Suspend athlete COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy for 2022 Canada Summer Games

Suspend athlete COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy for 2022 Canada Summer Games

July 13, 2022
Signatures: 707Next Goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Traci Neufeld

I’ve started this petition because the vast majority of Canadians think mandates regarding the COVID-19 vaccine have been lifted, therefore the exclusion, and divisiveness isn’t still happening across our country, that is not the case. 

The Canada Games Council made a premature policy last year to require all who attend the 2022 and 2023 Canada Summer Games, to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. This would exclude any athlete that would otherwise qualify to represent their province at the games, to be ineligible if they did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine, plus booster, in the last year and a half. 16 weeks ago, the 2022 Niagara Canada Summer Games acknowledged that things were changing in Ontario and they needed to take into account restrictions across Canada (ex. travel) before they could review their vaccination policy. They said they would continue to monitor the situation as things evolved nationally. 

As of June 20th, 2022, the Federal Government suspended the current vaccine mandate for domestic travel and for federal public employees “based on science”. The lifting of the Federal Government vaccine mandate is significant, as it was one of the first put in place.

As of July 12, 2022, The Canada Games Council has not revised the out-dated vaccination policy that is no longer scientifically supported, and that is not consistent with or in alignment with the Federal and Provincial governments’ current suspension of vaccination mandates including travel within Canada. The Council’s Policy seeks to “maintain the health and safety of Canada Games participants”, even though vaccinated individuals can still contract and spread COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals pose a further threat to others in that they can carry the virus without symptoms. The policy does not take into account “fully vaccinated” v “up-to-date vaccinated” v “natural immunity”. This policy continues to be divisive and does not reflect the current health realities in our communities or the direction the Federal Government is taking.

These Games represent an important sporting event for which many young Canadians see as the pinnacle in their amateur sport or a stepping stone to a potential future as a professional athlete. They have worked extremely hard to train, fight to achieve their goal, be the best at their sport, qualify to represent their province and to one day “win” at this National event. 

These same people that the Canada Games Council has decided to exclude are the same ones who are currently participating, attending and working at sporting events right across this country. They are also now allowed to fly domestically without restriction. 

The Canada Games Council Strategic Plan for 2022 to 2026, identified the following:

“The Canada Games Movement is a positive force that sparks greatness in the next generation on and off the field of play and leaves transformative legacies that contribute to a future in which we all win.”

The Strategic Plan goes on to state its vision:

We envision a future where the Canada Games are a renowned celebration of sport that sparks greatness in future leaders, celebrates Canada’s diversity and champions sustainable communities. We’re not leaving a legacy; we’re creating thousands of them.

The Canada Games Council’s decision to exclude those athletes, coaches, managers, technical officials, participant assistants, venue pass holders, mission staff, guests and media who are not vaccinated does not support their goal of being a “positive force”, leaving a “transformative legacy for thousands” and an environment where “we all win”. There are many who will “lose” because of their exclusion, and this will have a lasting impact on the lives of many young Canadian athletes.

When their values speak to “inclusion”, it states the following:

“we seek out, nurture, respect and embrace different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.”

It is important to recognize that respect for one’s perspective is important, and that people are embraced for their different backgrounds and experiences. This includes those individuals who have made the personal decision to not get vaccinated. They should not be left behind and should not be treated differently because they have made a choice on their personal health. 

If the Canada Summer Games truly represents “inclusion” and inclusion in sport, the Canada Games Council must immediately revisit their requirement for all who qualify to participate, attend or work at the Canada Summer Games 2022 to be vaccinated. 

The Canada Games Council must recognize the negative impact that this exclusionary requirement will have on many young Canadian athletes and those that support them. Sports contribute to the physical, and mental health of our youth, and we must protect this for everyone. Sport is not just about the immediate but about the future and our country’s youth. To have a policy in place that robs these athletes of this opportunity is devastating and demoralizing.

People’s lives have been touched in many negative ways by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the youth. This includes physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. For some, sports and the anticipation of these games is what got them through this pandemic. 

These Summer Games are about bringing together the best athletes Canada has to offer, under one roof, in one city, to compete, unite, and burst with pride. 

My hope with this petition is that we can show the Canada Games Council that we, as parents, as athletes, as coaches, as believers in the power of sport, as Canadians, we want the same thing. We want to be inclusive and unified. We want the vaccination policy to be suspended immediately and follow provincial and federal health guidelines.

We believe that a youths talent, skill, and athletic ability should be the criteria for participating in the 2022 Niagara Canada Summer Games, and not their vaccination status. 

Along with signing this petition, feel free to contact the Canada Games Council, Premier Doug Ford, Minster of Tourism, Culture and Sport in Ontario, or your local MP. The more noise we make, the easier it is to hear us. 

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Signatures: 707Next Goal: 1,000
Support now