Canadian Active After School Partnership

Organization Sponsor: PHE Canada - see Physical and Health Education Canada


Program Description

The Canadian Active After School Partnership is a collaboration of nine national organizations, coordinated by Physical and Health Education Canada.

The Canadian Active After School Partnership is a comprehensive, collaborative and multi-dimensional initiative that will establish a program delivery framework targeting all levels of government, decision makers, non-profit and for profit organizations and front line staff as well as others with a commitment in quality after school programs.

The objective of this initiative is to enhance the delivery of quality after-school programs that involve increased access and opportunity to engage in physical activity and healthy living and nutrition practices, with the ultimate goal of increasing physical activity levels and healthy eating practices of Canada’s children and youth. The success for this initiative will be marked by reaching or exceeding the 2015 Canadian Physical Activity Targets.

A collaborative of nine national organizations, coordinated by PHE Canada, have been supported and initially funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop and begin implementation of a Pan-Canadian After-School framework initially until 2012.

The aim of this initiative is to:

* influence policy development and enhancements to support better use of facilities, inclusion and equitable access for all;
* knowledge development through social marketing/communication campaigns, better access to resources and support tools, and sharing of best/promising practices;
* Training and capacity building among program leaders.

The CAASP Partnership is proud to launch the Active After School Hub. This website is intended to act as a social networking space for practitioners and decision-makers within the after school sector. Here, community members will be able to find the resources to help deliver active after school programs, engage with a community of their peers, and advocate for better programs and greater public access to them.

The Public Health Agency is funding PHE Canada to provide a lead role with this multi-dimensional, collaborative initiative. PHE Canada will co-fund and work in partnership with the following national/provincial organizations:
• Active Healthy Kids Canada
• Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability
• Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada,
• Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity
• Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute
• Canadian Parks and Recreation Association
• Green Communities Canada
• Physical and Health Education Canada
• YMCA Canada
These organizations will work with a variety of additional partners at the national, provincial and

Program Approximate Cost: 

$5 million investment over 2 years

Funding Sources: 

Public Health Agency of Canada

Strategies For Sustainability: 

The Initiative has been funded for two years ending March 31, 2012 with a strong likelihood for continuation beyond 2012.

Impact Of Program: 

As part of their involvement in the Canadian Active After School Partnership, four of the partners undertook consultations with practitioners and policy makers to identify successes, challenges, and promising practices related to after school programming for children and youth. The outcome of the consultations will be to inform after school policy, and provide recommendations to inform the framework that will guide after school practitioners across Canada to increase physical activity levels and healthy eating through after school programming.
Each partner host took responsibility for hosting a consultation with emphasis on a particular aspect of after school programming. In all 5 consultations were held between March 18 and April 6, 2011. Each addressed the particular considerations for engaging target populations or addressing barriers to participation in after school programs.

Evaluation Tools: 

The After School Consultations occurred over a 3 week period. Therefore, the decision was made by partner organizations to share 5 key messages from one consultation to the next as a means of validating discussions and ensuring that these topics were considered by all groups. However, care was given to ensure that key messages were shared later in the day so as not to unduly influence the input of participants prior to soliciting their input.

Key Elements Towards Success: 

The Public Health Agency of Canada is implementing a new approach to funding by establishing a Contribution Agreement with a lead organization (PHE Canada) that will then co-fund a range of important partners. The objective of this unique approach is to better establish strong/collaborative initiatives that will support a number of organizations working towards a common mission. While this approach is different, all organizations are enthused about the opportunity to work closely together to share resources and maximize the potential to influence the healthy, active practices of children and youth across Canada. Further, the project will explore opportunities to link to other programs and funding programs to build on the potential of this initiative.

Challenges To Meet Them: 

In 2010, children and youth took an average of 11,800 steps daily. Activity (daily steps) decreases by age group, and is lower among young people living in lower income households. Canada’s new physical activity guidelines recommend that young people accumulate 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity daily, but only 9% of boys and 4% of girls meet this level on most days of the week. Sadly, Canada has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the developed world, ranking fifth out of 34 OECD* countries. In 1978, 12 per cent of children and adolescents aged 2 to 17 years were overweight and 3 per cent were obese — for a combined overweight/obesity prevalence of 15 per cent. By 2004, 18 per cent were overweight and eight per cent were obese — a combined prevalence of 26 per cent (Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids, 2007).
The after school time period (3 – 6pm) is a critical determinant of childhood physical activity. Approximately 50% of total daily steps taken by children and youth occur in this time period. Many children and youth left alone during the after school time period tend to watch television, use the computer, or play video games instead of playing outdoors, both by child preference and through parental directive (safety concerns). Researchers also report poor eating habits and increased crime and antisocial behaviour during this time.

Length and Stage of Project: 


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