The national governing body for bobsleigh and skeleton plans to sign with Canada’s new Safe Sport Office.
A spokesperson for Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) said on Monday it was in negotiations with the Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner, which began receiving and processing complaints of abuse in sport on 20 June.
The news comes shortly after more than 90 current and former bobsleigh and skeleton athletes reiterated their call for Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge to help them clean up what they say is a toxic environment. in their sports.
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The athletes were recently told by OSIC that their long list of complaints could not be investigated as BCS is not “a signatory to the program and therefore OSIC does not have the authority to further examine the issues concerning its individual participants”.
Of the more than 60 national sport organizations funded by Sport Canada, only volleyball and weightlifting have signed with the OSIC. BCS is one of many sports currently in negotiation.
National sports organizations were previously required to have their own mechanism in place to deal with complaints about safe sport, but there were major concerns about transparency and independence.
While Canada’s new Sport Abuse and Harassment Reporting Office was intended to address these concerns, there are still issues to be resolved.
“As someone with intimate knowledge of the NSO environment, several NSOs have yet to sign on due to ambiguity in processes and compensation,” said Mike Naraine, associate professor in the Department of Management. of Sport from Brock University. “If NSOs sign carte blanche and there is no explicit process on procedure, responsibilities and accountabilities, the system would be a shipwreck.”
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St-Onge has set an April 2023 deadline for national sports organizations to sign up, and a spokesman for the minister said on Monday it is fully expected they will all have it by that date.
The Minister recently froze funding for Gymnastics Canada until it signed with the OSIC. The gymnastics federation is also currently in negotiations with the sports security office.
St-Onge froze funding for Hockey Canada several weeks ago in response to the national organization’s handling of an alleged sexual assault and an out-of-court settlement.
On Friday, some 90 bobsleigh and skeleton athletes _ BCS Athlete for Change _ wrote their first public letter in March calling for the resignation of BCS President Sarah Storey and High Performance Director Chris Le Bihan.
St-Onge then ordered a financial audit of the organization, which is still being finalized.
The athletes said in Friday’s letter to St-Onge that systemic issues have plagued BCS for the eight years since Storey’s election.
“These issues continue to be ignored and unresolved by the organization,” they wrote. “At this time, we have seen the growing deterioration in both sports of day-to-day operations, athlete participation at national and local level, overall performance and competitiveness on the international stage, and culture within organization.”
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