors (e.g. fitness kickboxing, active aging, pre & post natal)