TORONTO — The Interim President of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) Tricia Smith announced that the Board of Directors has appointed employment law expert Christine Thomlinson to lead an independent review following a complaint filed by an employee against the former President. Christine Thomlinson is a partner at Rubin Thomlinson LLP and an authority in workplace investigation, having dealt with harassment and discrimination issues for over two decades.
Ms. Thomlinson is tasked with overseeing the collection and review of information from individuals who feel their interactions with representatives of the Canadian Olympic Committee are inconsistent with the organization’s Policy Statement and Guidelines on Discrimination and Harassment. It is the COC’s intention to make it as easy as possible for anyone to be heard. Mechanisms will be put in place for individuals to either meet the reviewers in person or submit information confidentially in electronic form.
Her team will review the COC’s Policy Statement and Guidelines on Discrimination and Harassment and any other related policies, as well as implementation procedures, in order to make recommendations for improvements as required. The outside experts will also look into the circumstances surrounding the letter to the President, dated June 2011, to understand what occurred, what steps were taken and why. Once the work is completed, Ms. Thomlinson will report back to the Board with her findings and recommendations while keeping the identities confidential. The Board commits to making the conclusions and recommendations of the report public.
The Interim President and the Board would like to thank the CEO and Secretary General Chris Overholt for his leadership, professionalism and integrity. The COC’s shared values are guiding the organization through the present situation. The Board’s priority is, working with the CEO and independent experts, to institute any necessary changes to ensure a safe environment for all those in the Olympic family. The Interim President and members of the COC Board are personally committed to making this family safer and healthier.
“We thank the complainant for having the courage to speak out. We are sorry for what has happened. Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, we will have to own this. We will have to look deeper into ourselves and make changes. Harassment, sexual or otherwise, cannot be tolerated in any environment. The terms of reference of the independent review, which we are making public today, are the next step in achieving this. ”
Tricia Smith, Interim President, Canadian Olympic Committee