I have never been prouder to be an active board member of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) than I am today. From the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, FIC has stepped up to the forefront to advocate and support the fitness industry. The spirit and tenacity of our small but powerful organization is exemplified in the leadership and action demonstrated in fighting for the rights of fitness club operators throughout the pandemic.
It has been 5 years since I participated in my first FIC meeting, at that time becoming the first Canadian supplier to be approved as a Provincial Council member, representing Antaris/MTS club management software.
Who is FIC?
FIC is a national not-for-profit trade association representing the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing over 6,000 facilities with over six million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators.
FIC is not a training organization or tradeshow, we work with industry partners to solidify the voice of the Canadian fitness industry and to help provide an alternative solution to an over-burdened health-care system.
Whether it’s defending fair music-licensing tariffs, advocating for a federal Adult Fitness Tax Credit, or promoting physical activity through National Health and Fitness Day, FIC has always acted to defend and promote our industry and support healthy, active lifestyles for all Canadians.
Rising to the Challenge
At the beginning of the pandemic, FIC quickly assumed a critical role. Recognizing the magnitude of impact this crisis would have, FIC directed all of its resources to support the challenges the fitness industry was facing:
- Reached out to connect fitness club operators from across Canada to work together as a national coalition.
- Scheduled weekly online meetings to provide updates on lobbying efforts and new information, in addition to gaining feedback and stimulating conversations by club operators to determine the important questions that needed answers to.
- Hired a lobby firm to collaborate with other national retail trade associations in order to communicate a common message and advocate the interests of the fitness industry to government policy makers. This initiative contributed to shaping support programs including the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) rent-relief program.
- Inspired and supported the creation of provincial coalitions to work together to directly communicate common messaging to key provincial government decision makers.
- Provided an extensive provincial framework for exercise facilities to operate in a COVID-19 environment emphasizing safety for staff and members.
- Organized a national branded plan to not only make the case for governments to open gyms sooner but also demonstrate that the fitness industry was being pro-active by providing a safe reopening framework to Public Health authorities.
- Kept the fitness industry and public informed on key developments with national press releases, interviews, active social media postings, and regular updates to club operators via media partner FitBizWeekly
- Co-ordinated with other associations such as the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), WHO and other global organizations, providing access to resources, articles and live webinars from industry experts around the world.
Support for FIC
It has been a pleasure serving the Canadian fitness industry as a FIC provincial council member and now a board member for the past 5 years. The value of FIC has never been more prominent then during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FIC does need support from the fitness industry to grow stronger and have an even greater impact on what is important to the fitness industry. FIC is here to lead and let others know what we’re doing. We need to continue building a stronger association with everyone working together to influence change.
FIC was created to help examine and address the common issues and challenges facing our industry, so that gym owners can focus on their day to day business operations. Please consider becoming a contributing member of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.