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Sports Quebec wants sanctions for those who make “frivolous complaints”

Photo: Jacques Boissinot Archives La Presse canadienne Le projet de loi 45, porté par l’élue caquiste Isabelle Charest, vise la création d’un «ombudsman» chargé de traiter les plaintes effectuées tant dans les ligues sportives que dans les camps de jour et de vacances.

To avoid the filing of “frivolous complaints” against coaches, Sports Québec wants complainants appealing to the future Protector of Integrity in Leisure and Sport (PILS) to be punished for wanting to “unnecessarily harm” someone .

The group, which represents all recognized sports federations in Quebec, made this recommendation to parliamentarians Tuesday as part of the study of Bill 45 “modifying the Law on Safety in sports in order mainly to strengthen the protection of the integrity of people in leisure and sports”.

This legislative text is carried by the elected CAQ member Isabelle Charest. It aims to create an ombudsman responsible for handling complaints made both in sports leagues and in day and holiday camps. Although it is provided that it can reject a complaint deemed “frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith”, it has no power of sanction.

“If there are people who are ill-intentioned, who put themselves in the situation of the victim without being one, it affects the reputation of the person who was brought before the Protector,” explained Monday to the Duty the general director of Sports Québec, Isabelle Ducharme.

“What we want is for those who come forward to give truthful facts about why they are victims,” she continued.

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Remarks which leave the Minister responsible for Sport, Isabelle Charest, doubtful. In interview Tuesday with Le Devoir, after leaving the parliamentary committee, she allowed herself a few questions about the Sports Québec proposal. “A priori, for me, my big concern is to ensure that victims can have a voice, and then feel comfortable filing a complaint,” she said. “If there are elements that will discourage a victim from filing a complaint…”

The elected CAQ member does not wish to “hazard” on a position before having heard all the speakers invited to the special consultations. However, she relies on the text of her bill. “We must remember that the Protector always has the choice not to receive a complaint,” she recalled.

According to Isabelle Ducharme, cases of undue complaints are “rare”, but potentially destructive. “There are people who will use this mechanism, for example, to remove a coach from a championship,” she said. “I think that someone who has been the victim of something, they know it, they will come and say it, then we will believe them. What we don’t want is [people] who will use the mechanism for the wrong reason. »

In addition to this recommendation, Sports Québec suggests that the government create a “public register of notice of sanctions” and “provide for an appeal process managed by an entity independent of the sports organization that must enforce a sanction.”

No prior consultation

Tuesday was also an opportunity for the Regroupement Loisir et sport du Québec (RLSQ) to express its views on Bill 45. It is he who manages the activities of the Complaints Officer, the body responsible for handling complaints in the sports and leisure sector until the PILS takes office.

However, the RLSQ was not consulted prior to the tabling of Bill 45, although the Officer, who acts under its responsibility, is preparing to be completely replaced by Quebec, said Tuesday its CEO, Sylvain B. Lalonde. “We welcome [the law], but you invite us today. If we had done this work upstream… We understood that the legislative process ensures that we come second,” he said, generating the disbelief of the supportive deputy Vincent Marissal.< /p>

“I am a little perplexed by the gap between your perception, the excellent collaboration you have and the finished product,” said Mr. Marissal on Tuesday.

In front of Minister Charest, Mr. Lalonde said he was “surprised to see that no decision-making power is granted to the Integrity Protector.” “The current complaints process provides for integrity committees to make recommendations following hearings. On the other hand, sports federations and national leisure organizations subject to their policies have the obligation to ratify the said recommendations, thus making them enforceable,” summarized the CEO. of the RLSQ.

“Although the bill gives the minister power to issue orders, we fear that this additional step will significantly slow down the process and the rapid return to a healthy and safe environment,” he said. he chained.

The RLSQ is also concerned about the neutrality of the future PILS, which must at the same time “assist the complainant”, “act to bring the parties to an agreement, like a mediator”, and “investigate”. “One of the elements that also differs with the current [Officer] is… I have to call it a lack of neutrality,” added the director of the organization’s risk management and integrity protection service. , Me Lise Charbonneau.

Consultations on Bill 45 continue Wednesday.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116