Canadian Athletes Benefiting from Stronger Anti-Doping Program

Education and Testing Remain Top Priorities for Canada’s Anti-Doping Agency

(Ottawa, Ontario – May 12, 2016) – As Team Canada prepares for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in Rio, athletes are benefiting like never before from expanded education and testing services offered through the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP).

Introduced on January 1, 2015, the revised CADP meets the more stringent requirements of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) is responsible for implementing the Code in Canada on behalf of the Canadian sport community.  

“Our anti-doping program is more sophisticated and more comprehensive than it’s ever been,” said Paul Melia, President and CEO of the CCES. “With the completion of the first phase of implementation of the CADP, I’m pleased to report that we conducted a record number of doping control tests, and efforts to educate Canadian athletes and their support personnel have never been more extensive. Our mandatory online course, for example, was completed by more than 33,000 national team, university and college athletes between January 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016.”

Melia reinforced that the ultimate goal of the program is to ensure a level playing field for the vast majority of athletes who compete clean, adding that there has never been a greater need for an effective anti-doping program in Canada. International doping concerns, such as the discovery of systemic doping in Russia, along with other ethical issues, such as the FIFA scandal and various sexual harassment allegations, have tarnished the image of sport both at home and abroad.

A recent CCES survey of 2,000 respondents reconfirmed there are strong Canadian attitudes on doping: eight in 10 agree (strongly or somewhat) that Canada should pursue rigorous anti-doping efforts, even if some countries or sport organizations are not as committed. A similar number agree that catching athletes who cheat must be a number one priority for Canada.

When respondents were asked about their biggest concerns around the upcoming Games in Rio, near the top of the list was a Canadian athlete winning a medal and having it stripped for a doping infraction. This scenario was second only to a Canadian athlete, coach or tourist victimized by violence or a terrorist act.

“Every single federally-funded national sport organization has signed an agreement to support the CADP, and this can only benefit our high-performance athletes,” said Melia. “And generous funding from Sport Canada has put the program on a solid footing to start the new quadrennial after the Rio Games.”

Melia cautioned against becoming complacent, however, pointing out that doping remains a reality in Canada. Just last year, nine Canadian athletes were forced to withdraw from Team Canada qualifications in the face of anti-doping violations asserted by the CCES prior to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Eight of the athletes are now serving four-year bans from competition; the other is serving a two-year suspension. Over the first 15 months of the revised CADP, there have been 21 confirmed violations against Canadian athletes and, at this point in time, seven cases are still pending. 

“The first phase of CADP implementation has gone very well,” concluded Melia. “In my view, it’s a testament to a highly collaborative approach and to a solid, system-wide commitment to clean sport in Canada.”

The CCES is an independent, national, not-for-profit organization with a responsibility to administer the CADP. We recognize that true sport can make a great difference for individuals, communities and our country. The CCES acknowledges funding, in part, from the Government of Canada. We are committed to working collaboratively to activate a values-based and principle-driven sport system; protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats; and advocating for sport that is fair, safe and open to everyone. 

 

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For further information, please contact:
Megan Cumming
Manager, Corporate Communications
+1 613-521-3340 x3233
mcumming@cces.ca