Creating a Nationwide Code of Conduct and a New Gender Equity Secretariat are Next Steps to Eliminating Abuse, Discrimination and Harassment in Sport

News release

Ottawa, Ontario, February 21, 2019

All Canadians participating in sport have the right to an environment that is safe and free from abuse, discrimination and harassment. The well-being of our athletes and children in sport must be at the forefront of all that we do.

The Government of Canada recognizes that a systemic culture shift is required to address abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, together with the Coaching Association of Canada, announced an important step in the development of a model Code of Conduct for sport in Canada and the creation of a new Gender Equity Secretariat.

The Code of Conduct will serve as a model that can be used in all sports at all levels, from national sports organizations to community teams. This Code will serve as a basis for the management of abuse, discrimination and harassment cases and as a model for common sanctioning for those who breach the Code.

To develop the nationwide Code of Conduct, the Government of Canada is investing $209,000 toward a Safe Sport Summit Series hosted by the Coaching Association of Canada. This March, provincial, territorial and national sport organizations, athletes, safe sport organizations, and groups that are independent of sport organizations such as researchers and child advocates, will collaborate in developing the Code through a series of regional workshops across the country. This series will culminate in a national Safe Sport Summit in Ottawa in the spring to further advance the work. The dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Gender Equity Secretariat will be tasked with developing, implementing and monitoring a gender equity strategy. Having greater participation of women in leadership roles, coaching and officiating would contribute to greater safety in sport.

Through this Secretariat, Sport Canada will be supporting, administering and monitoring existing and emerging gender equity initiatives and programs aimed at attracting and retaining women and girls in sport, as well as initiatives to introduce women and girls to sport at all levels, including as athletes, coaches, officials, and leaders.

The announcement today further builds on the Red Deer Declaration agreed to by the Government of Canada and all provincial and territorial governments on February 14, 2019, committing them to move together toward the elimination of abuse, discrimination and harassment in sport.

As well, the announcement enhances the measures Minister Duncan introduced last June when she indicated she would withhold funding unless federally-funded National Sport Organizations strengthened their mandatory anti-harassment, abuse and discrimination policies; immediately disclosed any incident of harassment, abuse or discrimination; put in place an independent third party to address these cases; and provided mandatory training to their members by April 2020.


“All children in sport and athletes deserve to participate in sports free from abuse, discrimination and harassment and that includes bullying, hazing, sexual misconduct or any form of emotional, psychological or physical abuse on and off the field of play. Our government is working with our sport partners across the country to ensure that each child or athlete has a sport experience that allows them to realize the wonderful benefits that sport provides.”

— The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport 

“The partnership within the National Coaching Certification Program on behalf of all governments is built on trust and respect for each other’s roles. We continue to collaborate on all aspects of coaching education and ethics within our jurisdictions. These summits provide an opportunity to create a pan-Canadian understanding of how we can better work together.”

— Lorraine Lafrenière, Chief Executive Officer, Coaching Association of Canada

“We welcome these initiatives and hope that the consultations will be open, transparent and inclusive in order to allow all of the key players in the sport system to provide input on a future code of conduct. We are also pleased about the creation of a Secretariat, and we fully support it. For us, this is a first step toward the creation of a fully independent body for the management of the violence experienced by our athletes.”

— Guylaine Demers and Bruce Kidd, Co-Chairs of the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Sport Committee Work Group on Women and Girls in Sport

Quick facts

  • In the 2018 Federal Budget, the Government of Canada announced a target to achieve gender equality in sport at every level by 2035. This included an initial three-year commitment of $30 million to support data and research and innovative practices to promote women’s and girls’ participation in sport, and provide support to national sports organizations to promote the greater inclusion of women and girls in all facets of sport.

  • In April 2018, Minister Duncan convened a Working Group on Gender Equity in Sport to gather the experiences, perspectives and insights of 12 champions for gender equity in sport. The group’s mandate also included providing a range of views and advice aimed at better understanding and serving the specific needs of women and girls in sport.

  • The Government of Canada’s priority, informed by discussions held by members of the Minister’s Working Group on Gender Equity in Sport, led to the creation of the Gender Equity, Inclusion and Innovation Secretariat at Sport Canada. As such, resources are now dedicated to developing policies, monitoring the implementation of gender equity initiatives, and ensuring that outcomes are achieved in all facets of the Canadian sport system.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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