Recreation provides multiple pathways to wellbeing for individuals, communities, and for our built and natural environments. This paper and the Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015 which it describes allows for a timely re-visioning of recreation’s capacity for achieving wellbeing.
Recreation has the potential to address challenges and troubling issues such as increases in sedentary living and obesity, decreased contact with nature, and inequities that limit recreation opportunities for some population groups.
Doing this requires a clear understanding and commitment to a shared vision, values and goals, as well as the development and implementation of action plans. The Framework provides a foundation for reflection, discussion and the development of such action plans.
The first part of the paper presents a renewed definition of recreation and explores the challenges and benefits of recreation today. It provides the rationale for investing in an evolved recreation strategy, and describes the need for collaboration with other initiatives in a variety of sectors.
A Renewed Definition of Recreation
Recreation is the experience that results from freely chosen participation in physical, social,
intellectual, creative and spiritual pursuits that enhance individual and community wellbeing.
The second part of this paper describes a Framework for Recreation in Canada. The Framework provides a
new vision, and suggests some common ways of thinking about the renewal of recreation, based on clear goals and underlying values and principles.
A Vision for Recreation in Canada
We envision a Canada in which everyone is engaged in meaningful, accessible recreation
experiences that foster:
• Individual wellbeing
• Community wellbeing
• The wellbeing of our natural and built environments
The Framework describes five goals and priorities for action under each goal.
The goals are:
Goal 1: Active Living - Foster active living through physical recreation.
Goal 2: Inclusion and Access - Increase inclusion and access to recreation for populations that face constraints to participation.
Goal 3: Connecting People and Nature - Help people connect to nature through recreation.
Goal 4: Supportive Environments - Ensure the provision of supportive physical and social environments that encourage participation in recreation and build strong, caring communities.
Goal 5: Recreation Capacity - Ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the recreation field.
Although this paper and the Framework it contains is primarily written for and by the recreation and parks
field, its implementation requires discussion and collaboration with 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.
Our opportunity is to identify concrete ways to work together that enable all people in Canada to enjoy
recreation and outdoor experiences in supportive physical and social environments.
The development of the Framework is a co-led initiative by the provincial and territorial governments (except
Quebec), the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association and the Provincial/Territorial Parks and Recreation
Associations (including l’Association québécoise du loisir municipal). It is the result of a comprehensive
consultation process that began at the 2011 National Recreation Summit.
This document and the Framework it describes is a call to action that invites leaders, practitioners and
stakeholders in a variety of sectors to collaborate in the pursuit of common priorities, while respecting the
uniqueness of individuals and communities across Canada. All provinces and territories (except Quebec)
intend to implement the measures and recommendations outlined in the framework as they deem appropriate
to their recreation system. The Framework presents an opportunity to return to traditional paths and to forge
new ones that will ensure recreation’s continued relevance and leadership in the journey to wellbeing. The
time to move forward is now.
Since 2011, CPRA has been co-leading with the Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council (ISRC) the development of A Framework for Recreation in Canada. The Framework will provide a new vision for recreation and suggest some common ways of thinking about the renewal of recreation based on clear goals and underlying values and principles.
During the progression of the Framework, leaders, practitioners, stakeholders and volunteers in a variety of sectors collaborated in pursuit of common priorities, while respecting the uniqueness of individuals and communities across Canada. The Framework has been developed with the support and partnership of the provincial and territorial governments (with the exception of Quebec).
A Framework Summit was held in Toronto in November 2014. During this Summit, participants built conditions for successful implementation of the Framework by defining potential desired outcomes and potential performance measures, identifying tools/ resources which will be required to support successful implementation of the Framework as well as developing communications strategies. A short synopsis of the proceedings of the National Recreation Summit, held in Toronto in November is available.
On February 13, 2015 Provincial and Territorial Ministers endorsed and the Government of Canada supported the Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015. The announcement took place at the 2015 Conference of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation.