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

Pedestrian killed on Highway 22 Saturday evening

Police say 51-year-old man died after being hit by car

UPDATE: DriveBC says highway re-opened after accident

Highway 22 closed for seven hours on Saturday

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read