Statement: Canadian athlete representatives strongly support Minister St-Onge’s Federal Governance Reforms

AthletesCAN, COC AC and CPC AC logos

TORONTO / OTTAWA – AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, the Canadian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission (COC AC), and the Canadian Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council (CPC AC) strongly support today’s announcement by Minister St-Onge for necessary governance reforms as a meaningful progression across the entire Canadian sport system.

As Canada’s elected athlete representatives covering 68 sports and over 6,000 current and recently-retired national team athletes, we applaud the Minister for her leadership. Though the sport system is not perfect yet and there is still a considerable amount of work to do, we are grateful for her continued engagement of the athlete community and the impact these collaborative consultations over the last several years will have in the ongoing efforts to affect change.

At the 2019 National Safe Sport Summit, all parties agreed to six key Safe Sport Consensus Statements. Over the last year, we supported athletes who bravely and courageously shared their stories and experiences of maltreatment and who helped shine a light on the problem. These athletes highlighted the need for vital conversations and assessments to understand the underlying structures that contribute to systemic abuse.

This dialogue has led us to the important changes unveiled today.

We believe this announcement by Minister St-Onge is a critical advancement for Canada towards a sport system in which athletes are partners. We continually advocate for an athlete-centred approach, which includes a revision to the Canadian Sport Policy, increased accountability for sport organizations, mandatory athlete representation, removal of non-disclosure agreements and a shift from short-term peak performance emphasis towards a system that prioritizes the well-being of athletes. We are grateful to have these critical components addressed by this reform.

In particular, these initiatives further cement the modernization of Sport Canada’s approach to governance and federal funding that will hold all National and relevant Multisport Service Organizations (NSOs / MSOs), as well as the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute (COPSI) Network accountable. We believe it is a significant breakthrough in developing a system that standardizes a transparent, safe, welcoming and inclusive environment.

This is a critical move towards building a stronger foundation. We recognize that there has been pain and suffering and acknowledge that this is a real experience for many athletes within and outside of our membership. We know the healing process is far from completion. Still, we are very excited to celebrate these commitments from the Minister, as we believe it sets the necessary foundations for the future of Canadian athletes.

About AthletesCAN

AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world.  As the voice of over 6,000 current and recently retired Canadian national team athletes, AthletesCAN membership spans 68 sports across the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan/Parapan American, and Commonwealth Games, and those currently funded by Sport Canada competing at Senior World Championships.

AthletesCAN ensures an athlete-centered sport system by developing athlete leaders who influence sport policy and, as role models, inspire a strong sport culture, through educational resources, support, training and professional development.  

Follow us on social @AthletesCAN and Join #TheCollective today.

About the COC Athletes' Commission

The COC Athletes’ Commission represents the voice of Canadian Olympic athletes to the Canadian Olympic Committee Board of Directors, to Sport Canada, to the International Olympic Committee, international sport federations and all other domestic sport organizations. It is instrumental in presenting Canadian athletes’ perspectives in areas ranging from athlete rights, safe sport policies, marketing & COC partnership agreements, Olympic team selection policies and much more.

About the CPC Athletes' Council

The CPC Athletes’ Council is an elected group of current and retired Paralympic athletes (within the past eight years) that serve as the collective voice, advocating the best interests of Canada’s Paralympic athletes and the Paralympic movement within Canada. The Athletes’ Council works to provide input and recommendations from an athlete perspective to the Canadian Paralympic Committee staff, committees and Board of a Directors with respect to decision making at all levels of the organization.

For more information, please contact:

Alan Hudes
Manager, Communications                                and Sport Partnerships
613-526-4025 Ext. 224
[email protected]

COC Athletes’ Commision
[email protected]

CPC Athletes’ Council
[email protected]