Alpine Canada to sign on with new sport integrity commissioner's Abuse-Free Sport

CALGARY, United Kingdom — Alpine Canada has signed an agreement to join Abuse-Free Sport, which is a new independent program to prevent and address maltreatment.

Effective Dec. 31, the Canadian ski racing community can report abuse, discrimination and harassment directly to the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner.

OSIC was established by the federal sports minister in June amid a wave of high-performance Canadian athletes across several sports accusing coaches and managers of mistreatment.

Federations are required to fully adopt the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS) before it can join Abuse-Free Sport, which Alpine Canada committed to doing.

“ACA is committed to the OSIC and to creating a healthy, safe, and inclusive sport experience for all our stakeholders and continues to make it a priority,” Alpine Canada president and CEO Therese Brisson said Thursday in a statement.

“It is the very foundation for a culture of excellence where our athletes, teams, coaches, staff, and volunteers can be at their very best. As part of that commitment, we’re pleased to sign on to Abuse-Free Sport and to soon have the OSIC to administer our safe sport complaints.”

Alpine Canada follows Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, Gymnastics Canada, Rowing Canada and Hockey Canada in recently committing to becoming OSIC signatories.

While those four organizations have been taken to task for their sport cultures recently, Alpine Canada hasn't been immune to safe-sport issues.

Three former members of the women's ski team sued Alpine Canada over its handling of sexual abuse by coach Bertrand Charest in the 1990s, and reached a settlement in 2019.

Charest was convicted in 2017 on sex charges involving female athletes aged 12 and 18. His 12-year sentence was reduced upon appeal in 2019 to 10 years, three months. Charest was granted full parole in 2020.

OSIC lists the Canada Games Council, Canadian Sport for Life, Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic, Hockey Canada, Volleyball Canada and Weightlifting Canada as organizations that have completed the signatory process.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2022.

The Canadian Press