By Evan Midford, Website & Social Media Coordinator
May 11, 2022 – Winnipeg MB – Sport Manitoba is championing change in the sport culture of Manitoba. The Pathway to Safer Sport is a comprehensive framework of tools, templates, and resources that empower Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) and all who participate in sport in Manitoba to create a safer sport system.
We were the first sport organization in the country to mandate Respect in Sport training for all Manitoba coaches, we took the Responsible Coaching Movement pledge, and we committed to the True Sport principles. On this pathway, we’re continuing to build on this framework by introducing three key services for preventing, addressing, and acting on misconduct or maltreatment in sport.
- Safe Sport Line
- Good governance policies
- A new partnership with Sport Law
Safe Sport Line – Call 1-833-656-SAFE
Sport Manitoba was the first provincial sport leader to implement the services of a toll-free sport support line. The Safe Sport Line is for anyone experiencing or witnessing abuse, harassment, bullying, or hazing in sport to share their concerns, get advice, and be referred to the appropriate resource for actionable steps towards a safer sport experience. The Safe Sport Line is Manitoba’s 24-hour, confidential support and referral service for every person involved in sport in this province.
Phone: 1-833-656-SAFE (7233)
In Manitoba, it is everyone’s legal obligation to report suspected child abuse. If in your honest judgment, you believe that a child may not be safe, you are legally required to report it. The experts at the Safe Sport Line can help you make that report.
Sport Manitoba is calling on all Manitobans to add the Safe Sport Line to their phone’s contacts, so they can have it at the ready if they’re ever in a situation they don’t know how to handle.
As of today, PSOs have access to The Learning Centre – an online platform with standardized policy templates that support good governance and help them take appropriate action. These documents were developed by Sport Law and have already been reviewed and tested by other national and provincial sport organizations.
Good governance ties directly into effective risk management. With these templates, PSOs can become more confident and competent in mitigating and controlling their greatest risks.
The whistleblower, safe sport, and respect in sport policies are some of the policies
all PSOs will be required to adopt and implement as part of their annual funding. We encourage you to ask your coaches, rec directors, and community sport convenors about the safe sport policies they have in place.
We have partnered with Sport Law to lead the development of inclusive practices, standardized templates, and guidance, to help us deal with conflict, complaints, and maltreatment in a manner that reflects legal requirements and organizational values. Now, when an issue arises, we have a trusted and respected partner who can provide sound advice and support to objectively resolve it.
A priority in the Manitoba Action Plan for Sport (MAPS) is to strive to enable every person, especially children, to be free from bullying, hazing, or abuse in sport to create a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment. The Pathway to Safer Sport will help us get there. It also delivers on our promise as the lead planning, programming, and funding agency for amateur sport in Manitoba to empower PSOs to build a strong and supported sport community.
“Sport is intended to be lifelong pursuit of health and fun, and we need to do all we can so that is not interrupted. Our government is proud to continue this important partnership with Sport Manitoba, and renew our commitment to ensuring safe sport in our communities.”
Hon. Andrew Smith, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage
“The Pathway to Safer Sport is a major step forward. It increases our capacity to take action as a sport community, and will significantly support our provincial sport organizations (PSOs) in addressing safe sport issues moving forward. We are dedicated to our journey on the Pathway to Safer Sport, and to working together with the sport community and the Province of Manitoba in our collective efforts to protect all Manitobans in sport.”
Janet McMahon, President and CEO, Sport Manitoba
“Sport Law’s vision is to elevate sport and we are delighted to be collaborating with Sport Manitoba to offer sport leaders with the legal and leadership support they need to navigate a complex safe sport environment. We have been supporting many of Sport Manitoba’s Provincial Sport Organizations over the past three decades and have a tremendous amount of respect for the vision of providing a coordinated and centralized approach to managing complaints, addressing legal issues, mitigating risks, aligning governance, and investing in the health and wellness of leaders. Sport Law believes in offering holistic human development services and this path breaking partnership allows us to do so in a smart, cost effective, and coordinated manner. It’s a win – win for all involved.”
Dina Bell-Laroche, Partner and Integral Coach, Sport Law
“We are excited to hear that Sport Manitoba and Sport Law have joined forces to provide even more support to sport leaders in Manitoba. Right from the beginning, Sport Manitoba was a champion for Respect in Sport, being the first province to sign onto our online training platform to educate coaches, parents, and kids on how to prevent maltreatment in sport. We think it’s a bold and strategic move that reflects both companies’ values and their missions of ensuring that organizations have the knowledge and support they need to ensure a safe, respectful and inclusive sport environment. Well done to the team of leaders at Sport Manitoba and Sport Law for showing us what can be possible!”
Sheldon Kennedy, Co-Founder, Respect Group