Minister Duncan Announces Stronger Measures to Eliminate Harassment, Abuse and Discrimination in Sport

News release

OTTAWA, June 19, 2018

All Canadians deserve to participate and compete in a sport environment, free from harassment, abuse or discrimination, regardless of gender, race, religion, language, age and ability.

The Government of Canada recognizes the presence of harassment, abuse and discrimination in sport and is committed to stopping further instances.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced stronger measures to eliminate harassment in the Canadian sport system.

Funding agreements

New provisions in funding agreements will support eligible sport organizations in fostering healthy and safe workplace environments. Effective immediately:

  • Federally funded sport organizations must take all necessary measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse or discrimination of any kind.

  • They must immediately disclose any incident of harassment, abuse or discrimination that could compromise the project or programming to the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

  • They must make provisions—within their governance framework—for access to an independent third party to address harassment and abuse cases.

  • They must provide mandatory training on harassment and abuse to their members by April 1, 2020 and are challenged to make this a priority and put mandatory training in place as soon as possible.

Sport organizations are required, through an eligibility requirement under Sport Canada’s Sport Funding and Accountability Framework, to have a formal policy to address harassment and abuse in order to receive federal funding. These policies have been updated over the years to stay effective and relevant, however, these new measures announced today will strengthen existing tools and provisions.

In addition to these changes in funding agreements, the following steps are also being taken:

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Working Group

Minister Duncan is calling on her provincial and territorial counterparts through the new Federal-Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Safety, Integrity and Ethics in Sport to recommend solutions in common areas of harassment and abuse in sport. These recommendations will be presented at the next conference of the ministers responsible for sport, physical activity and recreation in February 2019, in Red Deer, Alberta, if not at an earlier opportunity.

Working Group on Gender Equity in Sport

Established in May 2018 by Minister Duncan, the new Working Group on Gender Equity in Sport, comprised of leaders in the sport community, will identify additional measures to address the issue of harassment, abuse and discrimination in sport.

Budget 2018

Budget 2018 announced a target to achieve gender equity in sport at every level by 2035 and proposes an initial $30 million over three years to support data and research and innovative practices to promote women and girls’ participation in sport. The lack of gender equity in the sport system has been identified as a contributing factor to harassment and abuse.

Canada’s world-class sport system rests on a foundation of respect, dignity and opportunity; these enhanced measures will further protect Canadians participating in sport by ensuring safe and healthy sport environments.


Harassment of any kind is completely unacceptable, and the safety and security of athletes, coaches and officials is always our top priority.We all must play a role in protecting our young people and our athletes: to speak up when we see something that doesn’t seem quite right and to listen—really listen—to our athletes. And most importantly, to act when the situation demands it to ensure our athletes always have the support they need from us.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“As the collective voice of Canada’s national team athletes, we commend the federal government and Minister Duncan for taking a leadership role in the pursuit of safe sport in Canada. Sport has a duty of care to protect its athletes. We must work together to ensure that our sport system has, understands and implements the proper policies and procedures, and that those in positions of power undergo mandatory training to identify risks, recognize abuse and harassment, and swiftly remedy any violations through the appropriate measures. For athletes, access to support—as well as a safe space to address questions and concerns and to report—is critical. As we work towards safe sport on a united front, AthletesCAN will continue to be steadfast in our support of the courageous athletes who speak out on this important issue and pave the way for others.”

—Ashley LaBrie - Executive Director, AthletesCAN

“We applaud Minister Duncan and the federal government for the introduction of these measures and for their willingness to create an abuse-free environment in sport. We stand behind their commitment to ensuring the safety of all sport participants. The Coaching Association of Canada also applauds the great work done to date by all sport organizations in developing and implementing safe sport policies.”

—Lorraine Lafrenière, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada

Quick facts

  • Sport Canada was part of the collective that developed a report, published in 1996 and called Harassment in Sport: A Guide to Policies, Procedures and Resources, that served as a guidance document to assist sport organizations in developing policies to address harassment.

  • Several initiatives already exist in this area and are available to sport organizations. For example, the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport’s Responsible Coaching Movement address the relationship between coaches and athletes in potentially vulnerable situations.

  • Internally, the Government of Canada, both as an employer and as a regulator, is reviewing and updating its approach to dealing with harassment in the workplace under the Canada Labour Code (Bill C-65). It is are committed to providing a healthy workplace that supports all employees’ dignity, self-esteem and ability to do their job effectively.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Annabelle Archambault
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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