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March 18th, 2019

NDP Statement on Creation of Independent Body to Investigate Harassment and Abuse Complaints in Sport

NDP Critic for Sport and Persons with Disabilities Cheryl Hardcastle made the following statement:

“New Democrats welcome the federal government’s decision to establish an independent investigation unit for National Sport Organizations (NSO), and a national toll-free confidential helpline for victims and witnesses of abuse in sport.
The NDP has been calling for an independent investigative body for some time. Last year, we organized a National Symposium on Sexual Abuse in Sport, bringing together leading voices and experts across North America to consider the issue. We released a report to the Minister of Sport; which called for a well-resourced independent body with a mandate to investigate claims of abuse, the power to compel testimony and the production of documents, and which possessed the ability to impose real sanctions.
We will monitor this new unit closely as it is rolled out because many important questions remain unanswered. Will investigations take place only if the NSO asks for one, or will athletes be able to lodge a complaint independently, while having their privacy respected? Will an investigation be mandatory once a complaint has been made, as is the case with the United States Center for Safe Sport? Will the creation of the new unit mean that NSO’s will not have to pay for the investigation themselves?
Athletes deserve a safe environment in which they can train and compete free of harassment and abuse. We can do better and we will do better.
The NDP applauds the bravery of the many victims who have come forward at great risk to speak out about their personal stories of abuse. All athletes, past, present, and especially future, owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”