OTTAWA, ON (February 8, 2018) – Gymnastics Canada staff, members of the Gymnastics Canada Safe Sport Committee, representatives from the International Gymnastic Federation, provincial gymnastics federations, and experts in the field of safe sport convened in Quebec City on Monday, February 5 to reaffirm their commitment to safe sport, and to create system alignment towards ensuring a cohesive safe sport environment for all participants in the sport of gymnastics in Canada.
“Bringing our community together to hear from experts in the field of safe sport like the Respect Group, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the Coaching Association of Canada, and Sport’Aide was extremely beneficial for all of us to better understand the measures we need to have in place as a community to make gymnastics a safe, fun, and healthy place to be for our entire community,” said Richard Crépin, Chair of the Board of Directors at Gymnastics Canada. “Guiding best practices for a safe sport environment and safeguarding against child maltreatment is an issue that affects all of us, not just the sport of gymnastics, and having our community come together like this to truly unify to effect change is going to be a game changer for the sport.”
The following are the initiatives that our community has committed to:
1. Immediately begin the staffing process for a full-time staff member at Gymnastics Canada dedicated to the area of safe sport.
2. Finalize the review, revision, and implementation of both existing and new safe sport policies by March 31, 2018.
3. The provincial/territorial gymnastics federations have committed to aligning their own provincial policies with these national policies to eliminate any gaps in implementation.
4. Gymnastics Canada will build and promote online resource toolkits related to safe sport participation for athletes, coaches, and parents and will continue to develop and add to these toolkits. Initial content will include resources from the NCCP Competition 1 Artistic Gymnastics course related to spotting and appropriate touching.
5. Gymnastics Canada will create a Safe Sport Update to be sent to the gymnastics community on a regular basis to keep everyone informed about updates, tools and resources, and more.
6. Gymnastics Canada, through a partnership with the Coaching Association of Canada, has arranged to make the “Commit to Kids” online training resource to the head coach and 1 other club-appointed individual at each gymnastics club in Canada at no charge. This training will be administered through the provincial/territorial federations.
7. The Gymnastics Canada Board has approved the formation of an Athlete’s Commission that will report quarterly to the Board of Directors as a standing point on the meeting agenda.
“The sport of gymnastics has been hit hard recently with the Larry Nassar trial in the US, and the charges laid against our own coaches over the last few months, but I am greatly encouraged by the passion and drive our community has collectively shown to make our sport better,” said Peter Nicol, President/CEO of Gymnastics Canada. “We have heard the concerns from our community and we understand that they need to receive support and see action. We are committed to working together at the provincial and national levels to make that happen.”