We are meeting in a fairly special context, St-Onge said from the beginning. Over the past few days, months, and weeks, there have been numerous abuses and allegations of abuse, which have become a hot topic every week. These are hard to read, but they also have to mobilize us together.
After a series of consultations with community stakeholders since the end of March, the ministry has been able to develop new measures to clean up Canada’s sports environment.
Therefore, as of April 2023, compliance with new governance and accountability standards will be required to ensure that the federation is eligible for Sport Canada funding.
This measure is
Governance, accountability, and safe sports standards are met by federal-funded sports organizations...
In addition, an advisory board of athletes will be set up in Sports Canada to improve their representation in the sports system.
Major new players
St-Onge also welcomed the arrival of a new office of the Commissioner of Baseball (BCIS) for integrity in sports, which will begin its activities on June 20th.
Led by Sarah-Ève Pelletier, a former artistic swimmer who is a member of Barreaudu Québec and a certified civil mediator. BCISIt will be the main cell of the new Canadian Safe Sports Program.
Established by Canada’s Sports Dispute Resolution Center (SDRCC) BCISYou will be required to receive complaints about alleged cases of sports abuse. The agency can also initiate an independent investigation and recommend sanctions for those convicted of violations.
According to St-Onge BCISIt will be the basis for breaking the long-standing culture of silence in the Canadian sports system. “It gives athletes a clear path to abuse and cases of abuse,” she said. This is a big step forward in our sports system. »»
Saturday, COCAnnounced a $ 10 million investment in a secure sports initiative.CEO and Secretary-General COC David Shoemaker also recognized the urgency of acting in the face of situations that he described as intolerable.
Canadian sports have recently been hit by several crises.
According to Minister St-Onge, allegations of abuse, sexual abuse or misappropriation were filed against at least eight national sporting organizations during the first five months of her tenure, which began in October 2021.
In particular, Canadian gymnastics, artistic swimming, bobsley, rugby and swimming federations have all been accused of abuse, violence or maintaining a toxic climate in recent months.
Recently, stories of sexual assault allegedly committed by junior hockey players, including members of the 2018 edition of Junior Team Canada, have shaken the Canadian sports world.
St-Onge also announced in early June that an audit will be conducted in Canadian hockey to ensure that public funds are not being used to cover up the case.
“We get there because of joint efforts,” said the Federal Minister. Our goal is to balance performance with the well-being of athletes in a sports system that works for and with athletes. We want everyone to regain confidence in the system and joy that sport represents in our lives. »»
However, the minister admitted that the change would not happen overnight.
“Not everything is perfect, but we will work towards continuous improvement. […] We must show creativity and a lot of determination. But that’s what athletes and the sports world are familiar with. »»
One step in the right direction
Philippe Marquis, a former national team worker, praised the Government of Canada’s commitment to this issue.
Beyond the message, I’m particularly optimistic to see the collaboration and commitment of different groups and organizations in the sports system.He said.
People are ready to move on. For the past few days we really got together to discuss things. We listen to each other and do not work in a unique corridor. There is a sense of unity. However, I think athletes are still expecting more concrete results.
In recent years, we have felt that athletes can’t really sit at the table, Marquis continued. The athlete had to keep silent. They didn’t have much room to say what they felt, what they experienced, and the fear of being scolded, the silence … it feels like there is a change in the cap. Athletes, I have the impression that they are a little more respected.