Youth Sports Strong

Any and all donations are appreciated - $10, $20, $50, or whatever you can contribute.

We are a group of parents and interested parties raising funds to lift all of the Covid-19 restrictions on youth sports and activities including elite level amateur sports. An application and a Charter challenge has been filed with the Ontario Superior Court to lift the over reaching restrictions on team sports. If successful, it can also set precedent for other Canadian provinces. The goal now is to raise the funds required to go the distance. We are inviting others to join our cause - parents, coaches, amateur and student athletes, trainers and clinics, supporting businesses, sponsors and donors, or anyone else who has an interest in preserving the mental health and development of our children, youth and elite amateur athletes. We would also appreciate any personal experiences that people have to offer for the application.

There are 7 professional sports leagues in Canada - all adult males - that are exempt from these restrictions. Minor, high school, and elite amateur sports programs are restricted in Ontario, but not in other Canadian provinces with similar Covid-19 case rates. Medical Officers of Health in Canada believe it is safe to play sports - if you are a male professional athlete or participate in sports outside the province of Ontario. That is discrimination.

The COVID-19 lockdowns affect everyone. However, the most catastrophic effect of the lockdowns is its effect on the mental health and development of our children and youth. For the better part of a year now, kids have not attended school, been isolated from friends and play, and not participated in unrestricted sports and activities. The inability to lead a normal life has caused children to develop serious mental health conditions:

In a Jan. 25, 2021, news release, the Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario stated that “pediatricians are seeing a sharp increase in suicidal attempts, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, overdoses, eating disorders, obesity, and late presentation of a host of medical conditions in patients."

In 2020, 4 million kids reached out to Kids Help Phone. This more than doubled the 1.9 million in 2019.

The list goes on...

Conversely, the Covid-19 virus itself has had literally no impact on youth in this country. In a heavily referenced open letter to our government, 100 Canadian doctors highlighted that “children are not at risk for serious outcomes for SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to other commonly encountered respiratory viruses, such as influenza," and that "current responses to the pandemic continue to include measures that infringe on the unique needs and rights of children." There are also many studies showing kids do not spread the virus easily, also evidenced by the success of school openings in the fall.

Yet we continue to see press conferences in which we are told our children and young people are at grave risk. We see parents who are terrified because they are not provided with or do not seek out the real information.

A unique cohort of young people are the elite amateur athletes who play college level and major junior sports.  This group is losing potentially life changing scholarships and professional opportunities as a couple examples.  These young adults have spent most of their lives preparing for a small window of time wherein they can realize their dreams.  In hockey, for instance, OHL players are watching their cohorts in other countries play their way into scholarships and draft positions while they aren't allowed to play despite ample evidence that it can be done safely.

As for the children, there is some promise. They are back in school - for now.  This is largely due to pressure from MPP Roman Baber and the 100 Canadian doctors that went to bat for our kids. An abusive public health measure for school children in Peel Region was also struck down recently, and acknowledged as a "mistake" because result of public outrage. This is clear evidence that change can be achieved with public pressure! There is no denying the importance of sports and activities to the social, mental, and physical health of our children, youth and elite amateurs. And, it is by no means impossible to implement an equally safe environment for amateur activities - the NHL has done a great job, with the additional task of preventing spread while dining in restaurants during lockdowns, as one example.

Our children, youth and elite amateur athletes are in big trouble. They have no voice to fight back. They need us to be that voice.

In terms of background, Glenn Edwards is a father of three who lives in Burlington, Ontario and Jason Fielden is a father of two in Oakville, Ontario.  Both Glenn and Jason coach football and their kids play various sports including hockey, football, soccer and golf amongst others.  The funds will be used for legal fees associated with the charter challenge described above - Glenn and Jason have engaged Ryan O'Connor of the Zayouna Law Firm in Toronto, Ontario.  Funds will be withdrawn to pay Zayouna invoices as received.


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Jason Fielden and Glenn Edwards 
Burlington, ON
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