March 27th, 2018

NDP calls for better protection of Canadian athletes

The NDP Critic for Sport, Cheryl Hardcastle, made the following statement:

“Recently, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women, Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) announced its “Advancing Equity” Strategic Plan. I congratulate CAAWS for this initiative and for the measures they proposed. Unfortunately, I would have liked to see measures addressing one of the most critical issues Canadian and international sport faces at this time: the sexual abuse and harassment of athletes. With more than two years in power, the Liberals have failed to take any concrete action on the matter.

A number of disturbing allegations have been brought forward against prominent figures in the Canadian athletic community, demonstrating that our government needs to do more to protect our athletes, and they need to do it now.

Canada requires legislation that would create an independent body where athletes can go if they find themselves in abusive and unsafe situations. At the present time, sport governing bodies basically regulate themselves, with little to no oversight. They perform all the monitoring, decision-making and administration, giving coaches and the bodies themselves complete power over the athlete. This approach does not work.

Legislation modelled after landmark legislation, the Safe Sport Act,which was recently passed in the United States is required. Our athletes need to be protected against mistreatment and abuse, and the best way to do that is for the government to establish an independent body charged with the ability to review and investigate cases, and where necessary, impose real sanctions.

It’s time for the Liberals to take action and protect Canadian athletes.”