PUTTING AN END TO ABUSE IN SPORT: THE COACHING ASSOCIATION OF CANADA IS WORKING ON DEVELOPING A NATIONAL CODE OF CONDUCT
As of January 2019, 358 organizations and over 28 coaches have pledged their commitment to the Responsible Coaching Movement
Ottawa, ON (February 11, 2019) – Since 2015, the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and the National Sport Organization (NSO) Safe Sport Task Force has been working to support the sport system with the implementation of a universal code of conduct to reduce all forms of abuse in sport. In collaboration with its partners, including provincial/territorial coaching representatives and national sport organizations, the CAC is making every effort to ensure that sport takes place in a safe environment.
Taking the time to do things right
While many sport organizations already have a process in place to protect their athletes, there is currently no universal system to prevent abuse across all sports and levels. This universal code of conduct would require, for example, mandatory training for coaches, athletes, volunteers and all other persons in contact with athletes, as well as the implementation of rules and procedures to ensure their protection.
“Many groups and sport organizations are already doing things right, yet there are different programs. Each province and territory meets the requirements of its own jurisdiction,” said Lorraine Lafrenière, Chief Executive Officer of the CAC. “If we are taking the time to implement this universal and national code of conduct, it’s to ensure it will be adopted, permanently, by all sport organizations and associations across the country.”
Safe Sport Summits across the country
In collaboration with its partners, the CAC will take part in meetings in March and April 2019 with provincial/territorial sport organizations and certain government agencies to share current best practices, with the goal of developing a universal code of conduct and a national code of sanctions that not only meet the needs of the organizations, but will also be implemented and enforced across the country. The location and dates of these Safe Sport Summits will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. Leading experts and researchers, along with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), will contribute to the summits.
“All Canadians deserve to participate and compete in a sport environment free from harassment, abuse or discrimination, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, religion, language, age and ability,” said the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport. “Harassment of any kind is completely unacceptable. That’s why our government is working with our sport partners to ensure the safety and security of athletes, coaches, and officials, and I know the Safe Sport Summit Series will contribute to that goal.”
Preventing repeat offences
This system would also include a code of sanctions that would be enforced across the country, thereby eliminating a major loophole in the sport system, through which, due to a lack of alignment, a coach is able to change clubs or even provinces to avoid sanctions for inappropriate conduct.
The challenges of community sport
“Community sport is largely based on the voluntary participation of members. We strongly encourage parents and families to ask more questions about the systems in place to protect their kids,” added Lafrenière. “The more questions asked, the more likely sport associations are to adopt a universal code to protect their athletes and participants.”
The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM), an initiative coordinated in partnership with the CAC and Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), encourages parents to be directly involved in their child’s athletic career to ensure it creates a safer, more secure, and rewarding experience for all participants. The Responsible Coaching Movement invites parents to consider three steps to responsible coaching and ask a coach, and their respective sport organization, if they have taken the RCM pledge and adopted safe sport policies and procedures.
Members of the National Sport Organization (NSO) Safe Sport Task Force
National Sport Organizations:
- Curling Canada: Katherine Henderson
- Canadian Fencing Federation: Caroline Sharp
- Hockey Canada: Todd Jackson; Glen McCurdie
- Swimming Canada: Ahmed El-Awadi (Co-Chair)
- Volleyball Canada: Mark Eckert
*Note: Additional project management support and resources have been provided by other NSO/MSOs including Skate Canada. Debra Armstrong has led the Task Force as the Project Manager and will continue to remain engaged.
Multi-sport Service Organizations:
- AthletesCAN: Ashley LaBrie
- Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport: Paul Melia
- Coaching Association of Canada: Lorraine Lafrenière (Co-Chair)
- Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada: Marie-Claude Asselin
- Institut national du sport du Québec on behalf of the COPSI network: Gaëtan Robitaille
- Canadian Paralympic Committee: Karen O’Neill
About the Coaching Association of Canada
The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) 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.
About the Responsible Coaching Movement
The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a multi-phase, system-wide movement, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), which has the potential to affect all sport organizations and coaches. Resulting from extensive ongoing consultation with the Canadian Sport Community, the RCM encourages the commitment and implementation of supportive policies to ensure the safety and protection of athletes and coaches, both on and off the field of play.
For more information or for interview requests, please contact:
Coaching Association of Canada
613-235-5000 ext. 2051