Change the Game
Research Project

Launched by the MLSE Foundation with Dr. Simon Darnell of the University of Toronto, the Change the Game research project is an online survey aimed at understanding sport and play-related access, engagement and equity issues across Ontario in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between now and April 23rd, we will survey over 5000 youth and/or parents of youth across on Ontario. We need your help!

If you are between the ages of 6-29 in Ontario, or a parent/guardian of a young person, please click here to open the survey where you will find more information, a consent form, and the questionnaire to fill out.  The entire process takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.   As a thank you for your time and feedback, anyone who completes the survey will be eligible for a free prize draw that includes tickets to a future game (when safe) or a special apparel package for one of their favourite teams. Each prize is valued at $1000.

If you are connected to youth in Ontario, please share this page as widely as possible with your networks.

The Change the Game research project aims to answer three main questions:

1.     Access: Do Ontario youth have access to sport opportunities, and why or why not? How does youth sport access differ based on demographic variables?

2.     Engagement: Are Ontario youth engaging in sport opportunities, and why or why not? How does youth sport engagement differ based on demographic variables?

3.     Equity: How are demographic variables impacting sport participation, access and engagement? 

The feedback shared from participants will help provide important information to help improve how youth sport comes back after the pandemic and addresses an under-researched aspect of sport equity in Ontario.

The Change the Game research project is led by Bryan Heal and the names and titles of all core members of the research team are as follows:

Bryan Heal
Change the Game Research Project

Marika Warner
Director, Research & Evaluation
MLSE LaunchPad

Dr Simon Darnell
Associate Professor, Sport for Development and Peace
University of Toronto

Daniel Sailofsky
Research Fellow
McGill University

Jackie Robinson
Research Coordinator
MLSE LaunchPad
The Change the Game research team is privileged to receive the wise, diverse, constructive and ongoing counsel from the following team of advisors:

Simon Darnell,
Academic Advisor & Associate Professor, Sport for Development & Peace
University of Toronto

Daniel Sailofsky
Mitacs Fellow & Project Manager, PhD (Cand), Sociology
McGill University

Qua Boissoneau
Manager of Indigenous Education & Engagement
Humber College

Paul Holley
Research Director
Association of Canadian Studies

Richard Norman
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Ryerson University

Lisa McLaughlin
Director of Philanthropy & Operations
MLSE Foundation

Shannon Travers
Manager of Sport Development

Farah Bastien
Manager of Data Science

Sonya Silva
Manager of Engagement
MLSE LaunchPad

Jason Vescovi,
Research Associate,
University of Toronto

Marika Warner
Director of Research & Evaluation
MLSE LaunchPad

Bryan Heal
Manager of Research & Evaluation
MLSE LaunchPad

Q: Who is funding this research?
A: The MLSE Foundation has invested directly in the Change the Game research project. The project has further secured a Mitacs Accelerate Grant to help support the study team.

Q: Has the project undergone an ethics review?
A: This project has been reviewed and approved by the Community Research Ethics Board. If you feel you have not been treated according to the descriptions in our information, or your rights as a participant in research have been violated during the course of this project, you may contact the Chair, Community Research Ethics Board, at: Community Research Ethics Office (Canada) Corp. c/o Centre for Community Based Research, 190 Westmount Road North, Waterloo ON N2L3G5; Email: Telephone: 1-888-411-2736.

Q: What research gap does this project address?
A: Existing sport equity report cards prioritize age and gender data, but present limited insights for deeper understanding of racial, cultural, neighborhood, and other equity-related lenses.

Q: Why does your definition of youth go up to 29 years old?
A: MLSE Foundation understands that there are many definitions of youth and that different people develop in different ways. As a result, we wanted to ensure a broad range of individuals identifying as youth can be included, and not limit the definition to the age of majority.

Q: What sports are included in this research?
A: Sport inclusion covers a broad range of sports including both team sports like basketball and individuals sports such as a cycling, as well as sports which are played competitively, in community settings, or informally such as at drop-ins.  If it is a sport you can play, it counts!

Q: How long will the questionnaire take to fill out?
A: Approximately 10-15 minutes.

Q: Do I have to answer every question on the survey?
A: No. Your participation is 100% voluntary and you can stop at any time. If you are not comfortable answering a question, you may choose not to answer.

Q: What are the benefits of the research?
A: The feedback provided may help generate new knowledge to an under-researched intersection of sport engagement and equity. Key insights and recommendations will be used to inform the continued reopening of youth sport in Ontario. The results of the research will be publicly available online for organizations, funders and policymakers to access which may help inform and improve the diversity and quality of sport opportunities available in different communities.

Q: Are there any risks I should know about?
A: The risks of involvement in this project are minimal. There is a chance you might feel some emotional discomfort in reflecting on your experiences related to sport, privilege and/or marginalization. You may skip any questions you do not feel comfortable in answering.

Q: Can you tell me more about the prize draw?
A: Everyone who completes the survey will be eligible to be entered in a draw for a grand prize of a ticket and experience package for a future Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC or Toronto Argos home game and/or a special apparel package from your favourite team. At the end of the questionnaire, you will have an opportunity to volunteer your e-mail address for inclusion in a prize draw for interested participants.  This is the only time your name and contact will be asked, and it will be deleted directly by the Project Lead identified below upon completion of the prize draw. Each prize will be valued at ~$1000.

Q: Is the information I share confidential?
A: The research team treats all responses to survey questions as confidential. Shared results or reports from the research team will only involve anonymized, aggregated findings that do not include personally identifying information. If you choose to enter additional open-ended feedback, any direct quotes used in reports will be anonymous without participants being able to vet quotes or be individually identified as the source of quotes.

Q: How will the results of the research be shared?
A: The information shared will be analyzed for insights and trends.  The aggregate findings will be shared with a diverse range of audiences interested in youth sport access, engagement and equity in Ontario. This includes in reports, academic publication, presentations and online. Aggregate findings will be kept in perpetuity, and key insights will further be made available in a visual dashboard on a web page accessible to the public.

Q: How do I contact the researchers if I have any questions about the project or want to get involved further?
A: Please contact Bryan via email (preferred) at or by phone at 416-637-7588