The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, accompanied by sport leaders and athlete representatives, provided an update on and announced measures for safe sport.
First, the Minister followed up on the roundtables launched on March 31, when an initial emergency meeting with various leaders of the sport system was convened to start a dialogue to identify collective solutions.
She noted that several observations clearly emerged from this period of consultation, including the need to improve organizations’ accountability, the need to promote better governance practices within organizations, and the need to increase the representation and voice of athletes in our system.
Second, the Minister took the opportunity to announce new measures that fall within her jurisdiction and will be led by Sport Canada.
Responsibility, Accountability and Governance: Effective April 1, 2023, Sport Canada will make changes to contribution agreements with organizations that will meet the new eligibility requirements of the Sport Funding and Accountability Framework. The goal is to ensure that sport organizations receiving federal funding meet specific governance, accountability and safe sport standards. Over the next few months, Sport Canada will work to develop new requirements and standards to achieve this objective.
Sport Canada Athlete Advisory Committee: This committee will be created to increase the representation of athletes in the sport system and to allow Sport Canada to obtain advice and guidance that reflect the realities of athletes in Canada.
The Minister also stressed the importance of the creation of the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC), which will become operational on June 20. She noted that this independent mechanism will gradually become mandatory for all national sport organizations. She described the establishment of the OSIC as an important step to challenge the culture of silence and to provide a clear and reliable way for all participants in sport to report abuse and mistreatment and to be heard and supported. Budget 2022 proposed an investment of $16 million over three years to support the OSIC.
Finally, Minister St-Onge committed to continuing the work, noting that these new measures are only part of the solution, which is that responsibility must be shared by all leaders in the field. She concluded by noting the importance of the consultations for the renewal of the Canadian Sport Policy in the current context and expressed her support for a constructive dialogue with provincial and territorial partners, which is essential to achieve a change in sport culture.
The Government and its sport partners will continue to work together to ensure that we collectively create a safe and inclusive sport environment for all Canadians.