State of the Industry: canfitpro edition!

canfitpro state of industry FIC image

Photo: Courtesy canfitpro

By Erin Phelan

By Erin Phelan

Fitness Industry Council of Canada

Twenty years ago, the lights went dark in Toronto. On August 14, 2003, more than 50 million people went without electricity after a huge power outage toppled grids. The blackout spanned roughly 24,000 square kilometers.


Inside the Metro Convention Centre, fitness professionals from around the world were gathered, straddling up and over benches, learning new choreography, racing in imaginary Tour de France rides, and getting the latest exercise science research. Suddenly, everything went dark – with no music, we fumbled around to get outside only to discover the chaos.


Who could predict this would only be one turbulent moment in our industry’s future.


This weekend, as fitness professionals gather in Toronto for the 30th anniversary of canfitpro, we are coming together as an even stronger version of ourselves. Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) will be presenting the State of the Industry session, gathering data from global partners, surveying members to bring the latest research and findings, and looking ahead at what is shaping and will shape our industry.


What we have discovered is that resilience runs deep in Canada. In spite of having the longest lockdowns in the world, losing members, taking on massive debt to stay afloat, and making the word “pivot” central to our business plans, Canadian gyms are still standing.


FIC, the not-for-profit trade association of the Canadian fitness industry, will present data from global partners, as well as insights from our members, on where the Canadian fitness industry stands midway through 2023, and where we are heading in 2024. The State of the Industry will feature a panel of experts who will share their expertise into the labor shortage gripping the fitness industry, the CEBA loans, how technology is changing and shaping our industry at a rapid pace, and much more.


Here are a few sneak peaks, and research FIC has gathered for the session:
  • At least 10 percent of fitness businesses closed between March 2020 and July 2023,
  • Many fitness businesses continue to grow, attracting more members than pre-pandemic. According to a July 2023 ABC Fitness Solutions report, gyms experienced record new sign ups in the first half of 2023.
  • According to an FIC survey, 58.4 percent of respondents say they have less members now than before the pandemic.
  • The CEBA loan deadline is a pressing concern for Canadian business owners
  • According to both the FIC survey and a 2022 industry survey from Two-Brain Business, most gyms have less than 300 members, with an average of 152 members
  • In a predictions report from Mindbody, fitness consumers will be seeking a more “whole-human” experience from their gym, taking into account wellness, recovery, mindfulness and much more.
  • Wearable and technology advancements, including AI, continue to trend.
  • While Generation Z is leading the way in membership sign-ups, older members (55+) spend on average much more each month in the gym.
  • Members use the gym as much for mental health as they do for physical health. In fact, since COVID, mental and social motivators, as well as well-rounded physical health, are top priorities for Canadians.


FIC will also provide updates on our lobbying efforts, including the continuing campaign to revise line 33099 of our tax forms to allow Canadians to claim gym memberships on their taxes as a medical expense.


As we come together in Toronto this weekend, the message stronger together has never been more relevant. Join Fitness Industry Council of Canada on Friday, August 18th at 4:00 PM for the State of the Industry presentation, and join the FIC today!

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.

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