Swimming Canada, Swim Alberta, and key partners join Responsible Coaching Movement

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Swimming Canada, every single provincial swimming organization, and the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association (CSCTA) are partnering to sign on to the Responsible Coaching Movement.

“There is no place for abuse, harassment or discrimination in our sport,” said Swimming Canada CEO Ahmed El-Awadi. “With our key partners, we are committing to strengthen the processes we already have in place to ensure our athletes, coaches, officials, staff and volunteers are able to participate in safe, inclusive and respectful training and competitive environments. We are committed to these values through our Safe Sport initiatives, and I’m proud that our partners are stepping up to demonstrate their commitment as well.”

The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a multi-phase system-wide movement, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. A result of extensive ongoing consultation with the Canadian sport community, the RCM is a call to action for organizations to implement realistic change to address the role coaches play with issues relating to the health and safety of athletes, both on and off the field of play.

 “Swim Alberta is pleased to work together with our fellow provincial partners, the CSCTA and Swimming Canada on this important initiative. As a provincial governing body, ensuring the safety of our athletes and others involved in the sport continues to be our main priority,” said Swim Alberta Executive Director Cheryl Humphrey, chair of the executive directors’ council.

The initial focus of Swimming Canada and its partners will be on committing to three elements: mandating screening, ethics/respect training through the Respect in Sport group, and Open and Observable Environments.

Open and Observable Environments mean making meaningful and concerted efforts to avoid situations where a coach/official/staff member, etc. might be alone with an athlete. All interactions between an athlete and an individual who is in a position of trust should normally, and wherever possible, be in an environment or space that is both “open” and “observable” to others.

With the help of the Screening Working Group, Swimming Canada hopes to move towards a national screening strategy over the next year. Most provinces have a well-established screening process in place, as does the Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association, which has screened all prospective coaches in Canada for more than 20 years.

“The CSCTA has been a longtime advocate of Safe Sport principles through our Code of Professional Conduct, policies and annual screening process,” said CSCTA Executive Director Chris Hindmarch-Watson. “We are proud to continue this and to support the efforts of the Coaching Association of Canada by joining Swimming Canada and our provincial partners in signing on to the Responsible Coaching Movement.”

“The CAC applauds Swimming Canada, the CSCTA, and the provincial swimming organizations for their leadership in providing a safe sport environment for athletes and coaches,” said Lorraine Lafrenière, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada. “We are eager to continue working with them and to support the implementation of their responsible coaching policies.”

In March of 2018, Swim Alberta renewed its responsibility to Safe Sport by adopting the Safe Sporting Environment Guiding Principle.  The Guiding Principle re-confirms the organization’s commitment to ensure that everyone in the sport of swimming can participate in an environment that is safe and inclusive and free of abuse, harassment or discrimination.

Swim Alberta adopted, close to two decades ago a screening policy and practices for those individuals working directly with and/or are in a position of trust with athletes. As a signatory to the Responsible Coaching Movement, Swim Alberta is agreeing to continue to implement our screening policy; adopting the Open and Observable Environment protocol for all Swim Alberta Camps/Programs; and ensure staff, board and provincial camp leaders (coaches and team managers) participate in the Respect in Sport Training through the 2018-2019 competitive season.

Swim Alberta will continue to work with club programs to implement similar practices where needed, and support the many club programs that already have strong practices in place to ensure the safety of athletes.

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