December was a busy and productive month for the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.
“We obtained an audience with the federal Finance Committee where we stressed the importance of our industry being a part of the solution in terms of the national recovery efforts,” says Fitness Industry Council of Canada President Scott Wildeman.
The industry’s message to the government was that a focus on preventative health is now more important than ever.
In the discussion, FIC made three specific requests:
- Positive messaging from Health Canada regarding the benefits of physical activity and fitness training and coaching
- Inclusion of fitness memberships and fitness training and coaching as a personal income tax deductible health care expense
- Funding to expand the Prescription to Get Active program across Canada, linking primary health care to fitness and wellness resources in communities across the country
FIC also met with members of the federal Health Committee and the Minister of Health’s office to discuss the Prescription to Get Active program in greater detail.
There seems to be a keen interest from both the Finance and Health Committees, says Wildeman.
FIC Provincial Coalitions Continue to Grow
Membership numbers in provincial coalitions have been increasing steadily each month. As a result, FIC will be restructuring its industry financial statements to present each province as a unique entity. It was agreed that this restructuring will allow provinces to have more autonomy and accountability for their financials, regarding both revenue generation and expenses.
“Each province is unique in terms of its needs associated with its respective Health ministries,” says Wildeman. “They should have flexibility when it comes to lobbying efforts and initiatives such as petitions, videos and websites.”
Moving forward, FIC is working hard to be represented at the upcoming March federal budget.
“There will likely be an election this year,” says FIC Executive Director Trisha Sarker, “So now is the time to really push the government and to lobby for fitness initiatives to be included in election platforms.”
With rent relief expiring in June, FIC will also be encouraging the government to extend that end date.