The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), You Can Play (YCP) and Egale Canada Human Rights Trust (Egale) are teaming up to create a more LGBTQ inclusive environment within the Canadian Olympic Team and the COC’s corporate offices.
Together, we share a commitment to fostering LGBTQ inclusion in sport and see significant value in collaborating to advance and protect LGBTQ rights on and off the field of play.
The COC believes in YCP’s message of equality and their efforts in changing attitudes in locker rooms across North America. We also believe in the great work that Egale is doing in schools and households across Canada.
This is a good step forward for the COC and we know that much more work needs to be done to ensure that Canadian LGBTQ athletes and coaches feel safe and welcomed in sport.
The COC is ready to do that important work.
The COC Anti-Discrimination Article Change
On Saturday November 22, 2014, the COC Board and Session voted unanimously to approve revised language to the COC’s anti-discrimination articles in order to further enshrine and to further protect Canadian LGBTQ Olympians and coaches.
In November, the International Olympic Committee revealed 40 recommendations that make up the Olympic Agenda 2020. Recommendation #14 includes non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism.
We congratulate the IOC on this important step, and pledge to work with the IOC and other National Olympic Committees around the world to advance LGBTQ issues and solutions within our international sport system.
The Canadian Olympic School Program (COSP) LGBTQ Resource
The overall message of inclusion and fairness on and off the field of play will be anchored on the idea that mental fitness is an important part of an athlete’s journey to success.
We are proud to announce that for the first time ever, we are introducing a school resource that will address the equality of LGBTQ athletes in sport and the classroom.
The COSP has existed for more than 30 years, and our school resources have been downloaded in more than 75 countries – impacting hundreds of thousands of students around the world.
The #OneTeam Athlete Ambassador Program
The COC is launching the #OneTeam Athlete Ambassador Program, which will bring Olympians to schools right across Canada to talk about mental fitness and equality in sport. The Program will be made up of a diverse group of Canadian athletes from across the country, and the team includes both LGBTQ athletes and straight allies.
The #One Team Ambassadors will be trained by Egale and YCP staff and will serve as spokespersons for LGBTQ issues and LGBTQ-related Canadian Team Olympic initiatives.
There are currently 25 Canadian athletes enrolled in the program and the COC expects to reach 50 athletes by the end of 2016.
The Months Ahead
The Olympic Rings stand for so much more in the world than just for sport, they are transcendent. They have the ability and the power to change society and culture, and together we should always work to realize that potential.
The important work that we have started to establish is fostered and is best informed by leaders in the LGBTQ community, and the COC wants Canada’s athletes and coaches to be partners in that discussion.
The COC will endeavour to foster a broader conversation around LGBTQ issues which will include engagement with athletes, coaches and broader sport community leaders alike in different regions of our country. We will also work with our corporate and media partners to bring attention to these important issues of our time and our community.
Work is already underway to ensure COC staff in the Toronto and Montreal offices are trained by Egale Canada, with a focus on creating an improved and more inclusive corporate culture. In the months ahead, the COSP and its resources will set out to connect and engage 1 million students and we will work to establish formal relationships with 25 school boards nationally by the end of 2016.
About the Canadian Olympic Committee:
The Canadian Olympic Committee leads the achievement of the Canadian Olympic Team’s podium success and advances Olympic values in Canada. Independent and predominantly privately funded, the Canadian Olympic Committee delivers resources that Canada’s elite athletes need to perform at their best and give their everything every day. The backbone of Canada’s Olympic movement, the Canadian Olympic Committee works with National Sport Federations to prepare the Team for the Olympic, Youth Olympic and Pan American Games. By sharing our athletes’ stories, we inspire all Canadians through the power of sport: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
About You Can Play:
You Can Play is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. You Can Play seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit.
About Egale Canada Human Rights Trust:
Founded in 1995, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust is Canada’s only national charity promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) human rights through research, education and community engagement.
About the Canadian Olympic School Program:
The Canadian Olympic School Program (COSP) has operated since 1987, and provides teachers and students across Canada with free-of-charge Olympic-themed classroom and school resources.
The primary objectives of COSP include:
• Promoting the Olympic values and inspire the application of these values in the lives of Canadian teachers and students daily;
• Increasing awareness of the Canadian Olympic Team amongst teachers and students nationwide (sharing stories of the Canadian Olympians journey); and
• Engaging Canadians in the Olympic Movement.
Educators can access and utilize COSP materials through olympic.ca/education/