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Former Ontario chief justice to lead commission investigating systemic abuse in sport


Sport and Physical Activity Minister Carla Qualtrough has appointed a former chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice to lead a three-person panel investigating systemic abuses in sports.

Joining Lise Maisonneuve on the Future of Sport in Canada panel will be Noni Klassen, Director of Education at the Canadian Center for Child Protection, and Dr. Andrew Pipe, an expert in sports medicine and health promotion.

Qualtrough, who announced the committee last December, said the 18-month committee will examine Canada’s sports system to ensure a safe environment for Canadian athletes.

“The ultimate goal is first and foremost to listen to Canadians, to hear from different organizations and to consult with the provinces and territories,” Maisonneuve said, adding that concrete recommendations will be presented to the federal government at the end of the listening process.

Maisonneuve did not provide any details about how it intends to handle the task. Qualtrough emphasized that the process was modeled on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Committee members held their first meeting today to plan next steps.

As outlined in this year’s federal budget, the commission is scheduled to receive $10.6 million over two years, during which it will release two reports — an initial report and a final report expected 18 months from now.

“The committee needs to hear from people, stakeholders and experts from inside and outside … the sports system,” Qualtrough said.

Amelia Klein, executive director of Athletes Empowered, said she and other survivors of abuse are demanding an investigation with the power to compel individuals and organizations to testify — not a commission.

“Because it’s a committee, people have to testify on a voluntary basis. Why would a sports federation that has been criticized for covering up abuses voluntarily sit in front of the committee and admit all the things?” she asked.

She said she hoped those appointed to the committee would show “strength” and “a level of boldness in their pursuit of information. The committee will live and die by them and their courage.”

Qualtrough defended her decision to form a committee as the most humane option. She said that the investigation would expose the victims to the risk of being subjected to interrogation.

“We don’t want people to have to prove they’ve been traumatized,” she said in December.



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