Business of Curling
The Federal Budget 2017 allocated just over $1.3 billion over ten years – starting in the 2018-19 fiscal year – for bilateral infrastructure funding agreements with provincial, municipal, not-for-profit and indigenous partnerships. These agreements will involve cost-sharing for agreed-to projects, with the proportions determined based on the recipient of the funds. The federal government will provide funding for projects on the following basis: up to 40 percent federal funding for projects undertaken with municipal and not-for-profit partners and up to 50 percent federal funding for projects with provincial partners.
Over the first five years of this program, only $50 million will be available each year from the federal government but these investments will begin to grow significantly in the second half of the program, culminating in the 2022-23 fiscal year with $280 million in planned federal spending. This may provide an opportunity for curling clubs to stage out some of their renovation projects for the latter portion of the program when more funds will be made available.
Budget 2017 also allocated $77 million over 10 years to expand the activities of the Enabling Accessibility Fund, which supports the construction and renovation of existing infrastructure to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities. This can include adding ramps, automatic door openers and accessible washrooms or the provision of accessible information and communication technologies. Given the inclusiveness of the sport of curling and the prevalence of elderly recreational participants, curling clubs can also apply for financial support for these accessibility renovations.
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Many curling clubs are in need of an upgrade, however not all upgrades are created equal in the eyes of the federal government. You may want to consider pursuing this program if the upgrades to curling club would fit in one or more of the following three categories:
- Energy efficiency retrofits for facilities with significant electricity consumption or carbon footprints;
- Retrofits to existing facilities that will improve accessibility and inclusiveness for greater community use; and,
- Renovations for facilities that serve as hubs and venues for sport and other community activities to ensure on-going viability as a central gathering place.
Keep in mind that in early July, the Trudeau government told provinces and territories that the new infrastructure money will not flow from federal coffers unless lower levels of government can show that the spending will boost the rate of economic growth. Nor will projects likely be eligible for federal funds if they can’t show a benefit to the environment — particularly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Before getting started we recommend contacting your provincial curling association to discuss their priorities for this program. There is a limited pocket of money, and many groups will be competing for it. For this reason we believe it is best to focus on a limited number projects that are high need and have a strong chance at succeeding.
Who to contact:
Municipal: Start your advocacy at the local level. Begin your pitch with your city councillor or local representative and any local sport, tourism, and infrastructure authorities. If a meeting with the Mayor is a possibility, we would recommend briefing them. During the municipal meetings it is crucial to find out if the municipality has the financial capability to put in their share of the funding.
Provincial / Territorial: In collaboration with your provincial association, get in touch with your provincial representatives. Again start with your local representative. If you do not know who that is we have provided tools below to help you figure it out. Then begin pitching the provincial sport and infrastructure Ministers. You can identify who your province’s ministers are in the table below. Be sure to make the ask: that your curling club’s retrofit project be included in the province’s list of priority projects to be submitted to the federal government.
Federal: After briefing your provincial and municipal representatives, the next step is to brief your federal Member of Parliament. You can find your local Member of Parliament by inputing your postal code on the following website:
Tailor your pitch as much as you can to your own curling club’s experience with the key themes the government is looking for: inclusivity and community. Below we have identified some key messages that fit in with these themes from a national scope.
- Canadians take up curling as young as four years old and curl well into their senior years. Curling is the most inclusive sport available to Canadian seniors with some curling clubs boasting regular members as old as 100.
- People of all ages, incomes, abilities, ethnicities, and regions can be found at their local curling rink.
- The vast majority of curling rinks in Canada are entirely public; anybody can sign up to play. Roughly 98.5 % of curlers are recreational curlers.
- Curling clubs are active community centres where communities gather from coast to coast to coast. There are 915 curling clubs in communities large and small across Canada.
- Many curling rinks function entirely on volunteer labour, particularly in rural Canada where curling clubs serve as vital community hubs.
- The social values of volunteerism, community, and sportsmanship are instilled at every level of activity in the local club, making them part of our social fabric.
- Curling is an icon of Canadiana and a great contributor to our culture and identity. Founded in 1807, The Royal Montreal Curling Club is the oldest active athletic club in North America.
Tactics – Meetings:
Meetings with your representatives are the backbone of every advocacy effort. Brief your political representatives on your club, what you are seeking to improve, and how the community at large will benefit from the improvements being made. Be courteous and respectful of both the representative and their staff members, don’t forget to make your ask, and do your best to leave a positive impression of you and your curling club.
Sample Meeting Request: Dear (Insert Name),
I am contacting you on behalf of (Insert Curling Club Name) to request a meeting at your earliest availability to discuss opportunities to make our curling club more accessible/energy efficient/open to more community events.
Like most Curling Clubs in Canada, we have historically operated independently of any financial assistance from government, but have reached the point where some assistance is needed to solve infrastructure gaps and improve the sustainability of these community centres.
I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss opportunities to work together to access funding under the federal government’s infrastructure plan, that would make our community stronger.
Thank you for your consideration. (Insert Name)
Tactics – Letters of support:
It is important to demonstrate to all levels of government that your project is well supported by third party stakeholders. Letters of support are a good way to demonstrate that your project will benefit the community at large. Letters should focus on how the curling club is valued by the stakeholder, and how the community can be benefit by making the desired improvements to the club.
Tactics – Provide compelling evidence:
Leverage the data in the deck provided to your advantage, and any other compelling evidence you have. Politicians need to see the potential impact, so providing them with participation data, economic impact data, or public opinion research can help make the case for your curling club in a simple way.
Tactics – Tell your story in the community:
Once you have everything prepared, make sure you tell the story in your local community to as many people that will listen. Generating buzz and support from all corners of the community is another good way to show the local leaders that the community values your curling club.