Are we standing still or moving forward? (Part 2)

June 23, 2015
Sprinters explore off the start line

In yesterday’s post, we looked at how doping can impact sport and what led to the “Dubin Inquiry.” In this post, we’ll look at how Canada reacted and where we are today:

Canada took Justice Dubin’s words to heart. We were no longer prepared as a country and a sport community to stand still on the doping issue – we were committed to moving forward. We wanted to own the podium, but we wanted to own it the right way. Never again did we want to experience the trauma we suffered as a nation in 1988!

As a result, Canada shifted its weight from its back foot to its front and created an approach to anti-doping that has been modelled the world over. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport works in partnership with the Government of Canada, Provincial and Territorial Governments and the national sport governing bodies to administer the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP) in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. The CADP is carefully designed to protect the health of our athletes and their right to compete in clean sport.

On January 1, 2015, a new World Anti-Doping Code (the Code) came into force supported by over 200 countries and 70 international sport governing bodies. Proudly, the Canadian government and national sport organizations fully endorse the Code.

Our early experience with the 2015 Code in Canada suggests that it is indeed more effective in rooting out doping cheats. In the five months since January, we have already identified more active cases of doping than we would typically encounter in a full year. What this tells us is that while we have made great progress in creating a clean sport experience for our athletes, the fight against doping is not one we can win in the short term. The risk of doping remains. It is real and its potential harm greater than ever. We cannot afford to stand still.

So, catching doping frauds cannot be our only strategy; we must also invest in preventing doping. This means working with our community sport system to very deliberately and intentionally instil in our young athletes the values that will equip them to make the right choice – the clean choice – when they are faced with the pressures and temptations to dope. This type of education is one of the new requirements under the 2015 World Code. It is also identified in the 2012 Canadian Sport Policy as values-based sport and is now widely known in Canada as "True Sport."

Important progress has been made since 1988, but the risk of doping remains. As we prepare to host our Pan-American neighbours, now is not the time to stand still on our commitment to clean sport. We must keep moving forward.

As we strive for podium success, we must ensure that we have devoted appropriate resources to do it the right way. We make no apology for wanting to own the podium globally in sports, nor should we apologize for wanting this success to be achieved without resorting to doping fraud. For in any sporting event it is not just our performance that is being judged, it is also our character.