While the Canada Games may be best known for reinforcing the high performance pathway that propels athletes to success in national, international, and professional competitions, the Games also spark greatness in many other populations, including volunteers, coaches, and in the case of Erin Schaus, officials.
Aware of the Canada Games from a young age, having grown up in a house where her father and later her brother competed for Team Nova Scotia, Schaus originally viewed the Canada Games primarily as an opportunity for athletes to perform on the national stage.
“Many of my friends made the Canada Games team in 1997 for canoe kayak,” she said. “When I became a nationally certified official in 2006, I realized that the Canada Games could be an opportunity as well to participate as an official.”
Schaus recently earned a coveted spot at the Olympics this summer in Paris as a starter for the canoe kayak sprint competition - the same role she fulfilled at her first Canada Games back in 2009.
She has officiated at every Canada Summer Games since, gradually taking on more responsibility, until she stepped into the Chief Official role for canoe kayak at the 2022 Games in Niagara.
“The Canada Games have given me the opportunity to grow as an official by learning from others across the country,” Schaus said. “It has also allowed me to develop as a mentor for other officials who may be just starting to officiate nationally.”
Thinking about how the Canada Games are unique, compared to other events she officiates, Schaus highlighted the additional spotlight and media coverage brought on by the Games and the multi-sport environment.
“The atmosphere in the event is elevated and there’s a heightened sense that everyone wants to perform well - this goes for both athletes and officials,” she said. “One other major difference is the ability to learn from officials from other sports, talking about officiating pathways and experiences.”
In her role as a veteran official within the canoe kayak community, Schaus offered this advice to anyone officiating the Games for the first time at the St. John’s 2025 Canada Games:
“Being in a multi-sport event is a unique opportunity that not many people get to be a part of, so cherish the moment and try to soak up as many experiences and sports as possible.”
A piece of advice Schaus is sure to follow herself when she arrives at the Olympics this summer.