ED Blog #4 – Can CEC provide more transparency regarding its Financial Situation?

Jun 14, 2023

We receive questions daily about the finances of CEC. We have received complaints that registrations and licenses are expensive, that the sport should be more accessible, that CEC should invest more in its athletes, etc. We hear you, and we agree with you. We would love to be able to offset the financial burden of climbing competitions, and supply our athletes with the very best. The unfortunate reality is that the CEC runs on a very limited budget, resulting in difficult decisions on what can and cannot be feasible, from a financial perspective.

You asked for more transparency from your organization, and we want to provide it. You can now view all of CEC’s Audited Financial Statements on the CEC Policy Page. This blog will provide a lot of information regarding our financial status. Despite this blog being very long (sorry for the long read!), it does not cover everything involved in budgeting for a National Sport Organization (NSO). CEC’s annual budget hovers just under $1m. It is very small compared to other NSO in Canada.

Cost to run events

Although we strive to keep costs as low as possible, hosting a climbing competition is very expensive. On average, it costs $45,000 to run one single discipline event, and CEC currently loses $5,000 to $20,000 per event! Here is the average expenses breakdown by budget category for the 2022-2023 Season Events:

With the inflation rate in Canada affecting expenses such as travel, accommodation, taxes, rental costs, etc, you can expect that the 2023-2024 Season will be more expensive than the above. With an inflation rate of 4.4%, we can assume that our next season will cost, at a minimum, $47,000 per event. If we target a breakeven point where the Participants Registration Fees would cover the cost of hosting an event, here is how much we should have charged per participants this past season:

You may be wondering why Senior Events this season have been so much more expensive than Youth Events? There are two main reasons to this:

  • Participation numbers: we have an average of 120 participants per discipline for Senior Events, compared to 240 for Youth Events, so double the registration revenues for youth
  • We don’t pay for a livestream for Youth Regionals, and we limited the scope of the livestream for Youth Nationals. We spent close to $14,000 on livestream for Senior Nationals alone, while we paid $5,000 in livestream for the entire Youth events (regionals and nationals).

CEC would rather not increase the registration cost for the athletes, so we need to reduce expenses and increase revenues through alternative sources of funding. That being said, with inflation and decrease in overall sport funding, CEC may have to raise registration costs next season. This is still under consideration at this time.

Athlete Licenses

The revenues generated from Licenses (athletes, coaches, officials) allows CEC to “keep the lights on”. It helps us cover operation costs such as Insurance, Legal Fees, Audit and Financials costs, Abuse-Free Sport Contribution Fees, Website Fees, and more. The license is also a requirement for participants, in order to be covered under CEC’s insurance. Since these fees go toward the operating costs of the CEC, the fees from licenses are not taken into consideration when calculating events revenues. Licenses Revenues represent about 10% of CEC’s overall Revenues. Here is a breakdown of Licenses Revenues for this past season:

Tourism Funding

Do you know that Sports Tourism is a very important piece of the Canadian economy? Cities and Provinces, through their tourism bureau, have budgets to support events in their jurisdiction. Some have more, some have less. One of the most important criteria needed to receive event funding from tourism organizations is the number of hotel nights that are generated through the event. This is why CEC offers a Hotel Partner when hosting our events – by directing our participants to the local hotel, we receive grants from the tourism groups. AirBnBs do not count toward this calculation. By spending your accommodation dollars in the recommended hotel, you support CEC in receiving more grants. This can make a huge difference in the participation cost!

Sport Canada Funding

Sport Canada has financially supported CEC since 2018, and we are extremely grateful for the trust they put in our organization. On average, Sport Canada funding represents 30% of CEC overall revenues.

That being said, you may be surprised to know that CEC is not yet a funded NSO. The main reason we receive funding from Sport Canada is because we are an Olympic Sport. We fit in a category called Other Supported Initiatives (OSI), along with Canada Skateboard, Surf Canada, and other non-funded NSOs.

In order to be a fully-funded NSO, CEC needs to apply to the Sport Funding and Accountability Framework (SFAF). Unfortunately, this program has been closed to new applications since 2017. CEC wasn’t ready to apply pre-2017. We are currently well-organized and ready to apply, but we have not been given the opportunity to do so. The SFAF was closed for redesign, and will be replaced by a new Funding Framework, which was initially launched in the summer of 2022. However, the need to increase accountability on NSOs to create safer and more inclusive sport environments has resulted in the decision to postpone the program indefinitely. At this time, we are still waiting for news of when this program will open in the future.

In the meantime, CEC remains an OSI. Sport Canada first distributes its funding to the SFAF organizations, and with the funds remaining, it then funds the OSI. Sport Canada funding is public information, so here is the funding received by CEC over the years.

*Despite being currently in the 2023-2024 fiscal year, we have not yet received a confirmation of funding. We have planned our budgets with the expectation that we will receive the same Core funding as previous years, and we know that the COVID Recovery Funding has come to an end. When compared with last year’s funding, this represents a cut of 48.83%. We understood that the COVID Recovery Funding was a limited time opportunity, and we must now find ways to increase and diversify our revenues.


CEC understands the value of sponsorship. Our relationship with Arc’Teryx has been a key component of the CEC’s ability to function, and we are incredibly grateful for its generous support. Arc’Teryx continues to be an amazing partner that understands the constraints on high performance, and has committed to our High Performance Athletes in multiple ways (uniforms donation, cash support, in-kind donations). We can’t express how much we value their commitment to climbing in Canada and internationally – Thank You!

The sport sponsorship landscape in Canada is extremely competitive. And unfortunately, recent negative press stories at other NSOs has resulted in many companies deciding to pull away from sponsorships, deeming them to be risky investments. This in turn increases the difficulty to sign potential new sponsors. CEC has hired Sport & Entertainment Atlantic (SEA), a marketing and relation firm, to support our efforts to attract new sponsors. SEA has agreed to work for a commission on eventual sponsorships, which is, in itself, a sponsorship!

With the help of SEA, CEC has knocked on hundreds of doors in the last year. Despite having an incredible product that showcases strong and resilient athletes, doors have remained firmly shut. The main reason why sponsors aren’t interested is that climbing still does not have a lot of mainstream exposure. Livestreams are one way for sponsors to get visibility into our sport, but the cost of the livestream is becoming too prohibitive. A real “egg or chicken” issue!.

If you or your organization want to support the CEC in a sponsorship capacity we would love to hear from you. Please contact chair@climbingcanada.ca, and let’s have a discussion.


Did you know that CEC is a Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Association (RCAAA)? What is that you ask? RCAAA are subsets of Charity Organizations with CRA. This means CEC can issue charitable tax receipts in exchange for donations. We are also a qualified donnee for those of you who may have a donation program at work.

This is a great option for individuals to support CEC, and get a little something in return. Head out to our website to make a donation today: DONATE – Climbing Escalade Canada (climbingcanada.ca)

In conclusion

I sincerely hope that you have found this blog interesting! I personally love this topic – I love numbers! In conclusion, I would love to see the CEC bring in higher and more diverse revenue numbers, and I would love to support higher investment on our athletes and programs. There is so much more we could be doing, if we were financially capable. The current reality of our financial status has been really hard on all of us at the CEC, and we have been doing our best with our limited budget to create the best experiences for all our athletes. We firmly believe that sport has the power to create communities, relieve stress, and improve our mental health, and we all strive to offer quality opportunities to the athletes in our community.

Please let me know if you have any other questions regarding finances or others.


Christiane Marceau
YOUR Executive Director

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