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Economic Impact


The SPAR sector plays a vital role in Canada’s economy, contributing $37.2 billion annually, offering direct and indirect economic benefits.

Contributions to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

The SPAR sector contributes directly and indirectly to Canada’s GDP.

  • SPAR contributes $37.2 billion annually to Canada’s GDP, covering recreation, amusement, sport sectors, and retail sales.
    • In 2022, amusement and recreation GDP was $8.8 billion, while sport GDP reached $6.9 billion.

Sector Sales and Profits

Despite the sector’s strong economic performance and substantial government investments, public support for increased funding for SPAR initiatives remains high.

  • Retail sales of SPAR products reached $23.3 billion in 2022, a 7% increase from the previous year, contributing $21.5 billion to GDP.
  • In 2021, the “other amusement and recreation” sector reported a 7.7% profit margin, a 4.8% increase from the previous year, demonstrating resilience and growth.


SPAR supports hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout Canada. The sector also supports green jobs and youth employment, contributing to skills development and a sustainable future.

  • The sector provided roughly 260,000 jobs in 2022, an increase from 2021, indicating a recovery towards pre-pandemic levels. This is likely an underestimate as the analysis was unable to incorporate public sector employment in SPAR.
  • The amusement, recreation, and sport sector added 42,728 jobs in 2022 compared to 2021.


SPAR-related tourism is a significant economic driver in Canada, with international travellers playing a substantial role.

  • Sport and recreation-related tourism injects $7.4 billion into the Canadian economy annually.
    • This is driven by 16 million visitors, including 14.4 million domestic travellers ($4.1 billion), and 1.4 million international visitors ($3.3 billion).
    • International visitors, while only 10% of total visitors, account for 45% of SPAR-related tourism spending.
  • Recreation and entertainment make up 7.8% of Canada’s total tourism activities, contributing over $3.4 billion to the country’s tourism GDP.
  • Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, expenditures on recreation and entertainment increased from 2019 to 2022, along with a rise in outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking and visiting parks from 2019 to 2022.

Government Investment in SPAR

Government investments in infrastructure support the sector’s contribution to national economic stability and growth.

  • Canadian governments invested $2 billion in SPAR infrastructure in 2022, with $1.5 billion coming from municipalities. Some municipal investment could be from federal or provincial/territorial funding (e.g., through grants and contributions).
    • Benefits from municipal investment in SPAR infrastructure can be seen and felt at the federal and provincial levels.
  • Despite this investment, 61% of Canadians favor increased government funding for SPAR.
  • Investment levels are not keeping pace with the need to address aging infrastructure.
    • A coordinated effort amongst all three levels of government and the private sector is needed to develop a long-term, evidence-based investment strategy that maximizes the positive impacts of SPAR.