The Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU - later renamed Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association) was formed in 1919-20 as the first recognized western-based post-secondary athletic organization in Canada, with the University of Manitoba winning the first-ever league championship, a men's hockey title, in 1920.

In the spring of 1972, the WCIAA was split into the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA) and the Great Plains Athletic Association (GPAA - later renamed the Great Plains Athletic Conference). 

CWUAA consisted of schools spanning from Victoria to Saskatoon (Victoria, British Columbia, Calgary, Alberta, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan), while GPAA's member institutions stretched from Regina to Thunder Bay (Regina, Brandon, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lakehead).

In 1985-86, Canada West offered playing privileges to men’s hockey teams from the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) with other sports following over the years, culminating with the 2001-02 merger of basketball.

Since 1999, 11 additional schools have joined the Canada West's six charter members. Trinity Western joined in 1999-00 and, in 2000-01, all schools from the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) except for Brandon were provided full membership in Canada West (Manitoba, Regina and Winnipeg). Brandon joined as an associate member at the time, until full membership was granted in 2005.

Simon Fraser joined Canada West in 2000, followed by Thompson Rivers in 2005 and Fraser Valley in 2006.

Simon Fraser withdrew from the conference as a member after the 2009-10 season, while both Thompson Rivers and Fraser Valley were awarded full membership in 2010 and, at the same time, UBC Okanagan received probationary membership.

In 2011, Mount Royal University and the University of Northern British Columbia were voted in as probationary members and began active competing in 2012-13.

In 2013, UBC Okanagan was awarded full membership, while Mount Royal University and the University of Northern British Columbia were awarded full membership in 2014.

Full membership was granted to MacEwan University in the spring of 2015, after the Edmonton-based university fulfilled their probationary membership requirements and was accepted by Canada West membership as the conference's 17th member.

Canada West has 11 different sports and awards a total of 19 conference championships.

Canada West is one of four conferences within U SPORTS, the others being Ontario University Athletics (OUA), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) and Atlantic University Sport (AUS). Schools representing each conference compete annually for national supremacy.

Schools, team officials and individual student-athletes must abide by posted Canada West and U SPORTS policies, including bylaws, regulations and eligibility requirements.

About Canada West:

Canada West (CW) is the leading university athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel in the classroom and their communities. Canada West and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.

Canada West – training leaders, building champions

 

CANADA WEST MEMBERS

SCHOOL
NICKNAME(S)
FORMER CONFERENCE
JOINED CANADA WEST
Alberta
Golden Bears/Pandas
WCIAA
charter member
Brandon
Bobcats
GPAC
2001-02
UBC
Thunderbirds
WCIAA
charter member
UBC Okanagan
Heat
BCCAA
2010-11
Calgary
Dinos
WCIAA
charter member
Fraser Valley
Cascades
BCCAA
2006-07
Lethbridge
Pronghorns
WCIAA
charter member
MacEwan Griffins ACAC 2013-14
Manitoba
Bisons
GPAC
2001-02
Mount Royal Cougars ACAC 2011-12
UNBC Timberwolves BCCAA 2011-12
Regina
Cougars/Rams
GPAC
2001-02
Saskatchewan
Huskies
WCIAA
charter member
Thompson Rivers
WolfPack
BCCAA
2005-06
Trinity Western
Spartans
BCCAA
1999-00
Victoria
Vikes
WCIAA
charter member
Winnipeg
Wesmen
GPAC
2001-02

 

CANADA WEST SPORTS

SPORT FIRST CW TITLE FIRST NATIONAL TITLE
Basketball – Men 1972-73 1962-63
Basketball – Women 1972-73 1971-72
Cross-country - Men 1972-73 1964-65
Cross-country - Women 1972-73 1980-81
Curling – Men (CW inactive) 1965-66 2007-08
Curling – Women (CW inactive) 1965-66 2007-08
Field Hockey - Women 1972-73 1975-76
Football – Men 1922-23 1965-66
Ice Hockey – Men 1919-20 1962-63
Ice Hockey – Women 1997-98 1997-98
Rugby - Women 1999-00 1998-99
Soccer – Men 1972-73 1972-73
Soccer – Women 1983-84 1972-73
Swimming - Men 1972-73 1964-65
Swimming - Women 1972-73 1970-71
Track & Field - Men 1967-68 1980-81
Track & Field - Women 1967-68 1980-81
Volleyball – Men 1972-73 1966-67
Volleyball – Women 1972-73 1969-70
Wrestling – Men 1972-73 1968-69
Wrestling - Women 1999-00 1998-99