The group is a national non-profit grassroots organization with more than 13,000 trained volunteer coaches. It provides its services through local sport clubs to more than 32,000 athletes. Its programs are supported by corporate sponsorship, fundraising activities, government funding as well as individual donors. This includes more than 12,000 members of the policing community who have supported Special Olympics, largely through the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Special Olympics Canada is part of a global movement — Special Olympics — that is structured into regional, provincial and national programs and competitions. National competitions are held every two years, alternating between summer and winter games with Special Olympics World Games held in the year following national games. Canadian athletes have the opportunity to participate along with more than 150 other countries in Special Olympics World Summer or Winter Games through selection in the national team program.
In 1969, the first Special Olympics Canada event was held in Toronto. From that modest beginning, the Special Olympics movement quickly spread across the country and grew into the national sports organization it is today.