There’s mounting evidence that the lack of access to physical activity facilities, spaces and programs during the pandemic has put more people than ever at risk of lowered immunity, heart disease, obesity, substance abuse and increased stress and loneliness. The risks are even greater for those in vulnerable communities.

The pandemic has highlighted the reality that our health is everything. Our collective physical and mental health is being eroded in dangerous ways. The current situation is unsustainable in terms of health outcomes and costs to the healthcare system.

New ideas, innovations and actions are urgently needed to address this parallel health crisis.

About Change for Good Health

Change for Good Health is a coalition of experts and leaders in the areas of fitness, medicine, healthcare, community development and academia, all of whom are committed to moving the needle on physical, mental and emotional health for people living in Canada during the pandemic.

Together, we’re aiming to drive toward collaborative evidence-based solutions to improve the overall health of people in Canada in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Experts will share their expertise and ideas at three Change for Good Health online roundtable discussions in February. Participant insights and ideas will inform a discussion document and recommendations, as well as a preliminary action plan to bring opportunities for physical activity to more people in Canada.


Some organizations taking part: Abilities Centre, Bootcamps for Change, Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health, Canadian Tire Jump Start Charities, Canadian Women & Sport, canfitpro, Diabetes Canada, Exercise is Medicine Canada, Global Wellness Institute, GoodLife Fitness, GoodLife Kids Foundation, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Jays Care Foundation, MLSE LaunchPad, Right To Play, Unsinkable, and YMCA of Greater Toronto.

Academic and medical experts participating in the round tables include Dr. Gordon Asmundson (psychology, University of Regina), Dr. Paul Oh (cardiology, University Health Network), Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed (kinesiology, University of Calgary) and Dr. Iris Lesser, (kinesiology, University of Fraser Valley), Dr. Bruce Kidd, sport and public policy, University of Toronto), among others.

I believe Canada should be the healthiest nation in the world. But to make that a reality, we have to give everyone the opportunity to be physically active. It should just be part of living here, like going to school or accessing healthcare.

- David Patchell-Evans, founder and CEO, Goodlife Fitness and Fit4Less
It's been frightening to see the way that the pandemic has even further discouraged participation in healthy physical activity, especially among some of the most vulnerable groups in Canadian society and exacerbated the already existing inequalities of opportunity and health.

- Dr. Bruce Kidd, former Olympian and professor of sport and public policy, University of Toronto
We know regular exercise is vital in managing cardiac health, as well as many other aspects of both physical and mental health. I firmly believe we need to find new ways to get people moving and help them adapt to healthier habits so they can manage through the pandemic and enjoy longer, more active lives over the longer term.

- Dr. Paul Oh, medical director of the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Toronto Rehab Institute
Breaking barriers for young people to participate in physical activity through innovative programming could not be more critical at this time. Our initiatives demonstrate how crucial exercise is for both optimal physical and mental health, in addition to providing structure, a social outlet, or even opportunities for employment.

- Katie Heggtveit, founder and director of impact, Bootcamps for Change