COVID-19 FAQ

Do you have a question that is not addressed in the FAQ? Ask it here: [email protected].

Changes to Procedures

Can I expect any change in the testing procedures?

The health and well-being of athletes and doping control personnel remains our number one priority.

While the sample collection procedures will continue to be conducted in accordance with the International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI), the CCES has developed a set of supplemental doping control procedures that include the necessary safety enhancements for athletes and doping control staff in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The drafting process involved a complete review and risk assessment of each aspect of the doping control process, factoring in guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and provincial health authorities. All personnel have been retrained to incorporate the supplemental procedures.

What changes can I expect in the doping control process?

In summary, the supplemental procedures are as follows:

  • All CCES personnel will complete a COVID-19 self-assessment prior to performing work for the CCES. 
  • All involved in the process will maintain appropriate physical distancing as much as possible.
  • Only urine sample collection will occur until CCES has developed the appropriate safety enhancements deemed necessary for blood collection.
  • At the time of notification, athletes will be required to complete a COVID-19 self-assessment as well.
  • CCES will initially limit the participants in all testing sessions. This will typically mean only one athlete is tested at a time. As restrictions are lifted, testing session sizes may increase.    
  • All participants in the testing session must wear protective masks.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for the athlete’s use (and their representative, if applicable).
  • There will be very limited sharing of supplies.

The COVID-19 Self-Assessment Questionnaire

Will DCOs and chaperones have to get tested for COVID-19 to ensure that they are not asymptomatic carriers?

No, however all sample collection personnel will complete self-assessments on the day of testing as per provincial health guidelines. 

How does the athlete self-assessment work?

As a first step in the doping control process, and in accordance with public health guidelines, athletes will be required to complete a COVID-19 Self-Assessment Questionnaire. The questions focus on current symptoms, close contact with someone with COVID-19, and travel, and should be answered as completely and accurately as possible.

If an athlete answers yes to any of the questions, the session will be terminated. Following the session the CCES will contact the athlete to confirm the information provided, and may also ask additional questions or require further documentation.

What if an athlete provides false answers on the self-assessment, reporting fake COVID-19 symptoms, in an attempt to get out of a test?

In any situation where a doping control session is terminated, the CCES will review the questionnaire with the athlete to verify their responses.

In cases where the information provided by the athlete appears fraudulent or unsubstantiated, the CCES will commence a formal investigation into the situation to determine if an anti-doping rule violation (e.g. Tampering or Evading) has occurred.

What if I am self-isolating due to possible exposure to COVID-19 or as a result of recent travel outside of Canada?

Athletes in the CCES’s registered testing pool (RTP) or an international federation’s RTP should inform the CCES and their national sport organization if they are in isolation or are self-isolating for any reason.  This information should also be included in the athlete’s whereabouts submission. The CCES or the relevant international federation may follow up with an athlete who has provided notice of isolation to seek more information.

Testing at Home

Can the CCES test me at home? My apartment is pretty small and I have roommates.

Yes, athletes remain subject to testing any time, any place. While all sample collection will be conducted using supplemental procedures, which respect provincial health regulations, athletes should consider the following tips when preparing for a home visit:

  • Pre-identify an area in the home that can serve as the doping control station where physical distancing can be maintained as much as possible.
  • Discuss with other individuals in the home the possibility of a home visit for the purpose of sample collection, and potential areas that could serve as a doping control station.
  • With the exception of the athlete representative, all others in the home should ideally stay away from the identified area during the session.
  • Finally, while testing can occur anytime, RTP athletes who submit whereabouts information are encouraged to list their 60-minute time slot in a location that they feel most comfortable for testing.

I live with a person who is elderly and/or immunocompromised. Will I still be required to submit to testing during a home visit?

Yes, athletes remain subject to testing any time, any place. While all sample collection will be conducted using supplemental procedures, which respect provincial health regulations, athletes should consider the following tips when preparing for a home visit where an elderly and/or immunocompromised person may also be present:

  • Pre-identify an area in the home that can serve as the doping control station where physical distancing can be maintained as much as possible.
  • Discuss with other individuals in the home the possibility of a home visit for the purpose of sample collection, and potential areas that could serve as a doping control station.
  • Consider other areas of the home where the elderly and/or immunocompromised individual can wait during the process or work with the DCO to provide time for the individual to leave the residence.
  • Where possible, work with the DCO to conduct as much of the process outside of the home as possible (e.g., in a yard, outside of the athlete’s apartment or condo building).
  • Finally, while testing can occur anytime, RTP athletes who submit whereabouts information are encouraged to list their 60-minute time slot in a location that they feel most comfortable for testing.

I am a Paralympic athlete and live in a semi-autonomous facility. During the pandemic, visitors are not permitted to access the building so I cannot let a DCO in. Will I be facing a violation for refusing a test for something that is out of my control?

Any athlete living in a semi-autonomous facility that has a defined protocol to prohibit external visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic would not be expected to have doping control take place in that facility.

If a DCO arrives at an athlete’s residence and learns of this protocol, they would discuss with the athlete other potential locations for the test to take place. If that could not be achieved, the DCO may terminate the session.

For these athletes, the CCES will work with national sport organizations to focus on testing in training facilities or a location other than their residence.

Testing at Training Venues

My training centre has implemented strict protocols to control access to the venue during the COVID-19 pandemic. How can I make sure that a DCO can test at my training location?

The CCES has been working with the Return to Sport Task Force, led by Own the Podium and national sport organizations to understand the protocols in place at Canadian Sport Institutes and other athlete training centres, and to ensure that doping control is included in these protocols.

Any athlete in the CCES registered testing pool (RTP) who trains in locations other than Canadian Sport Institutes should be sure to include this information in their whereabouts submission so the CCES can prepare to access the training venue and adapt its procedures as necessary.

Testing by Organizations Other than the CCES

I am an athlete training overseas. Am I still subject to testing?

All athletes subject to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP) can be tested whether they are in Canada or in another country.

If athletes are selected to be tested overseas, the CCES will work closely with the Sample Collection Authority (the organization that will collect the sample on our behalf) to ensure that all necessary precautionary measures, in accordance with that countries health regulations, are implemented.

Blood Collection Procedures

Why is the CCES resuming the collection of blood samples?

Blood collection is required to detect the fullest range of substances and methods on WADA’s Prohibited List. Blood samples are required to detect blood doping, the use of human Growth Hormones (hGH) and to monitor selected blood parameters as part of the Athlete Biological Passport Program. 

For more information on blood testing, visit the Blood Collection FAQ or email [email protected].

What measures are in place to ensure my safety during blood collection?

The CCES subcontracts specialized, reputable organizations to provide certified phlebotomists to draw blood from athletes, and we continue to work with them to ensure that blood collection occurs safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sample collection procedures for urine and blood incorporate the following supplementary measures:

  • All CCES personnel, including the blood collection officers (BCO), will complete a COVID-19 self-assessment prior to performing work for the CCES.
  • At the time of notification, athletes and, if applicable, their representatives will be required to complete a COVID-19 self-assessment as well.
  • All involved in the process will maintain appropriate physical distancing as much as possible.
  • For added protection, all participants in the testing session must wear protective masks. The BCO may wear additional personal protective equipment such as gloves and a face shield.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for all participants’ use.
  • There will be very limited sharing of supplies.

When and where can blood samples be collected during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Sample collection for urine and blood collection can occur anytime, anywhere, including your residence, training location (if you are training), or a temporary location.

Depending on the type of analysis requested on your blood sample(s), you may be required to wait between 30 minutes and two hours after a period of physical exertion before the BCO can collect a blood sample. To limit the potential waiting time and to reduce the total amount of time spent in doping control, we recommend that registered testing pool (RTP) athletes identify training times in their whereabouts submission clearly (e.g., “training at home from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.”).

Can a BCO collect my blood while remaining physically distanced?

Sample collection personnel are trained to maintain physical distancing as much as possible during the doping control process; however, there are instances during doping control, such as venipuncture, when physical distancing cannot be maintained. To increase personal protection, protective masks are mandatory for everyone during doping control. The BCO may also wear additional personal protective equipment, such as gloves and a face shield.

Can I ask to provide only urine samples during the COVID-19 pandemic?

You must provide the samples that are identified when you are notified for testing, which can include urine and/or blood. Failure to provide a sample may result in an anti-doping rule violation.

Can the CCES test my blood sample for COVID-19 antibodies?

The rules of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP) are clear that all samples collected (urine and blood) are for anti-doping purposes only. As such, at this time additional analysis for COVID-19 is not permitted under the CADP.

For general information about blood collection, refer to the Blood Collection FAQ or email [email protected].

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