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Canadian Olympic Committee

Updated on July 15, 2010
Candian Hockey Players
Candian Hockey Players

Canadian Athletes - Success at the Podium


The International Olympic Committee first recognized the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) in 1907, and since that time it has developed into one of the world’s largest sports organizations. As a member of the massive international Olympic family, the COC has a far-reaching mission of developing the mental and physical well being of Canada’s athletes.

The COC’s complex system of developing the sports activities for Canada’s young people includes the administration of The World Championships, The Pan American Games, and The Olympics. One of the COC’s most important functions is training of the athletes. In addition to its direct involvement in sporting events, the COC also provides consultancy and financial assistance to the ­individual provinces in their bids to host international sports events.


The mission of COC is demonstrated through its 2005 - 2012 long-term strategic goals. The aim of these goals is to become one of the top nations in the Olympics, The Winter Games in particular. In order for the COC to achieve its mission, everyone connected to the Olympic movement, in Canada, must be united in the process. The stated mission of the COC is of vital importance to the success of the organization’s corporate-level goals. It is for this reason that the COC strives to obtain unity both within the organization and throughout the sports communities in Canada. One way the COC achieves this unity is by providing details about its objectives, goals, and strategic plans to all groups involved with sports activities.

Through the Canadian Olympic Excellence Program, the COC focuses on providing Canada's top performing athletes and coaches with the assistance needed to achieve podium success at international competitions.

Canadian Olympics
Canadian Olympics


The strategies described in the preceding paragraphs are what shape the organizational infrastructure of the COC. Although the different levels of the organization use various strategies, the overall structure most closely resembles that of an organic strategy.

At the pinnacle of the COC’s organizational structure is the Executive Committee, which is comprised of fifteen members who meet four times a year. The Executive Committee’s many responsibilities include “approving the appointment of the CEO, providing direction to the CEO, identifying areas that may require policy changes, and determining the size and composition of each Canadian Pan American and Olympic Team” (Olympic, 2009).

The next tier of the COC’s organizational structure is the Board of Directors, which is comprised of seventy-eight members, who each serve a four-year term. The Board of Directors meet four times annually, and in March 2009 a president-elect was named to serve concurrently with the serving president. This marks the first time in its history that a president and president-elect has served concurrently; a situation that resulted from the 2005 decision to extend the presiding president’s tenure until after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The responsibilities at this level are “establishing the COC's vision, mission, values and direction, monitoring the progress of the COC toward its stated goals, and setting the overall policy and strategic objectives” (Olympic, 2009). The Board of Directors responsibilities also include approving the strategic plans, annual reports, and administering financial issues such as the auditors' report.

At the lowest level, of the three-tier structure, is the general membership that is comprised of approximately three hundred and fifty-three members who meet annually. There are several categories of membership at this level; firstly, there are the nine classes as prescribed in the COC’s bylaws. Members are elected or appointed, voting or non-voting, and ex-officio or designated. The length of tenure is determined by the classification, “elected members hold their positions for a term of four years while appointed representatives retain their memberships until the appointing organization designates another representative” (Olympic, 2009). Each of the classes of the general membership has an individual respective executive officer, separate chain of command, and distinct span of control as defined in the COC’s bylaws.

The Executive Committee is accountable to the Board of Directors a level below, and the Board of Directors in turn is accountable to the general membership. This ‘reverse chain of chain of command’ is indicative of the COC’s organic strategy.

Apart from these internal levels of the organizational infrastructure, there are six regional sports centers that are directly involved in the training of the Olympians. These centers operate cooperatively with the strategic programs of the three National Head Offices that are located in Ontario and Quebec. At this grassroots level, there are also a wide range of volunteer individuals and organizations that donate both time and money to support the Olympic movement in Canada.


The entire organization of the COC is optimistic about the success of its athletes both in the immediate future and in long-term international competitions. The COC views its obstacles, some of which have been mentioned in this paper, as an unavoidable part of the process. Although there will be failures in the further, the COC believes that it is on the right path to making the COC a household name in Canada. It recognizes the training of the athletes as its primary obligation. However, sustaining an amiable relationship with all its partners especially members of the public is also essential to accomplishing its strategic long-term plans.

The COC is committed to total quality management and will achieve this by continually measuring the performance of all areas of its organization including finance, accounting, human resource, and information and technology. It is through this commitment to total quality management that the ultimate prize will be realized - bringing home the gold.

Source: Canadian Olympic Committee. (2009). Paint the town red. Retrieved from:


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