Athlete Assistance Program (AAP)

"I think I need to point out to everyone back home [Canada] that doesn't realize, how much Sport Canada does for education and how much they're continuing to do. Because when I was 17, my main objective was to make the national team before I went off to university. My mom basically said, 'it's either that or getting a job flipping hamburgers, because I can't afford your tuition.' So Sport Canada and the Athletes Assistance Program do a heck of a lot for Canadian athletes to make sure we have those opportunities."
—Adam van Koerverden, Canadian sprint kayaker, on CBC Primetime from the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (February 20, 2014)

Service Delivery Standards for this funding program.

The Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) is a sport funding program that contributes to the pursuit of excellence through its contribution to improved Canadian athlete performances at major international sporting events, enabling athletes to combine their sport and academic or working careers while training intensively in pursuit of world-class performances.

Athletes who are approved for funding and are financially supported through the AAP are referred to as Carded Athletes. AAP support is referred to as Carding. For more information, see the AAP Policies, Procedures and Guidelines (2012) (PDF Version, 672 KB) or contact

Program Objectives

The Athlete Assistance Program’s objectives are:

  • to financially support Canadian athletes identified by National Sport Organizations (NSOs) using criteria established by Sport Canada as performing at or having the greatest potential to achieve top 16 results at Olympic/Paralympic Games and World Championships;
  • to assist Canada’s carded athletes in preparing to engage in full- or part-time career activities; and
  • to enable Canada’s carded athletes to participate in year-round national training and competition regimes to further their athletic goals.

Key Stakeholders, Beneficiaries, and Recipients

Normally, only athletes from those sports whose high performance programs are funded through the Sport Funding and Accountability Framework (SFAF), including those sports that also have programs for athletes with a disability, are eligible for support through the AAP. Athletes from non-SFAF sports can, however, access AAP support if their performance meets the international criteria for a senior card and if their sport meets AAP sport qualification criteria.
To be eligible to be considered for support through the AAP, an athlete must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
  • adhere to their athlete/NSO agreement requirements;
  • meet the eligibility requirement of the sport’s international federation as they pertain to citizenship and residency status and be available to represent Canada at major international events, including World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games; and
  • meet the carding criteria developed as a member of the Canadian Team at international events or in domestic events or events sanctioned by the NSO for his/her sport.

Athletes are usually required to live and train in Canada. Assistance for athletes living and training outside Canada may be approved by Sport Canada, if justified by the NSO for academic or athletic reasons.

For more information, see the AAP Policies, Procedures and Guidelines (2012) (PDF Version, 672 KB) or contact


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