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Sport minister to launch ’independent mechanism’ to review abuse in Canadian sports

Canada's Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, Carla Qualtrough, speaks at Canada's practice session at the Women's World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, on July 30. Today, she revealed plans to announce a 'formal, independent mechanism' to review systemic abuse and human rights violations in Canadian sports.

Canada's Minister of Sport and Physical Activity, Carla Qualtrough, speaks at Canada's practice session at the Women's World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, on July 30. Today, she revealed plans to announce a 'formal, independent mechanism' to review systemic abuse and human rights violations in Canadian sports.

Photo: (Victoria Adkins/The Associated Press)

RCI

Pledge comes amid growing calls for public inquiry

Minister of Sport Carla Qualtrough said early next week she's announcing a formal, independent mechanism to review systemic abuse and human rights violations in Canadian sports.

Qualtrough made the comment in Switzerland at a UN forum amid ongoing calls inside Canada from athletes, coaches and MPs to launch a public inquiry into abuse in sports.

The process will be trauma-informed, human rights based and forward-looking, she said in a speech (new window) at the Sporting Chance Forum Tuesday in Geneva. 

Elite athletes in multiple sports have accused the federal government of failing to act in response to abuse in sports. They're among those who have appeared before House of Commons' committees investigating the problem and have repeatedly demanded a public inquiry. (new window)

Former minister of sport Pascale-St-Onge committed to do something to address athletes whether it was a public inquiry or some sort of investigation before she was shuffled to another cabinet position this summer.

In other scenarios when the government was facing a crisis, it appointed people such as retired Supreme Court justices to independently review the problem. For example, amid the military's sexual misconduct crisis, the government tasked retired Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour with reviewing the issue and releasing a report. 

Earlier this year, Ottawa appointed former governor general David Johnston as an independent special rapporteur on foreign interference to probe China's attempts to meddle in the past two elections, before he stepped down from the role amid controversy and a public inquiry was called. 

Qualtrough did not say what the independent mechanism to investigate abuse in sports would look like during her comments in Geneva. 

She said she's also announcing a series of immediate actions to address issues that abuse survivors have exposed and underscored at parliamentary committees. 

The announcement will include what happens next with Canada's abuse in safe sports program and the office of the sport integrity commissioner, Qualtrough said.

More to come

Ashley Burke (new window) · CBC News

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