MONTREAL (June 12, 2022) – Today, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced an investment of $10 million in Safe Sport initiatives to help build a healthy, safe and barrier-free sport system in Canada.
The announcement was made by David Shoemaker, COC CEO and Secretary General, during his remarks at COC’s annual Session.
“Athletes and sport leaders agree that the current situation in our system is untenable,” said Shoemaker. “We all want a safe and accessible system that also produces results on the world’s stage. To get there, we need to work collaboratively to find and implement solutions. This contribution underscores the COC’s commitment to a safe and barrier-free sport system, now and in the future.”
Inspired by the call to action from the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, earlier this year, the announcement acknowledges the work that needs to be done to ensure the Canadian sport system is a safe environment in which Canadian athletes are able to achieve their full potential. The size and scope of the announcement also reaffirm the COC’s commitment to playing a leadership role in the Canadian sport system, particularly on matters that affect the health, performance, and well-being of Canadian athletes.
“We need to engage the entire sport community in our efforts to create a safer Canadian sport environment,” said Minister St-Onge. “This is a collective problem that requires a collective solution. I commend the Canadian Olympic Committee for being proactive and recognizing the need to act urgently on the issue of safety and well-being in sport. We must keep working together and building on what has already been done collectively to make sure that our athletes are able to thrive in a sport environment that is free of abuse, harassment, discrimination and mistreatment.”
Following this announcement, the COC will continue to engage with key stakeholders including elected athlete representatives, National Sport Organization leaders, Sport Canada, the Coaching Association of Canada, the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner and more to identify and inform specific areas for investment, which may include prevention, education, and governance.
The funding will also continue the work the COC has already been doing in areas such as increased mental health support for athletes and staff, support for governance changes and increased athlete representation, and finding ways to make a difference at the grassroots level.
“This is an important announcement from the COC, and an encouraging step in the right direction for the entire Canadian sport system,” said Rosie MacLennan, two-time Olympic champion and Chair of the COC Athletes’ Commission. “In order for athletes to perform at their best, we need a system that is safe, equitable, and that puts the mental and physical health of athletes at the centre. This new funding and the commitment to work with the athlete community will help make that a priority.”
The announcement occurred at the COC’s annual Session, which was held from June 10 to June 12 in Montreal. The three-day event brought together the COC’s leadership, board of directors, and leaders from National Sport Organizations and sport partners from across the country, and featured a series of Community Conversations centered around safe sport.
Story and photo courtesy of the Canadian Olympic Committee.