The work of Canada’s first Sport Integrity Commissioner | You’ve seen?


Q. How did you react to your appointment to this position?

A. As you may know, I was a synchronized swimmer myself. My sport has changed name since I retired [NDLR : natation artistique]so that means i retired a while ago!

I had a positive experience in the sport. Since I retired, my desire to act as an agent of positive change in the sport has always kind of guided my professional journey. Once I chose to pursue a career in law, which was not an end in itself, I found a way to give back to the sport.


Q. You studied to become a lawyer, which led to jobs with the International Olympic Committee and the Canadian Olympic Committee, among others. How will all this background help you in your new role?

A. Many experiences and lessons can be relevant, but there is certainly an idea of ​​listening to the needs of the community.

It’s important to me to listen to people and try to meet their needs while using outside experts in the right areas.


Q. As of early April, you are Canada’s first-ever Sport Integrity Commissioner. What is your specific mandate in this new position?

A. Our role in the Office of the Integrity Commissioner for Sport is to implement the so-called Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Combat Abuse in Sport (CCUMS).

In concrete terms, this means that our office is responsible for receiving and processing complaints about abuse that relate to individuals who are members of our program signatories.


Q. What role or link do you have within the independent complaint management mechanism that will be set up in the coming weeks?

SAUCKEL: As for the role of the Commissioner as such, so the individual role that I will play, it is not a role that plays in the decision of each of the files, of the complaints that we receive. One of the really important concepts at the heart of the mechanism and the office is the idea of ​​independence.

Our office receives complaints and does some management. On the other hand, where it is appropriate for a complaint to proceed towards a thorough investigation, these investigations are conducted through the services of independent investigators.

There will be a team, system and parameters, if you will, to guide these independent researchers in carrying out their mandate. In terms of possible sanctions against individuals, that role is separate from the role of the Commissioner.

The role of the Commissioner is to act as a centralized resource, to oversee the proper functioning of all these functions. I can understand it’s quite a complex system to develop and understand, but we want to make sure we create something that will gain users’ trust and be accessible to people.

We will also make resources available for psychological support, mental health and legal aid for certain individuals who may be eligible. We also believe that there is an important place for education.


Q. The first phase of operations will begin on June 20. What steps are taken when starting the process?

A. It will be a phased approach, we will provide services to receive complaints. They must first be assessed to determine the best course of action, through mediation or further investigation. We have to get to work immediately as soon as the complaints are received and then support people.

This is a service that will be progressive as it will impact the organizations that have signed up to the program, and we expect it to continue to grow.

But it’s not something that happens overnight, because the organizational structure and reality of every sports organization is different, so it can take a while.


Q. The allegations against the country’s national sports federations have been piling up for some time. Is practicing top sport in Canada healthy and safe?

A. I believe that sport, at any level, should be primarily about joy, about self-development and self-confidence, about creating friendships that last a lifetime. In my role as Commissioner for Sports Integrity, I cannot comment or comment on any particular sport or its reality.

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