Minister Duncan Announces Support for Sport Organizations to Address Harassment, Abuse, Discrimination and Maltreatment in Sport

News release

OAKVILLE, May 21, 2019

All Canadians should have the opportunity to participate and excel in sport, regardless of gender, age or ability, and they should be able to do so in an environment free from harassment, abuse, discrimination and all forms of maltreatment. The lack of gender equity in the sport system has been identified as a contributing factor to harassment and abuse.

The Government of Canada has heard the issues and recommendations raised by current and former national team athletes in the Prevalence of Maltreatment in Sportsurvey and by athletes and sport organizations at the Safe Sport Summit.

The funding announced today supports National Sport Organizations, National Multisport Service Organizations, and Canadian Sport Centres and Institutes to:

  • deliver mandatory training on harassment and abuse in the form of e-learning, seminars and workshops to administrators, coaches, officials, parents and athletes;
  • close the gaps and reinforce best practices for internal policies to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse or discrimination; and
  • ensure access to an independent third party to provide a safe space to disclose and investigate harassment and abuse cases.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced $5 million in funding over three years to federally-funded sport organizations. This funding is part of the $30-million investment announced in Budget 2018 to support data, research and innovative practices to promote safe sport and the participation of girls and women in sport.

Our government has also proposed an investment of $30 million over five years in Budget 2019. This will enable Canadian sport organizations to advance safe, accessible, ethical and equitable sport. This funding will help ensure a higher standard of sport experience for Canadian families, athletes, coaches and other participants. Details on this funding are expected to be announced in the near future.

Today’s announcement follows a series of steps taken by Minister Duncan in recent months to make sport safer and improve gender equity in sport.

  • Last June, Minister Duncan announced tough new measures for federally-funded sport organizations and made it clear that the Government of Canada would withhold funding if they did not put in place specific measures to encourage healthy and safe sport environments.
  • At a federal-provincial-territorial sport ministers meeting in February, Minister Duncan and her counterparts signed the Red Deer Declaration, committing to the elimination of abuse, discrimination and harassment in sport. Collaboration at all levels continues with the collective goal of making transformational change in safe sport.
  • In March, Minister Duncan announced the creation of a third-party Investigation Unit through the established Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, an independent centre that serves members of the national sport community in helping resolve sport disputes, to hear complaints of abuse.
  • The Canadian Sport Helpline was also launched in March 2019 and provides a safe place for victims and witnesses of harassment, abuse and discrimination to receive guidance, or simply to speak in confidence to a neutral third party to get the help they need.
  • Minister Duncan established a federal Gender Equity Secretariat to develop, implement and monitor a gender equity strategy for sport in Canada and announced funding support to design, create and implement a gender equity research hub that would support safe sport study and consolidate safe sport research.
  • Minister Duncan also announced earlier this month the development of a model Code of Conduct for Sport in Canada to end abuse, discrimination and harassment in sport.


“We must put athletes of all ages and all abilities first and they must be at the centre of everything we do in sport. Together, we must do the hard work of changing sport culture. We’ll continue to work with the sport community to make Canadian sport safer, more welcoming and accessible for all Canadians.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“The Canadian Paralympic Committee applauds Minister Duncan for her continued leadership and commitment in working with her colleagues across the country and the sport community to address this issue with the urgency it requires. We fully stand behind this critical work and will be active participants in helping to ensure the sport community has the appropriate level of education, awareness, and tools to take the first steps towards building a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all Canadians.”

—Marc-André Fabien, President, Canadian Paralympic Committee

“Coming from a sport that champions gender equality and safety for its participants, we applaud this initiative. The message to athletes is simple and profound—you are being heard, and you will be safe and respected. I know our athletes—in fact, athletes from all sports—appreciate the work and devotion of Minister Duncan to making our sport system a safe place for all.”

—Katherine Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, Curling Canada

“The National Prevalence Study findings on current and former national team athletes’ experiences of maltreatment give us clear direction for future education and training needs. Learning that athletes most commonly experience psychologically and neglectfully harmful behaviours enacted by their coaches, high performance directors and teammates tell us where and to whom educational programmes should be targeted. In addition, as the findings indicate that female athletes report more experiences of all types of harm than male athletes sends a clear message that education and training needs to address violence against women and girls.”

—Gretchen Kerr, Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Vice-Dean, Programs and Innovation, University of Toronto

Quick facts

  • Budget 2018 included an initial three-year commitment of $30 million to support data, research and innovative practices to promote girls’ and women’s participation in sport, as well as to provide support to National Sport Organizations to encourage greater inclusion for girls and women. The government’s goal is to achieve gender equity in sport at every level by 2035.

  • Recent research notes that:

    • 41 percent of girls aged 3–17 and 84 per cent of women do not participate in sport;
    • 38 percent of senior staff of national multisport service organizations are women;
    • 29 percent of board members are women;
    • 34.9 percent of certified coaches are women; and
    • 30 percent of officials are women.
  • 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 provided a range of views and advice aimed at better understanding and serving the specific needs of girls and women in sport. Today’s announcement was informed by discussions held by members of the working group.

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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