Athletics Canada is aware of the CBC coverage on abuse against minors in sport. We applaud the CBC for shining a light on this important issue.
All members and participants need to trust the sport system with their safety. It should not matter what sport an athlete chooses, safety should be universally understood, expected and applied with no exceptions.
Athletics Canada supports the need for sport organizations to ensure sport is free of abuse, including but not limited to:
- Training as it relates to rights, responsibilities, obligations and awareness for athletes, coaches, professional service providers and management;
- Open communication with athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers on how to recognize and react to instances of abuse and harassment;
- Development, adoption and adherence of policies and procedures to prevent all forms of abuse;
- An independent avenue for parties to raise concerns when issues arise and where appropriate incident management can be facilitated.
Three years ago, Athletics Canada instituted a Commissioner’s Office to handle complaints, including harassment and abuse. A recent review of the Commissioner’s Office has indicated it is working well, we’ve recently adjusted the scope of work and jurisdiction to ensure all participants feel like they have a safe and accessible avenue to access in instances of conflict.
The membership also approved a revised Code of Conduct and Harassment Policy. Our Governance Committee committed to develop a Conflict of Interest Policy and Terms of Reference for Independent Investigators to explore abuse and harassment complaints brought forward to the Commissioner’s Office.
Athletics Canada will continue to work with the sport community to bring improvements to the entire Canadian system. We encourage all those connected with our sport, athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers to speak their mind on the issue.