When it comes to ensuring that athletes are free of discrimination and abuse, Canada is a global leader. Quebec in particular has been at the forefront of implementing safety measures, creating a blueprint that is now being used worldwide. Moreover, Sport'Aide a Quebec organization at the heart of this excitement - will host the second Safe Sport International (SSI 2020) conference in Quebec City in April 2020.
“Countering violence in sport is not something you can achieve alone,” Sylvain Croteau, executive director of Sport’Aide told Sport for Life.
“It’s an important challenge, and you need to work with partners and establish other collaborations. That’s why we’re close with the sports communities and all the different stakeholders, because we understand that we’ll all need to work together to change the culture and offer our athletes an environment free of violence.”
In this regard, Sport'Aide is very proud to organize and present SSI 2020, which will be held under the theme "Team up to Eliminate Violence in Sports". It is open to both the scientific and sports communities, as well as any organization related or involved in the protection of young athletes’ integrity, with the goal of mobilizing stakeholders to curb and prevent violence in sports.
What is Sport’Aide?
Launched in 2014, Sport'Aide has participated in more than 200 conferences and met more than 20,000 people. The organization has also contributed to the creation of an online platform, sportbienêtre.ca, which is a kind of virtual library where anyone involved in the sport community (athlete, parent, coach, official, administrator and volunteer) can refer and find or validate information. Since its launch, this platform has generated more than 3 million clicks.
“We knew right from the beginning that in order to educate people we would need collaboration from athletes and former athletes. That is why, with the Government of Quebec, we have created a squad of sportsmanship ambassadors. There are six of them and they have an enormous impact, since it is one thing to say that we are going to talk about violence in sport - not a very attractive subject in itself - but if you do it with an Olympian, a journalist or a well-known personality, it changes perception and it is much easier.”
Sport for Life’s Richard Way has been working in the arena of safe sport for nearly two decades, and welcomes the culture shift occurring in Canadian sport. He’s teamed up with former NHL star Sheldon Kennedy and Respect Group to explore ways they can ensure the safety of athletes, and he’s been at the forefront of campaigning for more funding from Minister of Sport Kirsty Duncan.
“The upcoming Safe Sport International conference is only the latest development in a movement that has long been gathering steam. The work being done in Quebec to raise awareness about this issue and implement safeguards is inspiring, and can be used by other jurisdictions who want to be proactive on this issue,” he said.
“We applaud the work being done by Sport’Aide and can’t wait to see the partnerships that are formed from bringing all these leading voices together in one place.”
Croteau has the next generation in mind.
“One reason it’s so important to counter violence is we need to do this so our kids can be active and stay active, stay in sports for their health and the health of the community. In short, if we don't pay attention, the situation could get worse in 10 or 20 years," he said,” he said.
“We’re not only thinking about short term objectives, but we’re also thinking forward to the future and ensuring that people will be staying in sports long-term.”
The Safe Sport International conference will be held in Quebec City from April 15-17, 2020. Register before February 16 at https://ssi2020.sportaide.ca/en/registration and take advantage of early bird pricing.