Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Review the key questions that cover across the topic areas of government support in B.C. sports.
- Which government department is responsible for sport?
- What is the difference between the Sport Branch, viaSport, and Sport BC?
- How is sport funded and delivered in British Columbia?
- Does government regulate sport?
- What is the role of other sport groups in British Columbia?
- What if I have a complaint about my sport organization, athlete selection processes or coaching?
- How do I find out more about a sport for my child/myself?
- Do all coaches need to be certified?
- Is there a program that certifies people to become coaches?
The Sport Branch's mandate is to support amateur sport in British Columbia through funding organizations and initiatives that increase sport participation, achievement and event hosting. The branch is part of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. Sport Canada has this mandate at the federal level. It is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage. B.C. local governments support sport and recreation through programs and services offered by local government recreation departments, public recreation centres, sport fields and other facilities.
The Sport Branch is a government department that develops policy and strategies to address systemic issues and opportunities for sport in British Columbia. The Branch also works with other levels of government and other ministries to help ensure that British Columbia’s sport interests are represented in other areas and to help bring other government resources to sport. viaSport, a non-profit organization, is government's lead delivery agency for sport programs. It distributes Ministry funding to provincial and multi-sport organizations for programs and services for British Columbians involved in sport. Sport BC is a non-profit sport federation which offers insurance, payroll and other administrative services and programs - such as KidSport BC - to its members. Sport BC has a membership base of more than 60 provincial sport organizations.
The Sport Branch funds the sport system through a system of external delivery agents including viaSport and others such as:
- BC Games Society (the BC Summer Games and BC Winter Games)
- Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (Indigenous programs).
See also Related Links.
The B.C. Government regulates “combat sports” in B.C. In May 2012, the Athletic Commissioner Act (Bill 50) came into force, providing for a B.C. Athletic Commissioner to oversee the conduct of professional boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) as well as amateur mixed martial arts, kickboxing, Muay Thai and pankration events throughout the province. The B.C. Athletic Commissioner is committed to the safety and integrity of combat sports in the province.
There are many sport groups in British Columbia. For example:
- Province-wide programs and services – various sport/recreation organizations deliver these services including multisport organizations such as Sport BC, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, and viaSport as well as provincial sport organizations such as Basketball BC and BC Wheelchair Sports, and many others. Links to some of these organizations can be found at on Related Links or viaSport.
- Community sport clubs, teams and leagues – volunteers operate these local groups in communities throughout British Columbia. They raise funds through memberships, donations and other fundraising activities, including gaming revenues (approximately $28 million in 2019/20). Many are members of provincial sport organizations.
- Municipal recreation – local governments provide recreation centres, sport fields and other facilities. Funding comes from municipal and regional taxes and user fees. Across the province, hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in municipal recreation programs each year.
- School sport – individual schools and school districts fund and operate these programs. British Columbia School Sports governs and operates inter-school competition and programs for its high school-level members. It is funded through member fees, tournaments, clinics and government. Post-secondary sport is administered by each institution’s athletic and recreation department, and funded through student fees, user fees, donations, provincial government post- secondary funding, and other fundraising.
- Semi-professional and professional sports – these are for-profit organizations that are not funded by government.
Provincial sport organizations are non-profit, volunteered-based organizations that are governed by the Society Act. Societies incorporated under the Act, are intended to be independent, democratic and self-governing organizations. Members have opportunities to vote on the rules and regulations that govern societies they belong to and organizations have processes to resolve disputes.
If following the dispute resolution process you feel that you have not been given a fair and open opportunity to be heard, there is a second option available should both parties agree. viaSport can connect you to facilitation services aimed at reaching agreement between parties.
The fastest way to find a contact for a particular sport is to visit the viaSport website and look for the provincial sport organization links. Most teams, clubs, leagues and events are linked with provincial sport organizations. Many community-level sports are also run through schools and/or community recreation centres. Contact both for more information.
While coaches are not always required to be certified (depending on the sport and level), it is certainly true that all coaches should be trained and competent. The best way to ensure that coaches are trained and competent is through the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). For more information about certification, visit viaSport.
Yes. There are certification programs for coaches in British Columbia. Coaches viaSport is a good source of information on coach training and certification.