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Ottawa, provincial governments commit to addressing abuse in sports

Minister of Science and Minister for Sport and Persons with Disabilities Kirsty Duncan is photographed in her office in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. After meeting with provincial leaders today, Minister of Sport Kirsty Duncan will meet reporters about her plans to address harassment, abuse and discrimination in sport. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canadian politicians are banding together to address harassment, abuse and discrimination in sports, but details on their plans remain slim.

Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science and Sport, announced in Red Deer, Alta., on Friday that the federal government, along with each province and territory, has signed a declaration to tackle and prevent harassment, abuse and discrimination in sport.

She says the move brings all jurisdictions together on the issue and will drive action going forward, ensuring there are policies in place to address abuse, and concrete measures are implemented to prevent it.

While the declaration includes commitments to eliminate gender-based violence against women and girls in sport and work on concussion prevention and awareness, Duncan did not provide details on what steps would be taken next.

The news comes amid headlines about Canadian athletes being subject to abuse, including a CBC investigation published on Sunday which reported that “at least 222 coaches” were convicted of sexual offences from 1998-2018. The report also said 34 other cases of accused coaches are currently before the courts.

Duncan told reporters on Friday that she believes a “third-party mechanism” is important when it comes to investigating abuse cases, and she’s “working on it.”

— By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver

The Canadian Press