9. More Canadians involved in amateur sport as coaches, referees and spectators

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In addition to active participation in amateur sport, Canadians are also involved in sport indirectly as coaches, referees, umpires, administrators and spectators. This indirect involvement has increased over the years in contrast to the declining trend in sport participation.

This may be a short term trend driven by younger baby-boomers who are involved in their children's sport activities. Therefore, the upward trend may diminish or even reverse direction as they become empty nesters.

The GSS data show that, as sport participation declined from 45% in 1992 to 28% in 2005, adult Canadians' indirect involvement in sport as spectators at amateur events increased from 24% in 1992 to 35% in 2005.

Chart 17
Involvement in amateur sport by type of participation, 1992, 1998 and 2005

9.1 Female coaches outnumber their male counterparts in amateur sport

Volunteers are an important element of amateur sport in Canada. They donate time and energy to amateur sport organizations across the country. In 2005, the number of amateur coaches reached 1.8 million, up from 1.7 million in 1998 and more than double the 840,000 observed in 1992.

In 2005, 7% of Canadians were involved in amateur coaching. This compares with 4% in 1992 when men dominated the field. In 2005, the tables turned and female coaches outnumbered their male counterparts by a slight margin. Women increased their number to 882,000, 15% higher than in 1998 and more than quadruple the 200,000 recorded in 1992. Over the same period, the number of male coaches dropped 9% to 874,000. More than half of the amateur coaches (53%) are between the ages of 35 and 54.

Chart 18
Involvement in amateur sport as a coach by sex, 1992, 1998 and 2005

Chart 19
Involvement in amateur sport as as coach by age, 1992, 1998 and 2005

The 2005 GSS data showed that involvement in coaching increased with higher education and income. This was similar to the pattern seen in 1998 and 1992. The rate of involvement in amateur coaching for families with some secondary schooling or less was 5% in 2005. It was 8% for those where a household member had a postsecondary diploma and 10% for households with at least one university degree.

Families with household incomes of under $20,000 reported a participation rate in coaching of 3% in 2005, up from less than 2% in 1992. This compares with 12% for families with household incomes of $80,000 or more in 2005.

Table 12
Canadians (15 years and older) who participated in amateur sport as a coach, 2005