Posted by Editoress on 04/22/20
Sports federations around the world have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and many have had to reduce or cut programs and furlough/lay off staff, including the UCI, British Cycling and USA Cycling. We reached out to Matt Jeffries, Executive Director of Cycling Canada, to see what the situation was with Canada's national cycling federation.
Canadian Cyclist: First, overall, how has it been for CCC [Cycling Canada Cyclisme], given the requirements to work at home, shifting announcements from the UCI, federal and provincial governments, etc.? Have you been able to set things up so that you can continue to function properly? What are some of the things you have had to do?
Matt Jeffries: From an administrative standpoint the adjustment has been relatively straightforward. We have a fairly decentralized team that is constantly travelling for projects and events, so we are accustomed to working remotely and communicating accordingly. Like many organizations, we have begun to use online conferencing platforms such as Zoom much more frequently and are now forced to meet and communicate almost exclusively this way. Our entire staff have been working from home since March 16th, and many of our staff were working remotely quite a bit in the weeks leading up to that, given the emerging concerns. The more challenging situation was the initial response around ensuring health, safety and repatriation for many of our athletes and staff who were in various parts of the world when the crisis initially hit and lockdowns began.
CC: Second, there have been statements from various federations - UCI, USAC, British Cycling, etc. - about how they are furloughing staff, cutting salaries, etc. What has CCC had to do? Have you had to make some similar staffing decisions as other federations?
MJ: Cycling Canada is fortunate to not be in such a situation for the time being. No doubt, we will see some challenges ahead with private source revenues, particularly as it pertains to corporate sponsorships, membership fees, fundraising and event related revenues; it's too early to determine exactly what level of impact we'll ultimately see, but we are closely monitoring the situation to the best of our ability. At present our private source revenues account for about 15%-20% of our total budget.
From a public funding perspective we are in a relatively stable and secure position. Our funding partners such as Sport Canada, OTP [Own the Podium] and the COC/CPC [Canadian Olympic Committee/Canadian Paralympic Committee] have been incredibly supportive through this process. We've been assured that funding levels will remain unaffected for 2020 and 2021, and each of these partners has worked to ensure stability and adequate cash flow for the sport system throughout the crisis.
From a community perspective we will see some significant challenges, given the extent to which many of our provincial partners, clubs and event organizers rely on membership revenues and participant fees to fund programs and operating budgets. It will be important for us to look for ways to support these partners and support the cycling community through this difficult period, and that is a major focus for us at the moment.
CC: Third, obviously, you have had to postpone/cancel events as various governments have instituted restrictions. Where are we now with the national schedule? I know everything up to (but not including Road Nationals) is cancelled or postponed; can you provide an outline for the rest of the summer - say, until August 31st? How will the Quebec government restriction on public sport events until August 31st impact the calendar, given so many are in Quebec - are you considering moving to different provinces?
MJ: We are continuing to monitor the situation in collaboration with our regional, provincial and federal partners to make the best possible decisions with regards to the 2020 national calendar and other cycling activities. We will be postponing our next announcement until April 27th in order to have more information available to make the best possible decisions with regards to our next steps. Next steps will include the rescheduling of as many Canadian Championships events as possible while following the restrictions and guidelines in place by the various health authorities. With that said, health and safety of our members and our athletes/staff will remain our top priority.
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