The work of Canada’s first Sports Integrity Commissioner | Did you see?


Q. How did you react to your appointment to this position?

A. As you know, I was also a synchronized swimmer. My sport’s names have changed since I retired [NDLR : natation artistique]which means I retired a while ago!

I had a positive experience in the sport. Since retiring, what has always guided my professional journey in some way has been my desire to act as an agent of positive change in sport. As soon as I chose to pursue a career in law, which was not an end in itself, I found a way to give back to the sport.

Q. You studied law enforcement, which, among other things, got you a job with the International Olympic Committee and the Canadian Olympic Committee. How will all this history help you in your new role?

A. A lot of experience and learning may be involved, but there is definitely an idea to listen to the needs of the community.

It is important to me to listen to people and try to meet their needs while using external expert resources in appropriate areas.

Q. Since the beginning of April, you have been the first Sports Integrity Commissioner in Canada. Concretely, what is your authority in this new position?

A. Our role as the Sports Integrity Commissioner is to administer the Universal Code of Conduct for Preventing and Addressing Maltreatment in Sport (CCUMS).

More specifically, this means that our office is responsible for receiving and processing complaints of abuse affecting individuals who are members of our program’s signatory organizations.

Q. What role or connection will you have in the independent grievance management mechanism to be established in the coming weeks?

A. Regarding the role of the commissioner, the individual role I will therefore be called to play is not a role that is involved in the decision of each case of complaints we receive. One of the really important concepts at the heart of the mechanism and the office is the concept of independence.

Our office receives complaints and does some management. On the other hand, when it is appropriate for a complaint to continue to progress towards a comprehensive investigation, these investigations are conducted through the services of independent investigators.

There will be a team, a system and parameters to guide these independent inspectors in carrying out their duties. In terms of possible sanctions against individuals, this role is separate from the post of commissioner.

The Commissioner’s role is to act as a central resource to oversee the smooth running of all these functions. I can understand that it is a very complex system to develop and understand, but we want to make sure we create something that will gain users’ trust and that people can access.

We will also provide resources for psychological support, mental health and legal aid for specific individuals who may be eligible. Moreover, we believe that education has an important place.

Q. The first phase of operations will begin on 20 June. What steps will be taken when starting the process?

A. It will be a phased approach, we will provide service to receive complaints. They must first be evaluated to determine the best course of action through mediation or further research. As soon as complaints come, we must get to work immediately, then support people.

It will be a progressive service and we expect it to increase even more as it will affect the organizations that signed the program.

However, this is not something that happens overnight, as the organizational structure and reality of each sporting event is different, so it may take some time.

Q. Claims have been accumulating for some time against the country’s national sports federations. Is it healthy and safe to practice elite sports in Canada?

A. I believe that sport should be about joy, self-development and self-confidence, building friendships that will last a lifetime, above all else, at all levels. As the Sports Integrity Commissioner, I cannot comment or comment on a particular sport or its reality.