The funding for athletes in Canada is a bit confusing. However, I’m running a MAKEACHAMP crowdfunding campaign right now so I feel an obligation to explain it to my supporters.
The questions I receive are always the same: "wait, you have to pay for your own travel to international competitions?" or "You don’t get paid by the government to represent our country internationally?"
Well, the answer is yes, I do get a bit of funding, but not a lot. Some athletes get more, and some get less. To clear up this vagueness surrounding the funding system, I’ll do my best to paint a clear picture in this blog post. It is important to note here that I may not have all the information and I might be wrong, however, I will try to be as accurate as I possibly can and admit when I do not have full information.
COC funding - Canadian Olympic Committee Athlete Excellence Fund (AEF)
Lets start at the top with the AEF, which is allocated to only the few athletes with the following results:
Year 1: Top 5 at World Championships – $5,000
Year 2: Top 5 at World Championships – $5,000
Year 3: Top 4 at World Championships – $5,000
Year 4: Olympic Games:
Gold medal – $20,000;
Silver medal – $15,000;
Bronze medal – $10,000.
Note: this was taken from their website.
National Funding - Judo Canada Carding
How much money is distributed?
Let's start with the funding available for Judo Canada. According to the Canadian Government, in 2014, Judo Canada was provided with $359,840.71 for funding, This allows for about 20 athletes to receive approximately $18,000 in funding. I believe this comes out to roughly 900$ a month.
How many athletes get carded?
There are some further complications when one card is split by a couple of cadets and juniors. As a result, it ends up being about 18 Seniors and 3 cadets/seniors. It varies year to year and I don’t have the full data here.
Who is selected?
Then the question becomes, who is selected to be one of the 20 athletes (or so)? Well, Judo Canada has its own points system and the athletes with the most points by October 1st every year are awarded with the funding mentioned above.
What is the funding system? It’s summarized pretty well in this chart below, which was taken from the Judo Canada Handbook.
A few important points to note:
The letters are important here because they determine your ‘Carding’. Besides the points that you accumulate you also receive a card depending on the rank you achieved. Winning gold at the G-card level will give you a D-card allowing you to fight at D level competitions.
This becomes relevant to funding because athletes with A and B cards are automatically eligible for funding. In the case that more funding is available, the next in points will get carded.
This is a bit more complicated, as every province varies in their funding budget and system. However, having lived in Quebec and Ontario, subjectively the biggest provinces in judo, I can give you a small glance into the provincial funding systems of these two provinces.
For Ontario, the organization that provides amateur athletes with funding is called Quest-For-Gold. The last time I received funding was in 2010 and it was approximately 6,000$ if I remember correctly. In any case, since then, their budget has changed dramatically and so has their qualification system, so I will leave this here.
As for Quebec, my current funding provider, there are three levels of funding depending on the results in provincial, national and international tournaments. Its funding system is summarized in the chart below. Judo Quebec also provides an additional $1,000 in funding for international tournaments.
There is also additional funding from non-profit organizations such as CanFund, who raised $15 million since 1997. This program is only available for carded athletes and I am not sure of the amount that is given.
There is also a crowdfunding, having co-founded and used MAKEACHAMP to raise funds for my competitions, I can say that it is becoming an increasingly popular choice of funding for Canadian Athletes. MAKEACHAMP has helped athletes worldwide raise $1.5 million in the past 2 years with an average of 2,000$ raised per athlete.
So what is the maximum amount of money you can receive doing judo in Canada?
For entertainment sake let us assume it is the Olympic year and you won. Canadian Olympic Committee Athlete Excellence Fund (AEF) will send you an awesome 20,000$. Of course you’d be carded so you get another $18,000. Let’s suppose you are from Quebec, so you get $10,000 along with another $1,000 for travels and some additional money from CanFund.
In total, you would be looking at roughly $50,000.
And what is the most common amount a Canadian judoka receives?
Well, a carded athlete is looking at around $30,000, and since only 20-24 judo athletes are carded, the majority of judo athletes receive $5000-$6000 in funding for the entire year.