The Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada has announced the first head of the Office of Canada’s Sports Integrity Commissioner (OSIC), Sarah-Eve Pelletier, will be stepping down in early 2024 for personal reasons. The OSIC was created by the Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada to handle abuse complaints in sports following recent calls made by athletes in Canada for more action to counter abuse.
Pelletier was appointed in April 2022, with the OSIC opening its doors two months later in June 2022. The former lawyer and artistic swimmer helped set up and operate the first 18 months of Abuse-Free Sport, the first independent, safe sports program in Canada. Pelletier will remain on the job until her replacement is hired.
“As sport integrity commissioner, I have been driven by a deep motivation to act as an agent of positive change for the Canadian sport community — with athletes at the very heart of it,” Pelletier said Tuesday in a statement. “Since taking on this role, my passion for this mission has never wavered,” she said.
“I am proud of the groundwork accomplished within the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC). I am certain that it will serve as a springboard for the Abuse-Free Sport program’s evolution, one that can only be beneficial to the advancement of safe sport for all.”
The OSIC is designed to handle abuse complaints in sports with jurisdiction over federally funded sports organizations. However, those organizations need to become signatories before the OSIC has oversight, and many sports bodies have yet to take this step and fall under the OSIC’s jurisdiction.
Any sports body that signs with the OSIC is bound by the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS), which covers a wide range of abuse, failure to report maltreatment, and misuse of power.
The federal government in 2022 assigned the OSIC a budget of $16 million for its first three years. The OSIC got 193 complaints in its first year, with 66 falling under its jurisdiction. Results for the first four months of its second year show 78 complaints, of which 38 fell under the OSIC’s jurisdiction. A further six are under review.