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.

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

Manluk Centre/ Impress
Manluk Centre re-opens to the public

Drop in and registered programs will be available; one-third facility capacity to be followed.

File photo
Leduc RCMP request assistance to identify armed robbery suspect

Leduc RCMP are looking for male responsible for an armed robbery at Super Car and RV Wash in Leduc.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Most Read