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Three coaches with ties to Region of Waterloo identified on Abuse-Free Sport Registry

A stock image of a volleyball net. (Pexels/Engin Akyurt) A stock image of a volleyball net. (Pexels/Engin Akyurt)
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Three coaches with ties to the Region of Waterloo have been identified in a registry aimed at highlighting alleged prohibited behaviour in sport.

The Abuse-Free Sport Registry was launched in March and keeps track of someone accused of prohibited behaviour, to help organizations avoid that person taking on a similar role with another sport or region.

The Coaching Association of Canada said it’s something they have wanted for several years.

“The life cycle of a volunteer is typically between three to five years and it's obviously decreased after COVID,” Lorraine Lafreniere, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada said. “By that very nature, it increases a risk for an individual to go from a different sport to a different sport to a different province or territory, to a different level of volunteerism.”

The Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner looks at complaints of maltreatment, discrimination and other prohibited behaviours. Until the process is completed, all investigations are based on unproven allegations.

If it has jurisdiction, investigators look into whether provisional measures are warranted. Complaints are not just limited to a coach’s behaviour, but can include anyone involved in the sport.

“So it's really about making sure that everyone understands that the rules apply regardless of role,” Lafreniere said.

According to the list, 18 people face provisional measures. Three have connections to the Region of Waterloo.

Someone in Waterloo affiliated with Taekwondo Canada has been suspended on provisional measures. They are being investigated for unproven allegations of maltreatment.

A volleyball coach is required to be monitored when they are coaching, as a provisional measure for unproven allegations of maltreatment and unproven allegations of prohibited behaviour.

A gymnastics coach is being monitored when they are coaching, as a provisional measure for unproven allegations of maltreatment and unproven allegations of prohibited behaviour.

There's also another volleyball coach in the Norfolk region being monitored when coaching on a provisional measure for unproven allegations of maltreatment and unproven allegations of prohibited behaviour.

One issue with the registry is a number of sports organizations are not in the jurisdiction to be investigated or included in the registry.

“It's the same conversation that we have across many jurisdictions, whether it's education or health or safety, where you trip into provincial territorial jurisdiction versus national jurisdiction,” Lafreniere said.

“So the safety net right now to catch bad actors has a lot of holes in it,” Lafreniere said.

The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada said it knows there are some gaps, but it hopes to expand its jurisdictional reach in order to help continue trying to keep vulnerable people safe.

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