As I stated in my February 12, 2020 communique, creating a Safe Sport environment for our athletes and other members is one of the top priorities for Athletics Ontario. It is extremely important to us as an organization that all of our members are safe and feel safe within the broader athletics community.
While I recently spoke about harassment, discrimination and violence, another very important and related part of a safe sport environment is respectful and dignified communications and interactions. Our policies reinforce this, including our Code of Conduct which states in part:
- Be courteous and respectful to other members of the athletics community;
- Refrain from public criticism of other members of the athletics community.
While Athletics Ontario very much supports and encourages free speech, which is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and collaborative discussions, we are concerned that some social media exchanges are trending towards potentially breaching our Codes of Conduct and Social Media Policy. Provincial Sport Organizations like Athletics Ontario have the ability and, in fact, obligation to set standards for appropriate and ethical conduct for those wishing to participate as members in the organization, as long as those standards are not unreasonable or based on discriminatory grounds. All of our members agreed to abide by our policies and standards when they joined AO.
Athletics Ontario encourages a healthy, collaborative discussion on all important issues, particularly Safe Sport, but expects such discussion to occur in a respectful, healthy and dignified manner. All members of the athletics community should refresh themselves with the AO Codes of Conduct and Social Media Policy, which can be found at the following link: http://athleticsontario.ca/policies.
Athletics Ontario Chair of the Board of Directors