Following months of work and extensive consultation, Canada Artistic Swimming (CAS) has unveiled its comprehensive Safe and Welcoming Sport Policy Suite. The suite was developed by the CAS Governance Committee, working closely with Benoit Girardin of LBB Sport and in consultation with CAS Members. Part of the Rise Up Action Plan, the suite replaces previous safe sport policies from May of 2020.

Jason Herbert, Chair of the CAS Governance Committee, commented:

“these six Safe and Welcoming Sport policies include several significant changes in approach over previous versions of the policies and introduce a new external, confidential report intake mechanism for all registrants in the sport of artistic swimming. This service is provided in collaboration with Alias – a specialist in workplace harassment and safe sport reporting that developed the online process.  These revised policies will set the course for CAS to build an organizational environment that is inclusive and safe for all registrants to thrive in.”

Although CAS has continually updated its safe sport polices over the past 5 years, these latest documents include more specific reference to the universal code of conduct for the prevention of maltreatment in sport. They also incorporate the current expectations by government funding partners and participants. The policies will be mandatory for adoption by all artistic swimming Provincial and Territorial Sport Organisations (PTSOs) and Affiliated Organizations while respecting provincial legislation.  The suite will be modified once more to ensure the CAS process reflects the centralized safe sport mechanism being introduced this Spring by the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC).

The six policies that form the overall CAS commitment to Safe and Welcoming Sport are:

  1. Safe and Welcoming Sport Policy Overview
  2. Conduct Policy
  3. Conflict of Interest Policy
  4. Discrimination, Harassment and Maltreatment Policy
  5. Discipline & Complaint Policy and Procedure
  6. Appeal Policy

The CAS commitment to providing a safe and welcoming sport environment encompasses three main areas of focus:

  1. Promoting a Safe Environment commits that athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers have the right to participate in a safe and inclusive training and competitive environment that is free of abuse, harassment or discrimination. There are additional CAS policies that also play a key role in promoting a safe environment, although they are not directly part of the Safe and Welcoming Sport Policy Suite. They are:
    • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
    • Concussion Policy and the companion Concussion Protocol
    • Coach Registration and Certification Policy
  1. Protection Through Prevention includes the True Sport Principles and the Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) which specifies that all coaches adhere to the Rule of Two , have had background screening, and have completed Ethics Training including the NCCP Make Ethical Decisions and relevant Respect in Sport.
  1. Providing a Reporting and Resolution Framework. The independent firm, ALIAS, provides a bilingual 24 hour/7 day/week service that allows CAS registrants at any level to “Make a Report” concerning conduct or other issues. The report can be made by phone, or online, and is automatically directed to an external, third-party, independent triage officer for follow-up. Using this simplified, streamlined tool, reports can be filed by the person involved or by a witness to any activity of concern, including inappropriate conduct, conflict of interest, suspected discrimination, harassment or maltreatment.   The Safe and Welcoming Sport Policy Suite forms the basis for how these reports will be processed.

“We are proud of the commitment and effort of so many people who contributed to developing this suite of policies,” added Florence Klein, CAS President. “Our board knows that strong policies are a significant step forward in creating the safest and most welcoming sport environment that all our participants deserve.”