Coaching Association of Canada

About the Conference

The Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference (#SLS18) is Canada’s conference for coaches, researchers, sport executives, and administrators. It consists of three full days of learning, professional development, and networking with the top minds and leaders of the Canadian sport, business, and education communities.

  • Conference Objectives

    The conference will strengthen leadership in the Canadian sport system with the following objectives:

    - Educate delegates through collaborative and quality breakout sessions with tangible take-away skills;
    - Inspire delegates with topical and respected keynote speakers;
    - Unite colleagues from sport organizations and energize and broaden potential networks of interest; and
    - Recognize and celebrate Canada’s top coaches at the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Awards Gala.

  • 2018 Conference Theme


    The power of influence poses a unique opportunity to foster positive change in our Canadian sport system. As a sport leader, you are truly a differentiator in the system. You have the power to transform the way you develop yourself, your peers, and your sport community through your positive impact on performance, people, and personal goals.

    Influencers are sport leaders. Whether it be an athlete as a role model for youth, a sport organization driving social change in communities, or a coach utilizing emotional intelligence (EI) to improve team relationships, we are all ‘Performance Influencers’. How can we focus our influence to optimize the performance of our athletes, yet also our colleagues in our boardrooms, classrooms, research labs, and digital platforms?

    At this year’s Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference, we are inviting you and other Canadian sport leaders and influencers to consider how your actions can continue to grow and have meaningful impact for your sport and organization. Hear and exchange with EI leaders on their strategies to influence performance of athletes, teams, and organizations. Learn from sport leaders and coaches as to the research and tools they use to recognize, adapt, and improve their relationships and results. Reaffirm and build on the need for a strong organizational culture to shape performance, productivity, recruitment, and retention. Reflect on the positive power of leadership, and celebrate its ability to create valuable learning opportunities in our sport, education, and workplace environments.

    Join fellow sport leaders for this unique sharing and learning experience. Share your influence in furthering the diverse, inclusive, and performance growth of our Canadian sport system.



    As the largest cross-section of Canadian sport influencers assembles in Ottawa for professional development and leadership training, don’t miss your opportunity to contribute your expertise and experience in optimizing your influence for positive and performance growth in Canadian sport.

    The 2018 Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference is raising the bar for professional development for sport administrators, researchers, executives, and coaches - not only in Canada, but internationally. By collecting an exceptional line-up of speakers and facilitators prepared to challenge delegates to share their positive influence, the Coaching Association of Canada welcomes delegates who are eager to learn and be inspired.

    Speaking topics will include:

    - The Happiness Economy;
    - Workplace Wellness for a Better Bottom Line;
    - The Power of Emotional Intelligence; and
    - National Team Coaches Panel.

  • Who Attends?

    A common theme in the sports sector is passion, and as a result, those involved in sports end up wearing a variety of hats. One delegate could be a coach, while volunteering on a National Sport Organizations' Board of Directors, and working in the sport industry as a Sport Administrator or Executive Director.

    The Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference is a unique conference in the sport system because it speaks to issues affecting a wide range of sport leaders. The largest delegate base is sport administrators, followed closely by coaches, then sport executives, and sport researchers. The conference also attracts National Sport Organization (NSOs) representatives, Provincial and Territorial Sport Organization (P/TSOs) representatives, government officials, tourism representatives, sport technology leaders, international sport representatives, and more.

    Content is carefully selected to ensure that every plenary speaker and breakout session presents content relevant to one of our major audiences. Topics such as coach education, sponsorship, marketing and brand development, communications and social media, leadership, mentorship, and technical research, are all covered during the conference.

    Annually, conference organizers work closely with each speaker to develop learning objectives so that conference delegates can carefully choose sessions that are relevant to their work. With each session, delegates can take away tangible skills and knowledge that can be implemented in their professional and personal lives. Content is carefully curated and shaped to ensure delegates emerge from the conference as better sport leaders.

  • History of the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif Conference

    A national conference of some kind and hosted by the Coaching Association of Canada, it has been around for over 36 years and more recently has taken the shape of the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership sportif conference. The conference began in Ottawa in 1979 as the National Coaches Seminar. It took place over three days and drew approximately 250 high performance coaches. The coaches were exposed to the latest information on coaching theory and practice, introduced to recent sport-science findings, and had an opportunity to meet and discuss common concerns.

    In 1987, the conference began awarding coaching Excellence Awards as part of its program. The awards, still given out today have not changed in their recognition focus and recognize coaches whose athletes have excelled at world championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games, and at the Special Olympics World Games... Petro-Canada became the official sponsor of the Coaching Excellence Awards in the year 2000.

    In 1991, the conference became the NCCP Trainers Conference, and Coach Conductors (known today as Coach Developers) made up the majority of the delegates.

    In 2003, Petro-Canada became the title sponsor of our annual conference, a partnership that continues today.