National Teams Program – FAQ

Click here to visit the National Teams  page.

Athletics Canada has constructed the following frequently asked questions relating to high performance and national team programs after a survey was conducted by the athlete representatives. The survey was administered to carded athletes and their coaches in order to gather information, identify communication gaps and with the intention and commitment from Athletics Canada to address these areas. The FAQ below addresses the identified areas, if you have a question you would like answered please send it to Athletics Canada will attempt to answer as many recurring questions as possible.

Q – How do I get selected to a national team?

A – Carefully read the Selection Criteria posted. The criteria will outline all of the required standards and eligibility regulations that you must meet in order to be considered for selection to a national team.

You must also submit the athlete declaration form by the prescribed deadline; failure to submit this form in its entirety can result in non-selection. Once selected to a team, you will be contacted by a member of the National Team Department with further information.

Q – Who makes decisions about national team selections?

A – The first draft of the National Team criteria is prepared by the Head Coach (Peter Eriksson). A more advanced draft is then communicated to the National Team Committee which then offers feedback and ultimately approves the final version of the criteria itself. The National Team Committee includes Chief Executive Officer Rob Guy, Head Coach Peter Eriksson, 2 provincial representatives, the 2 athletes’ representatives.

Q – Who do I contact if I want to appeal a decision about team selection or carding?

A – Appeal information and process is outlined in all criteria. Athletics Canada’s Policies, Rules and Bylaws– Section II – Rule 140 outlines everything you need to know about the appeals ‘process. While anyone can contact the Head Coach (Peter Eriksson) for information, an official appeal must be submitted to the Chief Executive Officer (Rob Guy).

Q – Which forms do I need to fill out if I’m on a national team?

A – All national team members must complete the Personal Information Form, Medical Information Form, and Uniform Sizing Form and acknowledge the Member Conduct Policy. If you are under 18, you’ll need parental and/or guardian and medical written permission to participate on a national team (Minor Travel Authorization Form and Physician`s Note). Visit the National Team Resources Page for more information. All forms can be submitted online.

Q – Who books my plane ticket? 

A – Athletics Canada will book both your domestic flights and your international flights. Athletes should not book their own tickets as the cost of your ticket is included in your team fee. Details about travel plans are included in the selection criteria document.

Athletes must travel as per the outlined travel dates in the selection criteria. Special permission from Athletics Canada and the team’s head coach must be requested in writing by the athlete if he/she wants to travel outside of the designated team travel dates. Don’t forget to put your departure and arrival city or airport closest to you on your declaration form.

Athletes travelling with equipment (e.g. pole vault poles or throwing implements) are asked to make their own arrangements to ensure that their equipment arrives at the event site on-time. Typically throwers are able to check their implements in their luggage. Athletics Canada will assist with the shipment of vaulting poles where needed but cannot make any guarantees in terms of arrival times. If athletes are unable to check their vaulting poles on their flights,

Q – Do I need a valid passport? When are visas required and how do I get one?

A – Yes, you must possess a valid passport; please make sure that it does not expire before 6 months after your return from travelling.

VISAs are required to enter some countries. Athletics Canada will obtain the visa for you if one is necessary, however we will need your passport, a photo and a completed visa application form. Exact details will be communicated to you and will be posted on the website.

Q – Do I need to buy travel insurance or am I covered through Athletics Canada?

A – Athletics Canada has an excess medical insurance policy through BFL Canada Insurance for all participating. This means that if you do have to get medical treatment while out of the country you will have to submit your receipts to your personal insurance and/or your provincial insurance first. If neither of those cover your costs, then you can put in a claim through BFL Canada. Your team manager will have exact details in case you need to follow this process.

For most self-funded teams, Athletics Canada will purchase cancellation insurance for your plane ticket. This covers the cost of the flight if you are injured prior to departure. If tickets are purchased without cancellation insurance due to the short timeframe between selection and departure and an athlete cannot attend the event he/she will be required to pay for that ticket.

Q – Who books my hotel room? Will I have a roommate? Can my coach, family, friends stay with me?

A – Usually the event organizers will book accommodations for the team. Rooms are based on double-occupancy and rooming lists will be created in advance by the Team Manager. Non team-members are not allowed to stay in the meet hotel, however in most cases, additional hotels will be recommended. Personal coaches are also not allowed to stay with the athletes.

Q – How do I become a staff member (coach, manager, medical) on a national team?

A – National team staff applications are posted on the staffing page in the fall of every year and are typically due by early December. Staffing decisions are made by the National Team Committee and Medical Committee.

Q – I’ve been selected as a staff member on a national team – where do I find more information about my responsibilities?

A – Each staff member will be contacted by the head office upon selection and prior to the event with further details about his/her responsibilities, obligations as well as travel dates, etc. We encourage all staff members to thoroughly read the National Team Staff Manual and all documents that are forwarded by the national office.

Q – Who are the athlete reps and how are they established?

A – Inaki Gomez and Jennifer Joyce are your current athlete representatives (2014). Athlete reps are elected to two-year terms by carded athletes and national team members; they represent all Athletics Canada member athletes by sitting on the Board of Directors and as members of the National Team Committee.

Q – What is the athlete council?

A – The athlete council is an advisory committee chaired by the two athlete representatives. The council is designed to have one athlete from each of the 8 event groups (Sprints/Hurdles, Throws, Jumps, Multi-Events, Walks, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Wheelchair) to provide a forum in which National Team athletes may identify issues, recommend solutions, and generally express their needs and concerns to the Association. From these discussions the athlete reps can relay the ideas and concerns of the athletes to the appropriate Athletic Canada committees as well as the Board of Directors.

Current athlete council

Michael LeBlanc – Sprints/Hurdles

Jennifer Joyce – Throws

Jillian Drouin – Jumps

Jessica Zelinka – Multi-Events

Inaki Gomez – Walks

Jason Dunkerley – Middle Distance

Alex Genest – Long Distance

OPEN – Wheelchair

Oluseyi Smith – COC Athlete Commission Liason


Q – How do I contact the athlete representatives?

A – The best way to contact your athlete reps is via e-mail

Inaki Gomez

Jennifer Joyce


Q – What is Own the Podium (OTP)?

The staff at OTP is responsible for assessing the performance potential of Canadian high performance sports (both individual and team), for determining Canadian podium targets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and for making recommendations for the allocation of excellence dollars provided by the national funding parties. OTP is operating as such in an independent fashion and has authority to take professional decisions based on a top down approach which targets specific sports.

The priority areas for OTP enhanced excellence funding are coaching/technical leadership, training/competition, sports science/medicine support, capacity to manage an effective high performance program and research and innovation.

OTP works in partnership with the Funding Parties (The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), Sport Canada), the National Sport Organizations (NSOs) such as Athletics Canada and the Canadian Sport Centres (CSCs) in order to implement its recommendations.

Q – How is OTP funding determined?

A –

  • By a top down approach. OTP first starts with the Priority 1 sports (such as rowing, diving and canoe-kayak) then go to Priority 2 sports (this is where we are – Athletics along with Swimming, etc.) and Priority 3&4 sports.
  • Funding recommended by OTP is intended to supplement or enrich the existing core HP program in order to increase the potential for podium results – accordingly, recipient organizations (such as AC) are expected to maintain their historically committed allocation of other HP resources to support the program (both Sport Canada Core Support and NSO Discretionary).
  • OTP funding, based on the outcome of the End of Quadrennial Review, is indicative for two (2) years for sports in OTP Category 3; and for four (4) years for sports in OTP Categories 1 and 2 (such as Athletics)
  • Support for full time National Team Coaching and High Performance Director positions will generally be indicative for four (4) years.
  • In all cases, recommendations for ongoing funding support are dependent on the sport meeting its annual performance targets as laid out by the NSO (such as Athletics Canada).

Q – How do funding streams and revenues dictate how selection criteria and carding standards/criteria are determined?

A – The key concept here is alignment. The carding system, as with everything else, needs to be aligned with AC Strategic Plan components – especially the High Performance Plan. Both Sport Canada and OTP expect the NSO to ensure alignment of their programs.

Q – Is AC handcuffed to certain selection criteria?

A – No, AC must however work in an aligned fashion. Systems and related selection criteria to be put in place for international competitions and especially the major ones – such as the Olympic/Paralympic Games and the (Senior) World Championships– must be designed in such a way that it would ensure podium and World Top 8 results as per AC High Performance Plan. It must therefore ensure to create / put in place the very best professional environment and professional support personal for the selected athletes – no compromise must be made on the quality of these elements. In designing its major international competitions projects and related criteria, AC must also take into account the logistical framework in which it would need to operate including the accreditation quotas, etc.

Q – If selection criteria are determined by OTP funding, why doesn’t AC have more options for self-funded teams?

A Selection criteria are NOT determined by OTP funding.

AC approaches each National Team project under the framework of its Strategic Plan (SP) approved by its constituency. AC staff is responsible to put together criteria that would fit with the SP. In general (for all teams – including developmental teams, off track programs, etc.) the criteria must be designed to ensure genuine competitiveness once at the targeted event.

None of the track & field international competition projects are completely self funded as AC always provides a certain level of financial support from its own discretionary funds. For major projects such as the Olympic / Paralympic Games, (Senior) World Championships, Commonwealth and Pan Am Games self funding is inexistent.

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