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Archived - Government of Canada launches Build Our Kids' Success (BOKS) before school physical activity program

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Government of Canada partners with BOKS, Reebok Canada Fitness Foundation, and the Canadian Football League to get kids more physically active

September 24, 2014 - Toronto - Public Health Agency of Canada

Today, Minister Ambrose, joined by Mark Cohon, CFL Commissioner, Michael Rossi, President, adidas Group Canada and Katherine Tulle, Founder and Executive Director, Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS) announced that BOKS, a before-school physical activity program will be made available for the first time in Canada.

BOKS is an initiative of Reebok and the Reebok Foundation, aimed at getting elementary school kids moving and their brains ready for a day of learning.  The five-year partnership between the Public Health Agency of Canada, Reebok Canada, the Reebok Canada Fitness Foundation, the Canadian Football League (CFL), and the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact will help address the obstacles that prevent children from getting enough physical activity so they can lead more active and healthier lifestyles.

BOKS, whose goal is to enhance academic performance and the overall health of kids through physical activity, is an evidence-based proven program to improve physical endurance, executive functioning, working memory and many other areas that help lay the ground work for successful and healthy children. The program, with the help of Reebok, is working toward creating a culture of participants by engaging community members.

In its first year, BOKS will be implemented in approximately 90 schools in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Ottawa. The program will roll-out over the following four years in all nine Canadian cities with a CFL team, and is expected to reach approximately 45,000 elementary school children in 450 schools across the country.

Quick Facts

  • As outlined in the recent Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada is committed to working with the provinces and territories and with the private and not-for-profit sectors to encourage young Canadians to be more physically active.
  • Only four percent of Canadian children are getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity.
  • Approximately two out of every three adults in Canada are overweight or obese and almost one in three children and youth is already overweight or obese.
  • BOKS, founded by Kathleen Tullie and a group of passionate moms, was inspired by Harvard Medical School’s Dr. John Ratey’s book Spark which proved the connection between exercise and the brain.
  • In the next five years, BOKS Canada expects to reach approximately 45,000 students in 450 schools across the country.
  • The curriculum and tools will be accessible to any school at no cost via the website.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada, Reebok Canada, the Reebok Foundation, and the CFL are investing $9.78 million in this initiative over five years. The Agency is providing half of this funding and its partners are providing the other half.
  • This partnership represents the largest investment made to date through the Agency’s healthy living/chronic disease prevention multi-sectoral partnership approach.


“The Build Our Kids’ Success program has a proven track record of results in both getting kids active before school and preparing them for a day full of learning. We are proud and excited to be working with Reebok Canada, the Reebok Canada Fitness Foundation and the Canadian Football League to bring this program to Canada for the first time. Our Government is committed to fostering innovative partnerships like this one, that will help children and youth adopt active and healthier lifestyles so they get the best possible start in life.”

The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

“The health and wellness of our youth is an important issue facing our country today. The game of football and sports in general can play an important role in promoting physical activity in children. We are proud to partner with Reebok on this very important initiative and look forward to our teams and players being involved in getting our young Canadians physically active and having fun. Together, we can have a real positive impact on our youth in our communities.”

Mark Cohon
CFL Commissioner

“We are very proud to launch the BOKS program in Canada and couldn’t be more pleased with our partnerships with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Football League. The potential for growth throughout the country is endless. With the support of our partners, we plan to bring BOKS to as many schools as possible, empowering kids, staff, and entire communities to make physical activity a part of their daily routine for life.”

Michael Rossi
President - adidas Group Canada, parent company of Reebok Canada.

“We are extremely excited to launch BOKS in Canada, especially as we continue to expand worldwide. The implementation of BOKS represents Canada’s commitment to helping kids living a healthier lifestyle. BOKS can have a positive impact on classroom performance, behaviour and overall health, and the opportunity for growth in Canada is tremendous.”  

Kathleen Tullie
BOKS founder and director of social responsibility Reebok U.S

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Photo 1 caption: The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, launches Build Our Kids' Success (BOKS) before school Program in Toronto, Ontario. (From left to right) Michael Rossi, President, adidas Group Canada; The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health; Stewart Clark, Director of Marketing for Reebok Canada; Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League; Toronto Argonauts Andre Durie and Matt Black with Principal of St. Wilfrid Catholic School Shawna Campbell between them; Dr. John Ratey; Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Angela Gauthier, Director of Education for the Toronto Catholic District School Board; and Kathleen Tullie, Founder and Executive Director of BOKS.

Photo 2 caption: Minister Ambrose exchanges high-fives with students at St. Wilfrid Catholic School during an announcement of the Build Our Kids' Success (BOKS) elementary school program.


Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada
(613) 957-2983


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