The Standing Committee on the Status of Women delivered a report to Parliament
The GIST: Change is (hopefully) on its way for the broken Canadian sports system. The Standing Committee on the Status of Women delivered a report to Parliament on Wednesday, offering 24 key recommendations to improve athlete safety.
The context: There’s been a #MeToo-esque movement across Canadian governing sport bodies over the last year, initially sparked by the bombshell sexual assault allegation against members of Hockey Canada’s 2018 world juniors team.
- Since launching an investigation into that allegation, the Standing Committee has heard from 43 witnesses and read 19 separate briefs outlining athletes’ experiences of psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.
The system: The report found a connection between higher levels of competition and the likelihood of experiencing abuse.
- One potential reason? Both the government and the organization Own The Podium (which helps fund Olympic athletes’ sporting careers) base their investment on each sports’ medal potential, creating a system where winning is often prioritized over athlete safety.
- In turn, sport governing bodies may be hesitant to use their limited resources to fund investigations into alleged abuse and instead focus their efforts on winning in order to survive. A vicious cycle.
What’s next: The Standing Committee’s report outlines 24 recommendations to ensure survivors are empowered to report maltreatment, investigations are conducted fairly, and the future of sport is equitable and safe. The time for action is now.