Building a safe sport system for Canada
OTTAWA, December 11, 2023
In Canada, sport is a source of national pride and resilience. It builds communities, stimulates economies and contributes to the overall well-being of Canadians and our country. However, without sufficient safeguards and accountability, sport can also do harm. For too long, victims and survivors have experienced maltreatment in the Canadian sport system.
That’s why, to ensure all participants enjoy a safe, inclusive and welcoming sport experience, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, announced today the creation of the Future of Sport in Canada Commission.
The Commission will undertake an independent and forward-looking review of Canada’s sport system. Over the course of 18 months, it will engage and seek input from a broad array of stakeholders, including survivors and victims of maltreatment in sport, to bring to light lived experiences, support healing and engage on how to improve the sport system in Canada. This process will be trauma-informed, survivor-centred and human rights-based.
While the Commission conducts its independent review, the Government of Canada will move forward with additional immediate actions to address maltreatment in the sport system.
Improving Canada’s independent third-party mechanism
In 2022, the Abuse-Free Sport Program and the independent Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner were established. To ensure greater independence, the Government of Canada will begin to transition the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner and the Abuse-Free Sport Program out of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada.
Athletes at the centre of decision-making
Government program and policy decision making will be strengthened through direct engagement with athletes to learn from their lived experiences. To ensure that athletes are at the centre of decision making, the previously announced Sport Canada Athlete Advisory Committee will be elevated to a Ministerial Athlete Advisory Committee. On January 10, 2024, the Minister of Sport and Physical Activity will re-open the call for applications for athletes who are interested in participating in this Advisory Committee.
As the voice of Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN ensures an athlete-centred sport system that includes the input of athletes from across the sport system. The Government of Canada highly values the perspectives of AthletesCAN and will continue to strengthen its capacity to ensure athletes’ voices are at the heart of decision-making structures.
Going forward, accountability will be integrated into all aspects of funding to national and multi-sport organizations through a new approach to funding. A modernized funding framework will include strengthened accountability measures and more streamlined, risk-based compliance.
Sport Integrity Framework
Integrity in sport encompasses a broad range of policies and procedures that impact participants across sport contexts. The Government of Canada will develop a Sport Integrity Framework for Canada, which will consolidate all sport integrity policy and make it easily accessible for athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and parents. Within this framework, the Government of Canada will develop new policies on safeguarding, specifically safeguarding children.
International leadership on safe sport and human rights
As safe sport issues continue emerging around the world, Canada is engaging with international partners on how to collectively advance safeguarding through human rights in sport. The Minister of Sport and Physical Activity will create an International Workgroup on Integrity in Sport to continue to work together to share best practices and lessons learned on human rights protection in sport.
“Canadians expect and deserve a sport system that is safe, inclusive and welcoming. The actions announced today are important steps forward in realizing a safe sport experience for all athletes and participants. Through the Future of Sport in Canada Commission’s independent review, we will continue learning from the lived experiences of victims and survivors while supporting healing and improving our sport system. Together with the complementary actions and a human rights-based approach, we will build a sport system that is safe and responsible and reflects our values of equality, fairness and inclusion.”
—The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Physical Activity
The Future of Sport in Canada Commission will review the sport system in Canada and make recommendations for improvements on safe sport and the Canadian sport system. It will report publicly on its findings and recommendations. It will be trauma-informed and survivor-centered. It will be forward-looking and grounded in a human rights approach, and will be intersectional, inclusive and accessible. The Commission will be independent, transparent and flexible.
The Commission will consist of three individuals: an Independent Commissioner and two Special Advisors. The Commissioner will be a legal expert who is external to the Canadian sport system. One Special Advisor will be an expert with lived experience and/or expertise in victims’ rights and trauma-informed processes. The other Special Advisor will be an expert on the Canadian sport system.
National team athletes who are interested in joining the Athlete Advisory Committee to the Minister of Sport and Physical Activity will be able to submit their applications in January through an open call. Please note that the applications received earlier this year will still be taken into consideration.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Sport and Physical Activity
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