A Look at the Fitness Industry Council of Canada

Commercial Fitness

A Look at the Fitness Industry Council of Canada

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada is an association of fitness facility operators, representing over 5,000 facilities and four million members across Canada.

Here's what they're doing in an effort to improve the fitness industry for both exercisers and operators.

The following is a summarization of an education session from the 2015 IHRSA Convention, produced with full permission from IHRSA. The full-length video is available for purchase at ihrsastore.com.

About the Speakers

Dave Hardy is the President of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.

Trisha Sarker is the Executive Director of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.

Scott Wildeman is the Senior Vice President of Operations at International Fitness Holdings.

Hans Muench is the Director of the European Chapter at IHRSA.

Canadian Forum and Panel Presentation

Fitness Industry Canada

Fitness Industry Canada (FIC) represents more than 5,000 facilities in Canada with over four million members nationwide. The FIC pursues legislative avenues to better the industry for clients as well as facility operators.

A supportive fitness industry is vital. The FIC has opposed legislation that has the potential to significantly harm the industry. FIC is funded by donations and operates on a tight budget. A volunteer board manages the FIC. The board’s key roles are to set organizational direction, provide oversight and ensure the necessary resources the organization requires.

The Initiatives: The Adult Fitness Tax Credit

In 2013, a report released by the federal budget office, noted the implementation of an Adult Fitness Tax Credit which could cost the government more than $268 million over five years. If this Act is implemented, Canadians would be able to obtain a non-refundable tax credit of up to $500 for eligible physical programs costs, matched against their taxable income at 15 percent, or a maximum of $75 deducted for tax payable. The FIC is dedicated to lobbying the government to ensure the Act is implemented once the budget is balanced.

National Health and Fitness Day

In 2013, MP John Weston, of West Vancouver, introduced a private member’s bill to establish a National Health and Fitness Day. The bill encouraged local health clubs to open their facility doors on a complimentary basis the first Saturday of June each year. This bill hopes to benefit Canadians by encouraging participation in healthy physical activities at a time when obesity-related conditions such as diabetes are taking an increased toll on citizen health and the economy. Currently, more than 500 clubs have joined this initiative. In 2015, the government passed the bill.

Prescription to Exercise

In the last few years, the FIC has been promoting exercise in an effort to work with physicians. A proposal to develop a program has been made to the Canadian Medical Association. Studies show patients who are given prescriptions to exercise are more likely to commit.

In order to increase adherence after the program, FIC plans to place the patient on a membership during their first class.

FIC and the industry hope this prescription will cause clients to come to the gym on their own when they feel comfortable in the environment and remain members after the 12-week program.

FIC will continue supporting legislation that has the potential to better the fitness industry for consumers and operators throughout Canada.