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Questions mount for federal World Cup funding

The next men's World Cup will feature a record 48 nations and a 104-match schedule.
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Vancouver city hall has not updated its year-old, $230-million estimate, which was based on five matches.

Could the Trudeau Liberal government’s budget, scheduled for April 16, contain federal funding details for FIFA World Cup 26? 

The federal ministry helping Vancouver and Toronto host matches in June and July 2026 said nothing has been decided.

The Sport Canada division of Canadian Heritage caps contributions to international single sport hosting at 35 per cent of total event costs (including eligible and non-eligible expenditures) and 50 per cent of total government assistance. That covers operating costs, travel and administration expenses, purchase of eligible carbon offset credits and fulfilling sport-related goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

A Canadian Heritage spokesperson said work is ongoing with Canadian parties and FIFA. 

"At this time, no financial commitments have been confirmed,” said Daniel Savoie. “The responsibility for the overall coordination, planning and provision of safety and security for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, including competition and competition-related events, rests with the governing body (FIFA) and the municipal competent authorities in Toronto and Vancouver.”

A Feb. 26 report to Toronto city council included a section on “Status on Intergovernmental Funding.” It mentioned the Province of Ontario’s conditional December pledge of $97 million toward the $380-million cost of hosting six matches. 

“The province's support is conditional on the federal government matching the commitment and being responsible for any costs resulting from a federal determination of safety and security needs,” the Toronto report said. 

Vancouver city hall has not updated its year-old, $230-million estimate, which was based on five matches. On Feb. 4, FIFA announced BC Place Stadium would host seven. The B.C. government has not released its stadium renovation budget. It is also seeking Ottawa’s help.

The next men’s World Cup will feature a record 48 nations and a 104-match schedule: 78 in the U.S. and 13 each in Canada and Mexico. A three-nation event over 39 days adds complexity for federal security and customs departments. 

Public Safety Canada spokesperson Louis-Carl Brissette-Lesage referred questions about security and safety budgeting and financial support for host provinces/cities to Canadian Heritage. 

“The RCMP would cooperate with its law enforcement partners to support an integrated security strategy,” Brissette-Lesage said.

RCMP national headquarters spokesperson Robin Percival also referred questions to Canadian Heritage. Percival did say that RCMP would collaborate with other agencies “to ensure the safety and security of venues, FIFA officials, international protected persons, athletes and the general public.” Its main mandate, however, is essential federal services, including protection of visiting dignitaries and to address national security threats and terrorist activities before or during the tournament. 

Otherwise, the Toronto Police Service and Vancouver Police Department are responsible. 

“The RCMP in B.C. (E Division) will also oversee such security planning for elements of the event falling within their respective jurisdiction and responsibilities within its mandate as the provincial police force,” Percival said. 

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said it is working with Canadian Heritage, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, FIFA, Vancouver, Toronto and security partners in the U.S. 

“The role of the CBSA is to assess the admissibility of persons and goods entering Canada, this includes facilitating the expected large volume of travellers visiting Canada to participate in or attend the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the goods required to support the event,” said CBSA spokesperson Karine Martel.