Half-a-million dollars of provincial funding will aim to help prevent and address abuse in amateur sports across B.C.
Melanie Mark (Hli Haykwhl Wii Xsgaak), Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport announced in Burnaby this afternoon (July 6) $500,000 is being provided to viaSport's Play Safe BC program, building on $250,000 previously given during 2019-20.
"Abuse in sport or anywhere else is completely unacceptable, and preventing it is a responsibility we all share," Mark said in a news release.
"Everyone has the right to be safe and to play in an environment free of harassment, abuse and discrimination. I believe in the transformative power of sport. Through our partnership with viaSport, we are responding to a call to action, and we are committed to leading the way to safer sport experiences with the new B.C. Play Safe initiative that empowers the sport community to better recognize and prevent abuse."
Play Safe BC is centred on prevention, awareness, complaint reporting, response management and compliance.
The first phase was focused on prevention, with the following steps taken:
- All provincially funded sport organizations have adopted the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct, which sets out mandatory and prohibited behaviours for B.C. amateur sport
- Almost 1,000 leaders and board members in funded amateur sport organizations have completed Commit to Kids training, a course by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection that aims to safeguard kids from sexual abuse
- Each provincially funded organization is required to feature safe sport commitments and policies on their websites
- 200 B.C. sport organizations have committed to the Coaching Association of Canada's Responsible Coaching Movement Pledge
- B.C. is promoting the Canadian Sport Helpline (1-888-83SPORT), a federal referral service for victims or witnesses of harassment, abuse or discrimination in sport
"Working with the Province and our sport partners, we have taken important steps on significant measures to foster sport experiences that are safe and positive," viaSport B.C. CEO Charlene Krepiakevich added.
"We are encouraged by the progress we have made in strengthening a sport culture where everyone can thrive."
The province says the funding will help viaSport B.C. continue efforts in prevention by delivering awareness and education programs that help make positive changes in sport culture.
"This will ensure athletes, coaches, officials, parents and bystanders understand and recognize maltreatment and know what to do if they encounter or witness it.
"Leaders of sport organizations will also be offered skills training and resources to deliver safer sport experiences."
All 71 provincial sport organizations have adopted the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct for Sport.