The World Forum - July 24th, 2024

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Sports integrity commissioner says safe sport gaps exposed in first year of office


Sarah-Eve Pelletier's first year as Canada's sport integrity commissioner showed her that her reach doesn't extend far enough.

Federally funded sports bodies are among the 86 organizations now under the umbrella of the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC), which was established in June 2022 to administrate the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport.

OSIC is designed to be one remedy to the country's safe sport crisis. Athletes have testified before parliamentary committees in recent months about the sexual, emotional and physical abuse they've experienced pursuing their sport at the highest level, and their fears of repercussions if they reported it.

The federal government's 2022 budget provided $16 million to fund Pelletier's office over its first three years of operations.

Once signed with OSIC, the sport and the people in it are bound by UCCMS, which covers grooming, neglect, physical, sexual and psychological abuse, as well as retaliation, failure to report maltreatment, false allegations and misuse of power.

National sport organizations were ordered to sign on to OSIC's Abuse-Free Sport program by April 1, lest they lose federal funding. But provincial and territorial, university, college, high school and club sports were under no such deadline.

Of the 193 reports and complaints OSIC received in its first year, 66 were under its jurisdiction for a 34 per cent intake rate.

OSIC received 97 reports and complaints in the fourth quarter of its first year, which almost doubled the number from the first three quarters.