Quest for Gold Athlete Selection Criteria

Quest for Gold – Ontario Athlete Assistance Program 2012-2013


Quest for Gold – Ontario Athlete Assistance Program 2012-2013 (OAAP) is funded by the Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS), and operated through the Sport, Recreation & Community Programs Division.  The overarching goal of the Quest for Gold – OAAP is directly related to the High Performance Sport goals of the Canadian Sport Policy – to improve the performance and number of Ontario athletes performing at the national and international level; thereby contributing to the improved performance of Canada at international competitions. Specific objectives of the program are:

a)     To help athletes continue their pursuit of athletic excellence at the highest levels of national and international competition;
b)    To encourage athletes to stay in Ontario to live and train;
c)     To compensate athletes for earnings lost while training;
d)    To enable athletes to successfully pursue excellence in sport while fulfilling their educational goals;
e)     To increase athlete access to improved high performance coaching; and
f)     To enhance training and competitive opportunities available to athletes.

The program will provide direct financial assistance to Ontario junior-aged athletes through an “Ontario Card” designation.  “Junior-aged athlete” is defined as those athletes who fall within the eligible age range for the Canada Games – 11 to 22 years of age.  A PSO/MSO with a NSO-approved Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTADM) that identifies older athletes in the “Train to Train” and “Train to Compete” categories may apply to MTCS for a variation to this 11-22 age range. A PSO/MSO may choose to allocate a maximum of 30% of it’s carding allotment to athletes older than 22 years of age who have been identified as a potential next generation national team athlete by the PSO/MSO’s selection process.

The intent of the OAAP is to provide funding to individual athletes based on their demonstrated commitment to high performance sport, allowing them to pursue athletic excellence at the highest levels of national and international competition.

How does it work?

In accordance with the OAAP guidelines, Skate Ontario is responsible for developing sport specific selection criteria and forming a Selection Committee that will apply the criteria to select those athletes who will be awarded Ontario Card status in 2012-2013.  The Selection Criteria are approved by the Board of Directors and reviewed by MTCS staff.  Nominated athletes will be required to sign and comply with an Athlete Agreement between the athlete and Skate Ontario.  Carding status will be for one year starting April 1, 2012 ending March 31, 2013.

In 2012-2013, the MTCS allocated a certain amount of OAAP Ontario Cards to each eligible Provincial Sport / Multi-Sport Organization (PSO/MSO). SkateOntariohas been allotted a total of 16Ontariocards (split evenly as 8 male and 8 female Cards).

As a result, the 16 cards issued to Skate Ontario will be allocated as follows:

Male Female
Full Cards – 16 8 8

The Selection Committee, which has been approved by the PSO/MSO Board of Directors is comprised of the following members:

Tracey McCague McElrea, Executive Director, Skate Ontario
Wendy St. Denis, President, Skate Ontario
Steve Scherrer, Vice President, Skate Ontario
Louis Stong, Technical Consultant, Skate Ontario

How much funding is available?

The exact level of funding for the 2012-2013 carding year will be determined by the MTCS after the total number of athletes nominated for Ontario Card status has been determined.  Funding will be released prior to March 31, 2013.

How will the Skate Ontario Selection Committee decide who receives funding?

The Skate Ontario Selection Committee will use both the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eligibility Criteria and the Sport Specific Selection Criteria detailed below to determine which athletes will be nominated for Ontario Card status in 2012-2013:

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eligibility Criteria:

All athletes must meet the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s minimum athlete eligibility criteria:

  • Athlete must be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant.
  • Athlete must be a permanent resident of Ontario for one year prior to his/her nomination for carding status, (and continue to be a permanent resident throughout the term of the agreement).
  • Athletes who have achieved Canada Card status are not eligible for Ontario Cards.
  • Athletes must be living in and continuing to train in Ontario. Exceptions shall be made on a case specific basis by the PSO/MSO Selection Committee provided that the athlete can substantiate in writing at the time of application/nomination for carding status that:

(a)  He/She cannot receive the required level of training in Ontario and is out of the province temporarily during the year (i.e. due to lack of facilities, coaching, competitions);

(b)  He/She must attend a post-secondary institution out-of-province either because the course of study is not offered by an Ontario institution: or

(c)  It is more financially feasible to attend a post-secondary institution out-of-province, or other extenuating circumstances that require the athlete to be out of the province.

The onus is on the athlete to demonstrate that he/she needs to be out-of-province for one of the above reasons.  Any documentation required to clarify this “residency exception” must be submitted in its entirety to the Skate Ontario Selection Committee by no later than December 15th, 2012 in order to be considered.  Documentation related to exception (a) above may include, but shall not be limited to, a letter from the athlete’s NSO outlining the following, as well as any other pertinent information:

–       why the athlete is training out of province;
–       whether or not the athlete was formally invited by the NSO;
–       what additional opportunities are being made available beyond those provided in Ontario; and
–       any other information that will illustrate that the athlete is receiving enhanced training while still meeting all obligations of the Skate Ontario.

  • Athlete must be a member in good standing with PSO/MSO and NSO where applicable;
  • Athlete must have entered into a Sports Organization – Athlete Agreement with his or her PSO/MSO and must be in full compliance with the terms and conditions of that agreement;
  • Athlete must have met all terms and conditions of any previous Quest for Gold Sports Organization – Athlete Agreements to the satisfaction of the PSO/MSO in order to be eligible for consideration in 2012-2013;
  • Athlete must demonstrate a commitment and dedication to a proper training and competitive program;
  • Athlete’s coach must be minimum Level 2 NCCP certified or trained status Competition Stream or the sport’s equivalent in the Instruction Stream;
  • Athlete must not be under a sanction that prohibits competition as per the Canadian Anti-Doping Policy;
  • Athlete must be attending an educational institution full-time (i.e. elementary and secondary schools):
    • Exceptions will be made provided that the athlete can substantiate that his/her training will not allow for full-time attendance or if an athlete requires special needs that preclude full or part-time attendance (e.g. Athlete with a disability (AWAD) athlete);
  • Athletes who have completed their area of study at the secondary level (i.e. high school) and who continue to train towards participation in major national or international competitions will also be considered;
  • If eligible, the athlete must compete, and continue to compete solely for Ontario and/or Canada for one year from the date of the Minister’s letter informing the athlete of acceptance into OAAP program, at Canada Games and other national competitions involving provincial team competitions;
  • Athlete must not receive financial support from any other provincial/territorial athlete assistance program.  This does not include academic scholarships, bursaries, student grants, student loans, social assistance, disability pensions, and other forms of financial assistance that have nothing to do with competitive sport.
  • Eligibility will be limited to Ontario junior-aged athletes, ages 11-22 (“junior-aged” refers to chronological age, not a sport’s specific age category – only exception is for PSO/MSOs using 30% of Ontario Card allotment for athletes older than 22 years of age who have been identified as a potential next generation national team athlete by the PSO/MSO’s selection process.

Residency Exemption for Military Families:  The one-year Ontario residency requirement is waived for any Ontario Card or Canada Card applicant who is a spouse or dependent of a: Regular Force member of the Canadian Forces; or Reservist currently deployed by the Canadian Forces into active service and who takes up residence in Ontario during the fiscal year.   This means that eligible military family members now qualify for OAAP funding immediately upon becoming residents of Ontario.  Please see the 2012-2013 Quest for Gold Athlete Handbook for details of this exemption, including a list of documents needed to verify eligibility for this waiver of the one-year Ontario residency requirement.

Important Notes:

  • To be deemed a potential next generation national team athlete, the athlete must be age-eligible to compete on the national team in the year following receipt of Ontario Card funding.
  • An athlete that received Sport Canada Carding during any part of MTCS’ fiscal year April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012 and/or any part of fiscal year April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013 and is no longer in receipt of Sport Canada Athlete Assistance shall not be eligible to receive Quest for Gold funding during fiscal year 2012-2013 (April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013.) The intent of this rule is to prevent athletes whose performance levels and rankings no longer qualify them for Sport Canada carding from taking an Ontario Card from a future national-level athlete.  However, exceptions may apply and will be considered by the MTCS on a case-by-case basis.  Exceptions may include, but may not be limited to logistical or administrative changes (ex. reduction in Sport Canada carding allocation), injuries, etc.  Skate Ontario must contact MTCS in writing prior to the submission of the Athlete Nominations to seek individual exceptions.
  • All athletes under the age of 18 must have their parent or legal guardian sign their OAAP application form. Cheques will be processed in the name of the eligible athlete.
  • An athlete can only be nominated to receive Quest for Gold funding in one sport.
  • Athletes who are attending any foreign post-secondary educational institution (including NCAA institutions) and are receiving an athletic scholarship in any sport are not eligible to receive OAAP support.
  • The onus is entirely on the athlete to determine the impact of accepting OAAP funding on current or future NCAA eligibility and to decide whether or not to accept OAAP funding. The athlete will be required to acknowledge this onus and responsibility when signing the OAAP Ontario Card application form and agreeing to the related terms and conditions of the program.  Athletes are strongly encouraged to contact the NCAA Eligibility Center to determine the impact of Quest for Gold – OAAP funding on current or future eligibility for a NCAA scholarship or on eligibility to compete in a non-scholarship NCAA sport.

National Collegiate Athletic Association    
NCAA Eligibility Center mailing address:
NCAA Eligibility Center    P.O. Box 7136, Indianapolis, IN46207
Toll-free phone number (U.S. callers)  – Customer service line – 877-262-1492
Phone number (international callers)   – Customer service line – 317-223-0700
Fax number – 317-968-5100

  • In the event of a conflict or inconsistency between the MTCS eligibility requirements detailed in the MTCS binder provided to PSO/MSOs and duplicated in the Athlete Handbook provided to each nominated athlete and the eligibility requirements listed in the PSO/MSO Athlete Selection Criteria Document prepared by the PSO/MSO, the MTCS Binder/Athlete Handbook shall prevail.

Athletes funded through the Sport Canada AAP:

Ontario athletes who have been nominated and accepted for funding through Sport Canada’s AAP within the government of Ontario’s fiscal year (April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013) and who continue to meet AAP and OAAP eligibility requirements will automatically be considered for a Quest for Gold ‘Canada Card’.  MTCS will contact those athletes directly at the mailing and email addresses the athlete provided to Sport Canada.  Athletes are solely responsible for ensuring that their contact information is kept accurate and up to date at all times.  

Sport Specific Athlete Selection Criteria:

The following sport specific athlete selection criteria will be utilized in the identification, ranking and selection of athletes for Ontario Cards:

Athletes selected by the Skate Ontario Athlete Selection Committee for Ontario carding under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport Quest for Gold program must meet the eligibility criteria detailed below.  Selection will be based on the results of the 2012 Canadian Championships and 2012 Junior Canadian Championships.

For pair teams and dance couples, Ontario cards will be awarded to both partners.

There are eight Ontario cards for female athletes and eight Ontario cards for male athletes.

Where there is not a full quota of eligible male or female athletes, up to two full cards may be allocated to the other gender.

Athletes will be selected according to the ranking of the results of the Canadian Championships and Junior Canadian Championships.  For example, athletes ranked first will be selected first before athletes ranked second, and so on.

Skate Ontario is permitted to name alternate athletes to receive Ontario card status in the event that a nominated athlete becomes ineligible to receive all or the balance of his or her funding during the year.  The list of alternates will be posted together with the list of nominated athletes on the Skate Ontario website.

Selection will be made based on the following priority:

A.   Cards for Single Athletes:

  1. Junior competitors – medal winners and not nationally carded in order of placement.        
  2. Senior competitors placing 4th  to 5th and not nationally carded, by order of placement,
  3. Junior competitors placing 4th and 10th by order of placement.
  4. Senior competitors placing 6th to 8th   by order of placement.
  5. Novice competitors placing 1st to 5th by order of placement.

B. Cards for Pair and Dance Teams:

  1. Junior competitors – medal winners and not nationally carded in order of placement.
  2. Senior competitors – placing 4th and 5th and not nationally carded in order of placement.
  3. Junior competitors – placing 4th and 10th in order of placement.
  4. Senior competitors – placing 6th – 8th in order of placement.
  5. Novice competitors – half cards available for teams placing 1st – 5th in order of placement.

Athletes selected for Ontario carding by the above selection priority criteria will be advised by Skate Ontario to submit an online Ontario card application and to complete a Skate Ontario Quest for Gold Athlete Agreement.  These must be completed and the agreement returned to the Chair of the Skate Ontario Athlete Selection Committee no later than 23:59 on Tuesday January 15th, 2013. Late applications will not be accepted.

Alternates:  Skate Ontario will also nominate alternates to those athletes nominated for Ontario Card status.  Alternates will be those athletes who are ranked directly behind those athletes nominated for the allotment of Ontario Cards in a particular category/discipline.  The names of alternates will be published along with the names of nominated athletes.  If an athlete drops out or is removed from the OAAP an alternate will be substituted into that athlete’s position, provided that:

  • Alternate is substituted within 2012-2013 fiscal year;
  • An alternate is available from the same category/discipline/card level (Full/Half);
  • Funding for athlete being substituted is still available within fiscal year (e.g. full funding for card has not already been paid out to athlete no longer in program).

Skate Ontario has no criteria for ranking an athlete who is unable to meet these requirements as detailed above due to illness, injury or pregnancy.

To Apply:

Skate Ontario will rank all eligible athletes and contact those that are being nominated for carding.  Athletes who are nominated by Skate Ontario will be required to complete and submit the Skate Ontario – Athlete agreement no later than January 15th, 2013 to:

Tracey McCague-McElrea
Executive Director
Skate Ontario
908 Schaeffer Outlook
Newmarket, ON  L3X 1V9
905 775 7803

An email will be sent by January 17th, 2013 confirming receipt.  It is the athlete’s responsibility to contact the Skate Ontario if this email is not received to be certain that the application has been successfully received by the deadline date.

The Sports Organization – Athlete Agreement will only come into effect if an athlete is selected and accepts carding status through the OAAP program.

Skate Ontario will publish or make known a draft list of athletes nominated for Ontario Card status by no later than January 8, 2013.


Athletes who have not been nominated for an Ontario Card by the Skate Ontario Selection Committee or who have been nominated for a ‘Half Card’ versus a ‘Full Card’, where applicable will be allowed to appeal that decision by filing a “Notice of Appeal” with MTCS. Appeals will be heard by an Appeals Committee comprised of representatives from the sport community, selected by the MTCS.

Grounds for appeals will be limited strictly to issues related to:

A)  Whether or not the Selection Committee has completed the selection process in accordance with its own published selection criteria and related procedures;

B)  Whether or not the Selection Committee applied the selection criteria in a manner that was free from bias, discrimination and/or conflict of interest.

Issues related to the specific content or selection requirements contained in the Skate Ontario Selection Criteria are not grounds for an appeal and should therefore be discussed directly with the leadership of Skate Ontario.

Please note that before an athlete can file a Notice of Appeal, he or she must first ask Skate Ontario for reasons explaining why he or she was not nominated for an Ontario Card.

If the athlete is not satisfied with the Skate Ontario response, the athlete may submit a Notice of Appeal, found below.  A Notice of Appeal will only be accepted from the athlete or their parent/guardian on the MTCS-provided template (typed or hand-printed, no hand-written entries) through email, regular post, registered mail, courier or delivered in person.  One appeal cannot be written on behalf of multiple athletes.  The Notice of Appeal must be received by MTCS by 4 p.m. on the deadline day.  Appeals that are delivered personally or by courier shall be deemed to be received on the date of delivery.

Once MTCS has received the Notice of Appeal, it will share it with Skate Ontario, who will then have an opportunity to file a “Response” with MTCS by a specified deadline.  The Response will outline why Skate Ontario believes that the Selection Committee’s decision not to nominate the athlete should be upheld by the Appeals Committee.  MTCS will share the Skate Ontario Response with the athlete.

If, after receiving the Skate Ontario Response, the athlete believes that Skate Ontario has raised new or additional reasons to justify the Selection Committee’s decision not to nominate the athlete for an Ontario Card, then the athlete will have an opportunity to file a “Reply” with MTCS, responding to these additional reasons.  The Reply must be limited to these additional reasons and cannot be used to make submissions already raised in the Notice of Appeal, or that the athlete neglected to include in the Notice of Appeal.  The Reply will only be accepted on the MTCS-provided template.

Once MTCS receives the Notice of Appeal, the Response, and the Reply (if applicable), it will provide those materials to the Appeals Committee.  The Appeals Committee will discuss all appeals at once.   During its review of the appeals, the Appeals Committee reserves the right to request additional information from both the athlete and Skate Ontario.

After reviewing an appeal the Appeals Committee will have the authority to:

  1. Direct Skate Ontario to redo the selection process using the correct criteria/process and submit a new list of nominated athletes;
  2. Deny the appeal; or
  3. Allow the appeal and nominate the appellant for carding status.

Once the Appeals Committee has reached its decision, it will contact the athlete and Skate Ontario in writing to communicate its decision and the reasons therefore.

An athlete who has had his or her appeal denied is not permitted to submit a second appeal to the Appeals Committee on the same or different grounds.

Note:  Skate Ontario is encouraged to resolve disputes or disagreements informally with athletes who have not been nominated to avoid, wherever possible, formal appeals.

The deadline for athletes to submit an “Athlete’s Notice of Appeal” to the Appeals Committee is 4:00 pm on January 21, 2013.

Appeals must be completed on the Notice of Appeal Template and will be directed to:

Quest for Gold Appeals Committee
c/o Sport, Recreation and Community Programs Division
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Suite 2302,777 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1S5


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