Federal government directs $13.8 million towards safe sport in budget

CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) [Toronto, Canada]

March 28, 2023

By Donna Spencer

Several athletes have testified about sexual, mental, physical abuse in Canadian sport

The Canadian government committed $13.8 million in Tuesday’s budget to addressing safe sport issues that have dominated headlines over the last year.

Federal sport minister Pascale St-Onge has said the sport system is in crisis.Tearful athletes have testified at parliamentary committee meetings in recent months about the sexual, mental and physical abuse they’ve experienced, and how the sport system has failed to address it.

The budget committed $13.8 million over three years starting in 2022-23 to the Heritage department that oversees the sport portfolio to “enhance accountability and support efforts to build a safe and accountable sport system.”

“From beginners to Olympians, every athlete in Canada should be safe from abuse, harassment, and mistreatment,” stated the budget notes.

“Ensuring that our sporting institutions across the country are accountable for the treatment of their athletes is essential to building a sport system that promotes the safety and well-being of Canadian athletes.”

WATCH | Allison Forsyth discusses safe-sport advocacy:

*WARNING: This video contains details that may affect those who have experienced sexual abuse or know someone affected by it.* Olympic skier and sexual abuse survivor Allison Forsyth shares her emotional journey though sport and the work she now does as a safe sport advocate.

The 2022 budget provided $16 million to fund the new Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC) over its first three years of operations.

OSIC began receiving complaints and reports June 20, 2022.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.