Gymnastics Canada: Trudeau calls for more accountability


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is concerned that sport organizations are not living up to their responsibility to keep athletes safe, and groups like Hockey Canada and Gymnastics Canada have work to do to rebuild trust and ensure that parents take care of their children.

“They shouldn’t be worried about pleasing the government, they should be worried about pleasing parents across the country, that they’re keeping their kids safe, that they’re an organization that promotes the kind of values, the kind of safe environment that every parent has a right to expect for their children, that we want children to be role models,” Trudeau said Friday.

In a statement to CTV News, Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge confirmed Thursday that the federal government will freeze funding for Gymnastics Canada until the organization cooperates with the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC). ).

This follows the signing by more than 500 gymnasts of an open letter to St-Onge calling on the Minister to suspend funding for the organization and reiterating previous calls for an investigation into what he calls “the systemic culture of ‘prevailing abuse in Canada gymnastics.’ Gymnastics Canada was asked to comment on the letter on Thursday, but said it would post a response on Friday.

Last month, the federal government also froze funding for Hockey Canada, under fire for its handling of sexual assault claims.

Trudeau says he wants sports organizations across Canada to be more transparent and embrace accountability measures, like the abuse-free sport program under OSIC. There are currently only four program signatories: Canada Games Council, Canadian Sport for Live, Volleyball Canada and Weightlifting Canada Weightlifting.

Trudeau also says the government is committed to helping restore trust in sports organizations.

“We will continue to ensure that as a government and in collaboration with other levels of government, we push for changes that keep our children safe,” he said.

“We have to listen, we have to act, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

With files from CTV News’ Melanie Nagy and Alexandra Mae Jones