Embattled Rowing Canada signs with OSIC on heels of damaging independent study


Rowing Canada has signed an settlement to affix Abuse-Free Sport, three weeks after an independent report Olympic champion Marnie McBean known as “stunning” revealed a toxic setting within the sport.

The nationwide federation will have the ability to entry the brand new Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner following a transition interval that may finish no later than Dec. 13.

“The sport neighborhood is in want of a constant nationwide secure sport program and it is a nice step ahead for everybody concerned in sport in Canada,” stated Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Rowing Canada’s director of partnerships and sport improvement. “We stay up for working with the (Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada).”

Canada’s girls’s eight crew rowed to gold on the Tokyo Olympics, persevering with the custom of excellence in Canadian rowing. But athletes complained a couple of toxic setting beneath the floor, prompting a third-party investigation by Rubin Thomlinson LLP.

McBean, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, quoted some of the report’s findings in an Instagram submit: Over 50 per cent of folks surveyed describe their expertise with RCA’s high-performance setting as detrimental; over 85 per cent of folks surveyed witness, skilled or heard maltreatment; and over 25 per cent of these surveyed would not report maltreatment.

“These outcomes must be a transparent indicator to RCA board members that rowing isn’t being managed properly by its management and that change is required instantly,” McBean wrote. “When are they going to simply accept the proof that has been offered to them?”

A member of Canada’s Olympic group advised The Canadian Press she was recovering from an consuming dysfunction attributable to her unhealthy relationship with former nationwide girls’s coach Dave Thompson, who was fired in February 2020, 5 months forward of the unique begin date of the Tokyo Olympics. The dismissal got here after a 2019 criticism filed in opposition to him beneath Rowing Canada’s Prevention of Abuse, Harassment and Bullying Policy.

Thomlinson’s scathing report on its investigation, launched Oct. 3, discovered that Thompson’s detrimental have an effect on on this system, and the shortage of transparency from RCA round his dismissal, was one of the most important points and left a long-lasting blow.

Katie Edwards, previous president of Row Nova Scotia and president of the Canadian University Rowing Association, stated she was struck by the actual fact Rowing Canada hasn’t carried out something to retain, promote or develop feminine coaches, which was addressed within the report.

Michelle Darvill was out of a job after teaching Canada’s girls’s eight to Olympic gold. She now coaches the Dutch girls’s group, which gained seven medals on the current world championships.

“There are coaches who would lay down in visitors for you, and (Darvill is) like that, and the ladies on that group would do something for her,” Edwards stated. “She got here again from the Tokyo Olympics on the airplane with the ladies jobless.”

Rowing Canada’s announcement Friday got here on the heels of one other embattled federation, Gymnastics Canada, asserting it had signed on with OSIC.

Canada’s first sport integrity commissioner, Sarah-Eve Pelletier, started receiving and addressing complaints of maltreatment in sport on June 20. Canada’s sport minister Pascale St-Onge has given nationwide sport organizations till April to sign on or threat shedding federal funding.

Edwards stated we have to cease viewing maltreatment circumstances in sport as anomalies.

“It is so widespread for folks to have detrimental experiences in sport, but it surely’s additionally equally widespread for folks not to discuss these detrimental experiences, and even to acknowledge them as detrimental or abusive,” she stated. “So, is rowing above that? No. And I feel any sport group is barely reflective of the folks on the helm.”

Rowing took one other hit final week when the game was dropped from the Canada Games program for 2025.

“Rowing Canada appears persuaded that we’re going to have the ability to get again in for 2029, however that is by no means a certainty,” stated Edwards. “And nonetheless, that signifies that a era if not two of younger rowers will not have Canada Games.”

The funding for a lot of provinces is tied on to the Canada Games, Edwards added.

“So, what we’re seeing already in B.C. is that the provincial coach now not has a place,” she stated.

RCA stated it has adopted the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS), which is a requirement earlier than it may possibly grow to be half of the Abuse-Free Sport program, and that the transition interval will embody “continued updating of our secure sport insurance policies.”

Rowing Canada stated that previous to Dec. 13, members who’ve skilled or witnessed abuse can entry third-party companies via Lisa MacLean of Wiser Workplaces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Oct. 21, 2022.


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