Framework for Recreation in Canada

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

The Framework for Recreation in Canada is the guiding document for public recreation providers in Canada. 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.

Download the Framework:

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Framework FAQ

  • The Framework for Recreation in Canada is the guiding document for public recreation providers in Canada.

    The Framework was jointly developed by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA) and the Interprovincial Sport and Recreation Council (IRSC); it presents a renewed definition and vision of recreation as well as confirms common values, principles, and goals. The Framework was endorsed in February 2015 by Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation, and is supported by the Government of Canada.

  • 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.

    Four particular areas of recreation providers are already using the Framework to advance recreation in Canada: municipalities, provincial and territorial governments, provincial and territorial parks and recreation associations, and post-secondary institutions.


    Municipalities are utilizing the Framework to ensure their recreation programs, facilities, spaces, and community associations are aligning with the five goals.

    Provincial and Territorial Governments

    Provincial and territorial governments are utilizing the Framework to ensure their programs, grants and policies are using the Framework as a lens to align with the five goals.

    Provincial and Territorial Parks and Recreation Associations

    Provincial and territorial recreation and parks associations are utilizing the Framework to ensure their members are aligning with the five goals.

    Post-Secondary Institutions

    Post-Secondary Institutions are utilizing the Framework to ensure that the sector’s future leaders are aware of, and strive to align with the five goals.

  • The Framework is being used to guide and advance efforts put forth by recreation providers.

    With a philosophical foundation that is rooted in public good, inclusion and equity, and sustainability, recreation providers are utilizing the Framework to guide programming decisions, support public investment, educate future leaders, and much more. The document itself is supplemented with communication and implementation tools to encourage the Framework’s use.

  • The Framework is available as a PDF in both English and French Languages.

    Download English PDF Download French PDF

    Additional communication and implementation tools can be found further down on this page.

  • CPRA and the Interprovincial Sports and Recreation Council (ISRC) co-chair a Framework Leadership Team. This team includes representatives from CPRA and ISRC as well as academics and associations representing sport, health, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and low-socioeconomic Canadians. The team provides national leadership on the implementation of the Framework.

  • 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 recreation field includes stakeholders and providers from the not-for-profit, private and public sectors; including volunteers, paid staff, community groups, educators, researchers, organizations and governments that work collectively to enhance individual and community wellbeing through recreation.

  • Vision

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


    The values that guide the Framework are: public good, inclusion and equity, sustainability, and lifelong participation.

    Principles of Operation

    The principles of operation underlying the Framework are: outcome-driven, quality and relevance, evidence-based, partnerships, and innovation.

  • Goal 1: Active Living

    Foster active living through physical recreation.


    • Recreation participation throughout the life course
    • Physical literacy
    • Play
    • Reduce sedentary behaviours


    Goal 2: Inclusion & Access

    Increase access to recreation for populations that face constraints to participation.


    • Equitable participation for all regardless of differences such as: socioeconomic status, age, culture, race, Aboriginal status, gender, ability, sexual orientation, or geographic location.


    Goal 3: Connecting People & Nature

    Help people connect to nature through recreation.


    • Natural spaces and places are provided
    • Comprehensive systems of parks are accessible
    • Public awareness and education are promoted
    • Negative impacts to the natural environment are minimized


    Goal 4: Supportive Environments

    Ensure the provision of supportive physical and social environments that encourage participation in recreation and help to build strong, caring communities.


    • Essential spaces and places are provided
    • Existing structures and spaces are being used for a variety of purposes
    • Aging infrastructure is being renewed
    • Active transportation is prevalent
    • Partnerships are maximized
    • Recreation education campaigns are established
    • Assessment tools used to ensure accountability
    • Community initiatives are aligned


    Goal 5: Recreation Capacity

    Ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the recreation field.


    • Increase collaborative efforts among all levels of the recreation field
    • Career development to attract and educate new leaders
    • Support advanced education in recreation
    • Provide development opportunities for organizations and individuals (professional and volunteer)
    • Develop community leadership strategies
    • Rejuvenate and update volunteer strategies
    • Support knowledge development to increase research efforts, data availability, support materials, and the development of new/enhanced post-secondary program

Framework News & Resources

Framework and Quebec Recreation Policy

Framework and Quebec Recreation Policy

In 2015, A Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015: Pathways to Wellbeing (The Framework) was released, designed to “guide and stimulate coordinated policies and practices in recreation and related jurisdictions...
Framework Alignment Tool

Framework Alignment Tool

The Framework Alignment Tool was created to allow local governments and organizations to assess their current situation with respect to implementing the goals and priorities of the Framework for Recreation...
Framework One-Page Summary

Framework One-Page Summary

Looking to explain the Framework but don’t have time to read the full document? Download and print this one-page document (p. 17) which outlines the Vision, Values, Principles and Goals...
The Recreation Podcast

The Recreation Podcast

A platform for people in the public recreation sector to share their stories. Whether highlighting a success story or exposing a challenge, we have so much to learn from each other’s experiences.