The Government of Canada Developing a Nationwide Code of Conduct to Eliminate Harassment, Abuse and Discrimination in Sport

News release

OTTAWA, May 8, 2019

Our athletes are a tremendous source of national pride. Their determination and passion serve as an inspiration for Canadians, especially for young athletes and children in sport who dream of standing on the podium. The fact that athletes and sport participants have suffered from all types of harmful behaviour is unacceptable.

That is why the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty, announced today the next phase in the development of a model code of conduct for sport in Canada to end abuse, discrimination and harassment in sport.

The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) hosted a series of 13 consultations with experts and sport officials across the country. These consultations culminated in this week’s National Safe Sport Summit, where highlights of the discussions will be presented.

Expected outcomes of the summit include:

  • The education of sport leaders from across the country and the national sport system on power imbalance and consent, and the endorsement of the definitions of maltreatment, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, bullying and neglect

  • A pan-Canadian snapshot for consensus for a harmonized code and harmonized sanctions

  • The endorsement of a clause banning sexual relationships between National Sport Organization-employed coaches and national team athletes

  • Consensus on the principles required for the code of conduct, dealing with all forms of maltreatment

  • Consensus for identifying the next steps to create safer sport and the timing for moving forward

Attendees at the National Safe Sport Summit will also hear from two victims of emotional and sexual abuse.

As Budget 2019 committed, our government has proposed an investment of $30 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, to enable Canadian sport organizations to advance safe, accessible, ethical and equitable sport. This funding will help ensure a higher standard 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 on the code of conduct 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 encouraging 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.

  • 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.


“We are well on our way toward our goal of developing a harmonized code of conduct for our country’s sport system that will keep athletes and children in sport safe. Working together through 13 regional summits and today’s National Summit, we are making progress in our fight to eliminate harassment, abuse and discrimination in sport.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

“It’s been an honour to work with every provincial and territorial partner to host safe sport summits across the country. We applaud the dedication of the sport community in Canada in pursuing this critical initiative and its passion for protecting its athletes and coaches from harassment and abuse. Today marks an important milestone in the creation of a harmonized, pan-Canadian Code of Conduct for Safe Sport.”

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

Quick facts

  • Once finalized, the code of conduct will be shared with provincial and territorial ministers to consider and build on the systemic culture change our government is making in sport.

  • The Coaching Association of Canada unites stakeholders and partners in its commitment to raising the skills and stature of coaches, and ultimately expanding their reach and influence. Through its programs, the CAC empowers coaches with knowledge and skills, promotes ethics, fosters positive attitudes, builds competence, and increases the credibility and recognition of coaches.

  • The mission of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada is to provide expertise and assistance to the sport community to help prevent and resolve disputes at the highest levels in the sport sector. The SDRCC’s new independent Investigation Unit will operate as a pilot project until March 2020, at which time it will be assessed with a view to improve upon best practices.

  • The Canadian Sport Helpline provides professional listening and referral services by phone or text at 1-888-83-SPORT (77678) or by email at, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, seven days a week.

  • The Investigation Unit and the Canadian Sport Helpline are not meant to replace existing resources or other helplines, but rather to complement them to properly guide Canadians and sport organizations when they are facing issues of harassment, abuse and discrimination.

Associated links


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

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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