CIBC and KidSport™ team up So ALL Kids Can Play!

Costs keep one third of Canadian children from participating in organized sports: CIBC Poll

With most Canadians knowing a child on the sidelines due to cost, new $1-million partnership with KidSport will help fund equipment and participation fees

Toronto,ON (July 10, 2014) – A new CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) poll, conducted by Northstar, finds that one third of Canadian children, aged three to 17, do not participate in organized sport largely due to cost, a staggeringly high number at a time when youth obesity is on the rise.

The poll results show that the two major barriers to participation are enrollment fees and equipment costs. Parents, who have kids in organized sport, spend an average of nearly $1,000 per child each year. And, 82 per cent of Canadians know a child who cannot participate in organized sport due to the cost.

Key poll findings include:

  • 71 per cent believe participating in organized sport is part of being Canadian
  • 33 per cent of children do not participate in organized sport largely due to cost
  • Parents spend on average $953 per child each year for their kids to play organized sports
  • 82 per cent know a child who cannot participate in organized sport due to the cost

“It is shocking to find out so many families cannot afford to put their kids in organized sport,” says CIBC Team Next mentor Simon Whitfield. “This poll is a call to action.”

CIBC commissioned the poll in partnership with KidSport™, a national not-for-profit sports funding organization, to understand how important organized sport is for kids in Canada. As part of its ongoing commitment to improve the lives of Canada’s youth, CIBC is proud to make a $1-million multi-year pledge to KidSport to help break down the financial barriers that keep kids on the sidelines.

Mr. Whitfield, a former Pan Am, World Cup and Olympic medallist and long-time KidSport Ambassador, says organized sport is becoming too expensive for parents.

“Too many parents simply can’t afford to put their kids in sport,” he says. “Yet, we all know organized sport helps keep kids active, healthy and builds self-esteem. This $1-million commitment is important and gives our kids a much-needed running start.”

KidSport helps remove financial barriers that prevent kids from playing sport by providing assistance for registration fees to children aged 18 and under. Through a confidential application process, grants are given so they can play a season of sport. In 2013, KidSport distributed $6 million in grants to 178 community chapters across Canada, enabling more than 57,000 kids get in the game and learn valuable life skills with participation in sport.

“With almost three-quarters of those surveyed saying that playing organized sport is integral to being Canadian, KidSport is thrilled to partner with CIBC to help thousands of kids experience the many positive benefits of sport,” says Jamie Ferguson, Chair of KidSport. “CIBC’s generous investment will provide KidSport with valuable financial resources and enhanced brand awareness in communities across Canada to help us ensure all kids can play.”

Other poll highlights:

  •  The two major barriers to participation are enrollment fees (61 per cent) and equipment costs (52 per cent).
  • Soccer (38 per cent) is currently the most commonly played sport by kids, followed by swimming (22 per cent) and basketball (18 per cent).
  • 91 per cent of Canadians believe participation in sports teaches children important life skills
  • A vast majority of Canadians agree that having kids involved in organized sport is an essential part of their physical (87 per cent), social (84 per cent), and emotional (80 per cent) development.

In addition to the more obvious health benefits of playing sport, Canadians also identified other values, including team play and sportsmanship, building confidence or self-esteem, developing social skills and friendships, learning how to succeed and fail, and keeping children busy and out of trouble.

“This is important data to have to help get a better understanding on the issue of improving sports participation among our country’s youth,” says the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), Canada. “I thank CIBC and KidSport for their continued efforts to strengthen our communities through the unifying power of sport and taking the initiative to tackle the financial barriers many Canadian families face in trying to give their kids the chance to participate in organized sports.”

“CIBC made a commitment to leave a sport legacy from its sponsorship of next year’s Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Toronto,” says Saäd Rafi, Chief Executive Officer, the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee. “Every Pan Am or Parapan Am athlete had to start somewhere, so I applaud CIBC for helping more young people discover a love for sport.”

About CIBC:
CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

About CIBC’s Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Sponsorship:
As the Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games CIBC is committed to enriching Canadian communities through the power of sport. We support causes that matter to our clients, our employees and our communities and aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. To learn more visit www.cibc.com/ca/features/panamgames.html.