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Recreation is a fundamental human need in all ages and stages of life. It is the pursuit of physical, social, intellectual, creative and spiritual experiences that enhance individual and community wellbeing.

The benefits of recreation cannot be overstated; it can enhance mental, physical and social wellbeing, help build strong families and communities, help connect people to nature, and provide economic benefits such as jobs and tourism.

High quality, accessible recreation opportunities are integral to a well-functioning society.

The recreation sector can be a collaborative leader in addressing major issues of the day.

Recreation is for everyone; all people and communities deserve equitable access to recreational experiences.

A Framework For Recreation In Canada 2015: Pathways To Wellbeing

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We envision a Canada in which every citizen is engaged in meaningful, accessible recreation experiences that foster individual, community and environmental wellbeing. The Framework for Recreation in Canada is our pathway to that goal.

We have an opportunity to work together in ways that will enable all Canadians to enjoy recreation and outdoor experiences in supportive physical and social environments.

The Framework brings together work being done across the sport, physical activity recreation, parks, environmental and health sectors to improve the wellbeing of Canadians. It aligns with and complements existing policies like Active Canada 20/20, Healthy Aging in Canada and IndigenACTION (2010).

The Framework is a call to action, inviting leaders, practitioners, stakeholders across a variety of sectors and all Canadians to come together in the pursuit of common priorities, while respecting the uniqueness of individuals and communities across Canada.

Recreation and society have changed significantly over the last 50 years. New challenges such as technology or economic inequalities are having an impact on recreation rates. Our task is to turn these challenges into opportunities.

The time to move forward is now. The Framework provides an opportunity to embrace traditional approaches while creating new ones to ensure recreation’s continued relevance in Canada’s ongoing journey to wellbeing.

We are working with municipalities, provincial and territorial governments, parks and recreation associations, post-secondary institutions, the non-profit/voluntary sector and the private sector to deliver on the goals of the Framework. Everyone has a role to play, and collaboration and cooperation are essential to success.

Although the Framework is primarily written for and by the recreation and parks practitioners, its implementation requires collaboration across a broad range of stakeholders. Key partners for recreation include departments and not-for-profit organizations at all levels, and the private sector. These include stakeholders in sport, physical activity, health, urban planning, Aboriginal affairs, infrastructure development, rural development, natural resources and conservation, arts and culture, social development, tourism, justice, heritage, child development and active aging.

Vision And Values

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We envision a Canada in which everyone is engaged in meaningful, accessible recreation experiences that foster the wellbeing of individuals, communities, and our natural and built environments.

Recreation is a public good, in the same way as education or health care, provided for the benefit of individuals and communities. Quality recreation needs to be available to all, sustainable, and supported at all levels to enable lifelong participation.


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Participation in physical recreation is essential to building healthy, active Canadians. By making active choices the easy choice, we can help people be more active wherever they are.

Being active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can lead to significant benefits for both individuals and society. Active Canadians reduce their risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes and cancer, which can save governments billions in health care costs.

Recreation has the ability to reach all citizens and bring people together.

No matter who you are, where you are or your ability, all Canadians should have access to a variety of recreational opportunities and be able to participate in inclusive activities that celebrate diversity.

Canadians love nature and recreation very often involves getting outside. Canada’s most popular recreational activities involve spending time with nature, such as camping, hiking, or gardening.

Recreation contributes to creating walkable, safe, livable communities and helps people access the physical and mental health benefits of the natural world through the provision of parks, trails, waterways and landscaped areas.

Part of our work with the Framework is to ensure the provision of supportive physical and social environments that encourage participation in recreation and help build strong, caring communities.

By working with municipalities, schools, non-profit organizations, the private sector and communities, we can create active, supportive environments and make healthy choices easy for Canadians where they live, work and play.

We need to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of recreation in Canada. By using the Framework for Recreation as our guide and increasing collaboration at all levels, we will improve the capacity of every partner to deliver recreation opportunities to Canadians.

Canada has an amazing volunteer base, and they are the heart of the recreation community. Through the Framework, we can strengthen our volunteer community, recruit and inspire more leaders, and provide Canadian youth with more opportunities for employment and career development.

We will continue to work together with our partners across Canada, engage new stakeholders and collaborate on implementation of the Framework.

Together, we can build pathways to wellbeing for all Canadians.