Canadian Olympic Committee Commits to Comprehensive Workplace and Governance Enhancements

TORONTO — Today, Tricia Smith, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), released on behalf of the COC Board of Directors, the Summary Report (the “Report”) of its third party Workplace Review which has recommended widespread changes to significantly strengthen workplace policies, procedures, and governance.

The COC Board has voted to implement 100 per cent of the recommendations contained in the Report submitted by employment law experts Rubin Thomlinson. During the course of Rubin Thomlinson’s Review, more than 100 confidential interviews were conducted with COC staff, former staff, and other individuals, totalling more than 170 hours over a three-month period.

The Report can be found on the COC’s website.

“It is clear that we could have done more. To our employees and anyone else who was affected, I’m truly sorry. We let you down. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard, and we will,” said Tricia Smith, COC President.

The complainant fully supports the recommendations of the report, the fact that all recommendations have been accepted, and the actions that Ms. Smith is taking as President. The complainant is looking forward to returning to work.

“On behalf of the COC, I would again like to thank the complainant for such bravery in coming forward,” said Tricia Smith, COC President. “It took extraordinary courage to speak up. These actions have proven to be a catalyst for change.”

Last September, an investigation was initiated under the COC harassment policy, which resulted in the resignation of the former President. As a further step, a third party workplace review was initiated and the COC will be implementing all recommendations. The Terms of Reference were made public on October 6, 2015. The overall goal of the Review was institutional change – to improve the way the organization functions, and to create a roadmap for a better path forward.

“Harassment of any kind is not acceptable. It is not welcome in our workplace or in our community,” said Tricia Smith, COC President. “I was elected COC President with an overwhelming majority vote of confidence from the sport community, and have been given a clear mandate for change. We will also work with the broader Canadian sport community to continue this important conversation.”

The Report identified gaps in the area of human resources systems and processes. In addition to accepting and agreeing to implement all of the recommendations, the Board has approved the immediate hiring of senior and designated human resources leadership to ensure the COC provides a safe and healthy environment for employees.

In addition to the Workplace Review, the COC retained governance experts Watson Inc. to work with Rubin Thomlinson to review specific governance issues. The review identified gaps in governance and the need for a more fulsome governance review. The Board has agreed to implement a full governance review and immediately hire a full-time Corporate Secretary, accountable to the CEO and the Board, who will advise on and support the implementation of these recommendations.

The Board unanimously agreed to move forward with Chris Overholt as CEO. He will be supported in implementing these comprehensive changes by a working group that will be led by President Tricia Smith, and will also include Richard Pound, Gordon Peterson, and Therese Brisson.

“This will not be business as usual. We will be holding everyone’s feet to the fire,” said Tricia Smith, COC President. “We understand trust takes time to rebuild. We know we must earn it. And we will.”

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.

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