Canada’s new safe sport office to begin Phase 1 of operations on June 20

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Canada's office for reporting abuse and harassment in sport will begin operations on June 20.

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Canada’s office for reporting abuse and harassment in sport will begin operations on June 20.

Sport Canada and the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) announced the opening date of the first phase of operations of the Office of Canada’s Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC) on Tuesday.

Developed by the SDRCC with funding from the Government of Canada, the OSIC will be the central hub for Canada’s new, independent safe sport program.

Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. Canada's office for reporting abuse and harassment in sport will begin operations on June 20.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Former artistic swimmer Sarah-Eve Pelletier was named Canada’s first sport integrity commissioner last month.

“This marks a major milestone in the collective efforts to achieve abuse-free sport in Canada,” Pelletier said in a release. “Our office is committed to doing everything within its mandate to advance a respectful sport culture that delivers quality, inclusive, accessible, welcoming and safe sport experiences.”

The OSIC will take complaints about alleged violations of the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS), which defines maltreatment and prohibited behaviour as well as provides a framework for determining sanctions.

Among Phase 1 operations, the OSIC will receive reports about violations through a confidential online platform and offer education and prevention tools and resources, including mental health and legal aid referrals.

The OSIC also plans to host a series of information sessions with national-level athletes and others in the sport community in the coming weeks.

Canada’s Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge said in her first five months on the job she received complaints of abuse, maltreatment and/or misappropriation of funds against national teams in eight sports.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.

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