On behalf of Athletics Ontario, I want to recognize the strength and courage shown by Megan Brown in sharing her story. We applaud her bravery and understand that it could not have been easy for her to share such an experience. We thank her for helping us to work toward putting an end to abuse in sport.
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 in our programs and at our events. We will not tolerate any harassment, discrimination or violence directed at any of our members, be it physical, sexual or emotional. We have existing policies on harassment, discrimination and violence that all members, including coaches, are obligated to follow. Breaches of these policies will be investigated carefully and will result in sanctions. Nevertheless, we have been reviewing these policies very carefully and will be announcing revisions shortly that will further strengthen our sport safety net.
In 2019, Athletics Ontario implemented new operational requirements to improve the safe sport environment at the club level. While Athletics Ontario regularly conducts coaching clinics, and requires respect in sport training (Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders), we introduced two new coaching requirements (submission of a police background check, and completion of the Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders course) with the goal of ensuring that our coaches are adequately trained and fully understand what is and is not appropriate behaviour within the coach/athlete relationship. Along with these new coaching requirements, clubs must have a minimum of one (1) NCCP Club Coach Certified coach for every 35 athletes. These new requirements can all be found in our Membership Policy.
In the last few years Athletics Ontario has invested considerable effort to create and provide a Safe Sport environment for our athletes and other members, and we continue to work with the Athletics community to seek new ways of strengthening the safety net. We encourage all members to become knowledgeable on the issue, to review the following resources, and to raise with us any concerns that may jeopardize the safe sport environment.
- Athletics Ontario Safe Sport Webpage
- Athletics Ontario Policies and Procedures
- AO Complaint Form
- Contact Information for AO Harassment Officers
- Athletics Ontario Staff available to discuss concerns:
We ask you to join us in fostering and maintaining a safe sport environment and providing a safe future for our athletes.
President and Chair of the Athletics Ontario Board of Directors