(Quebec) Faced with multiple reports reporting attacks on the integrity and safety of young people in sports, Quebec is creating a new position of Protector of Integrity in Leisure and Sport, which will ultimately replace the ‘complaints officer and who will benefit from increased investigative powers.
As revealed The Press Tuesday, the Minister responsible for Sport, Recreation and the Outdoors, Isabelle Charest, also submits in her bill 45, which modifies the Sports Safety Actthe entire school and amateur sports sector, but also companies and organizations working in leisure activities with young people (such as day camps or scouts, for example), to carry out criminal background checks to people called upon to work with minors or disabled people, or to be in regular contact with them.
“It is absolutely inconceivable to read week after week all these cases of denunciations of reprehensible acts linked to attacks on the integrity and safety of young people. As a society, the time has come to take a major step forward to improve the safety of all our young people and the entire population in the sporting and leisure sectors,” declared Mr.me Charest at a press briefing.
In the first year following the adoption of the bill, the government will appoint its new Protector of Integrity in Leisure and Sport, an independent position. This person will have the power to launch an investigation on their own initiative and make recommendations, according to a model similar to the national student protector, in the school network.
“The protector does not replace the legal process in place,” however recalled M.me Charest. For example, complaints regarding crimes of a sexual nature will always be transmitted to police authorities.
Concretely, the Protector will investigate “behavior which would not be the subject of a criminal file, such as abusive training methods”, among others.
Quebec is also releasing a budget of nearly 30 million over five years to support businesses and organizations which will now have to subject their employees and volunteers to the obligation to carry out criminal background checks, including a sum of 4. $7 million per year specifically for this. The verifications must be renewed every three years.
“We know that this represents a significant change for sports and leisure organizations, (as well as) considerable costs. So we want to come and support them in these changes,” said M.me Charest.
“(We will) make sure to target people who are in a position conducive to actions that could be reprehensible. There will be a distinction, for example, between parents who will wear oranges between periods and parents who will spend the weekend with athletes,” said the minister.