Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton in Talks with Safe Sport Office to Improve Culture – National

The national governing body for bobsleigh and skeleton plans to work with Canada’s new Safe Sports Bureau.

A spokesman for Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) said Monday it was in negotiations with the Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner, which began receiving and processing complaints of abuse in sports on June 20.

The news follows more than 90 current and former bobsleigh and skeleton athletes who reiterate their call for Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge to help eliminate what they believe is a toxic environment in their sport.

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Olympic champion Kripps supports the athletes’ fight against Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton

Athletes were recently informed by OSIC that their long list of complaints could not be investigated as BCS is not a “signatory to the program and therefore OSIC has no authority to further investigate issues relating to its individual participants”.

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Of the more than 60 national sports organizations funded by Sport Canada, only volleyball and weightlifting have signed up with OSIC. BCS is one of many sports currently under negotiation.

Previously, national sports organizations had to have their own mechanism for handling complaints about safe sports, but there were major concerns about transparency and independence.

While Canada’s new Office for Reporting Abuse and Harassment in Sport should address those concerns, there is still work to be done.

“As someone with intimate knowledge of the NSO environment, several NSOs have not yet signed due to ambiguity over procedures and compensation,” said Mike Naraine, associate professor in Brock University’s Department of Sport Management. “If NSOs sign carte blanche and there is no explicit process on procedures, responsibilities and liabilities, the system would be a train wreck.”

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St-Onge has given national sport organizations a deadline of April 2023 for them to sign, and a spokesman for the minister said on Monday it is fully expected they will all have them by that date.

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The Minister recently frozen Gymnastics Canada funding until it registers with OSIC. The gymnastics association is also currently in negotiations with the safe sports office.

St-Onge froze Hockey Canada’s funding a few weeks ago in response to the national organization’s handling of an alleged sexual assault and an out-of-court settlement.

On Friday, about 90 bobsleigh and skeleton athletes — BCS Athlete for Change — wrote their first public letter of 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 completed.

The athletes said in Friday’s letter to St-Onge that systemic issues have plagued BCS in the eight years since Storey was elected.

“These issues remain unrecognized and unresolved by the organization,” they wrote. “During this time we have seen in both sports an increasing deterioration in day-to-day operations, athlete participation at national and grassroots levels, overall performance and competitiveness at international level, and culture within the organisation.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton in Talks with Safe Sport Office to Improve Culture – National


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