Quebec unveils new bill targeting abuses in sports

The Quebec government has introduced a bill aimed at reducing harassment and abuse in sports.

Bill 45, as it is currently known, would see the government appoint an integrity ombudsman to deal with complaints of abuse and harassment in sport and entertainment.

The bill also expands government oversight of entertainment organizations and sports federations and imposes background check requirements on all participants in recreational activities that include minors or people with mental or physical disabilities.

“Regardless of the role someone plays in a sports organization, we will not make any compromises on their integrity,” said Isabelle Charest, Minister of Sports, who introduced the bill on Tuesday.

In a message on social media platform X, Premier Francois Legault said the bill targets the few “bad apples” in children’s sports. “We want to do everything we can to prevent them from being in a position to harm our children,” he wrote. “Isabelle Charest’s bill will help prevent that.”

The Regroupement Loisir et Sport du Québec (RLSQ), a government organization, tracks complaints of abuse and harassment in sports. A spokesperson for the organization said in an email that it has received more than 1,000 complaints since February 1, 2021, the vast majority of them in the past year.

But a spokesperson for the organization said that approximately 51% of those complaints were about general issues – a child not getting enough playtime, for example – rather than harassment or abuse.

In February 2023, a National Assembly committee looked into acts of violence in sport and, in particular, during the early days of hockey.

In a report published last year, Education Department investigators pointed to shortcomings in examining the criminal records of coaches in school sports.

Trevor Williams, a basketball coach who runs the Trevor Williams Children’s Foundation, said a new, tougher law to prevent abuse and harassment in sports was long overdue.

“In this time we live in, it is absolutely necessary to pass this type of bill,” he said. “There have been too many bad incidents in sport and this will prevent a lot of negative behavior in the future.”

Beaconsfield Hockey Chairman Tom Grainger welcomes any new mechanism that makes it easier for participants to denounce abuse.

“Anything that is put forward that will allow people who are in a situation where they are being abused and assaulted or whatever, is a great mechanism and will help a lot,” he said.

(tags for translation) Harassment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *