Athletes from Canada march in during the closing ceremony in the Maracana stadium at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 21, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Goldman.

Canada’s Olympians and Paralympians get a pay raise

This increase, of about 18 per cent, is the first since 2004.

A pay raise for Canada’s Olympians and Paralympians is rolling out with the Winter Games just weeks away.

Sports Minister Kent Hehr revealed details of the increased money going into the Athletes Assistance Program on Friday at WinSport, where many athletes train.

They receive monthly “carding” cheques from the AAP for living expenses and sport costs their federations don’t cover.

A senior card is now worth $1,765 a month, an increase of $265. Development card athletes get $1,060, which is a top-up of $160.

It’s the first increase since 2004.

“This is an 18-per-cent increase to what they were getting before,” Hehr said.

“This will allow them the freedom to go out and compete, the freedom for them to train, the freedom then to not worry about rent or food. For many of our athletes, they were getting to that critical point.”

About 1,900 athletes get carding money.

“It seems like not a lot but I know for athletes, that means you can make better choices at the grocery store,” Olympic champion wrestler Erica Wiebe said.

“You can not have to worry so much about where you’re driving and gas money. This is the everyday living and training expenses that athletes choose. That extra 18 per cent means the world to the high-performance athletes here in Canada.”

READ MORE: Hudson’s Bay Co. unveils kit for Pyeongchang Olympics

Former luger Jeff Christie, who chairs the Canadian Olympic Committee’s athletes’ commission, and Olympic champion paddler Adam van Koeverden led the charge for the first raise in 13 years.

“I was an athlete the last time they raised it,” Christie said. “We went from $1,200 to $1,500 and I felt like I was the king.”

Tuition money has also jumped $500 to a maximum of $5,500 per year. Other grants such as child-care support come out of the AAP, which has a budget of $33 million for 2017-18.

The federal government committed in the March budget to pump an extra $5 million annually into the AAP.

Athletes didn’t know until Friday exactly how that would impact the dollar amount on their cheques as they didn’t receive a raise right away.

So they’re also due for a bonus. It was announced they’re eligible for retroactive pay on the increases for the 2017-18 fiscal year that started April 1.

The 2018 Winter Olympics open Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, followed by the Paralympic Games in March.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Masset Remembers

Veterans, the Legion, the RCMP and the town came out to honour all those who have bravely served

Freezing rain warning issued for central Interior Remembrance Day

Highway alerts in place for Begbie Summitt and Pine Pass

Saturday morning earthquake hits waters off Haida Gwaii

No injuries reported, tsunami not expected

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

Arts and culture boost for Haida Gwaii

More than $45,000 heading to the islands through B.C. Community Gaming Grants

Remembrance Day observed in Sandspit

Songs and poetry mark the ceremony

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

B.C. teacher suspended for incessantly messaging student, writing friendship letter

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Most Read