OTTAWA: The Athletics Canada Commissionerís Office announced today that Andy McInnis and Dr. Ken Porter of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club have received lifetime bans, effective immediately, from Athletics Canada, its member branches and member clubs.
Athletics Canada views ethical conduct as a cornerstone in the fair administration of the sport of athletics. Everyone participating in athletics as an athlete, coach, integrated support team, administrator, volunteer or staff member is entitled to participate in an environment that is free of harassment or discrimination.
The Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club are a registered not-for-profit organization in the Province of Ontario. They operate a track and field Club in the City of Ottawa. The Lions are a member club of Athletics Ontario, and by virtue of that membership are associates of Athletics Canada. Athletics Canadaís policies apply to the Lions as they are club associate members of Athletics Canada
Athletics Canada is an acknowledged Canadian sport system leader in developing an extensive Code of Conduct, and in having the first and only independent Commissionerís function in a National Sport Organization in Canada. Programs like this work when two essentials are in place: educating athletes and coaches about their roles and responsibilities in a Safe Sport system, and having a robust response to misconduct when it is reported. The only way sport can eliminate misconduct is when athletes, parents, volunteers and clubs across the country feel it is safe to report misconduct, without fear of reprisal for doing so. We encourage anyone in our sport who has a Safe Sport concern to look at our Safe Sport webpage (Athletics.ca).
Since publication of the interim suspensions, a number of men, now in their 50s and 60s came forward to the Commissioner and the Independent Investigator making allegations of sexual misconduct and assault. Athletics Canada reacted to these reports with the utmost speed and attention. Over the past month the Independent Investigator has conducted a number of interviews concerning historic sexual abuse of track athletes who were minors at the time of the assaults. We want to thank these men for their candid cooperation with us, and we acknowledge their bravery in coming forward.
We encourage any other person who has been the victim of sexual harassment or misconduct while participating in athletics to reach out to us.
"Athletics Canada thanks and applauds all athletes, past and present, who came forward in this investigation," said Bill MacMackin, Athletics Canada President. "Their testimony and participation are commended, the only way the system can protect athletes is with individuals stepping up to report inappropriate behaviour."
Athletics Canada will review and discuss all recommendations by Commissioner Fowlie at its Annual General Meeting on May 24 in Ottawa, putting forth an implementation plan where necessary.
Below is an outline of the timeline of this investigative process, followed by an excerpt of Decisions and Sanctions from the Office of the Athletics Canada Commissioner in this case. Please follow this link to view the full report, recommendations and decisions.
Summary of Timeline
Tuesday, January 29, the Athletics Canada Commissioner receives a written complaint concerning harassment at the Ottawa Lions Track Club.
Wednesday January 30, Club is notified that the Commissioner has appointed former Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin as the Independent Investigator to look into complaints of sexual harassment by a coach, and concerning the systemic lack of action and prevention by the Board of Directors to ensure that athletes have a safe and harassment free training and competition environment.
Friday, February 1, Mr. Marin begins his investigation. The investigation is ongoing and once it is completed a report will be submitted to the Athletics Canada Commissioner for a review process as outlined in the Athletics Canada Bylaws and Rules.
Thursday, March 21, the Athletics Canada Commissioner, Dr. Frank Fowlie, announces interim suspensions to Mr. Porter and Mr. McInnis.
Tuesday, March 26, and Wednesday March 27, new complaints alleging sexual abuse of minors by Mr. Porter are brought to the attention of Athletics Canada.
Friday, March 29, CTV News Ottawa runs a news item concerning Mr. Porter and the new complaints.
On Tuesday, April 9, and Wednesday, April 10, new complainants come to light as a result of the media coverage. All new complainants are interviewed by Independent Investigator Mr. Marin.
On Monday, May 6, the Office of the Commissioner renders its decision, which includes suspending Mr. McInnis and Mr. Porter for life.
Decisions and Sanctions
a) That Andy McInnis has committed major infractions of the Athletics Canada Code of Conduct and Ethics by repeated minor violations of the Code, by behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, repeated violations of the Athletics Canada Code of Conduct and Ethics, and by doing so has also demonstrated conduct that damages Athletics Canadaís image, credibility or reputation. Mr. McInnis has previously received a verbal reprimand, a written reprimand, and been suspended for sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
b) Andy McInnis is expelled from Athletics Canada, and its member branches and Clubs. Andy McInnis is expelled from the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame.
c) That Ken Porter failed to live up to his duty and responsibility as Chair of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club as a sport leader to act in an ethical and fair manner, and showed a consistent disregard for the Athletics Canada bylaws and the Code of Conduct and Ethics, and by doing so he has damaged Athletics Canadaís image, credibility or reputation. Furthermore, he has had inappropriate sexual relationships with athletes under his supervision who were under the age of consent.
d) That Ken Porter sexually harassed, and had inappropriate sexual relationships with at least four underage male athletes that he supervised as their coach. This constitutes sexual assault. In Canada, ďa 16 or 17 - year old cannot consent to sexual activity if: their sexual partner is in position of trust or authority towards them, for example, their teacher or coachĒ.
e) Ken Porter, as a result of his lack of cooperation with the Commissionerís Office and the Independent Investigator, delayed the investigation. The costs of those delays are borne by Athletics Canada, and results in funds being diverted from programs that support athletes. Therefore, in accordance with Rule 140.08.14.i Ken Porter is directed to pay compensation to Athletics Canada for partial reimbursement of the costs of the investigation in the amount of $5,000.00. This compensation is to be made within 30 calendar days of this decision.
f) Ken Porter is expelled from Athletics Canada, and its member branches and Clubs.
g) Members of the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, being Ryan Rowat, Ken Porter, Sean Burges, Paul Bedard, Leslie Estwick, Devyani Biswal and Corey Wingate are hereby reprimanded, in the strongest possible terms, for their failure to act ethically and with integrity as sport leaders. By failing to act within a reasonable delay, and without regard for fair processes on the many complaints concerning Andy McInnis and sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, they have wasted the financial resources of the Club, and have failed to act with integrity to provide a harassment free training environment for athletes. As noted in Paragraph 95, I find that the Board had a moral and ethical duty to investigate these complaints and provide fair and timely resolution to the athletes and McInnis. They had a fiduciary duty to ensure that the costs of the investigation, and the salary expense for McInnis while on suspension, were not a waste of the Clubís financial resources.
h) Ryan Rowat, President of the Lions, is further reprimanded for trying to impose conditions on the Commissioner before he would release information relevant to my enquiries, and thereby failing to act ethically and with integrity as a sport leader.
i) The Board of Directors has delayed and obstructed the Independent Investigator and the Commissionerís Office in the performance of their respective duties. The present head coach, Richard Johnson, refused to meet with Mr. Marin, stating that he was too busy. I find it stretching the bonds of credulity for a coach to say that he was too busy to meet with the NSOís Independent Investigator to discuss sexual harassment directed at their athletes. Again, this supports evidence that the view of the Board is: coaches first, Club second, athletes third.
j) As a result of the Boardís lack of cooperation with the Commissionerís Office and the Independent Investigator appointed by the Commissioner, the investigation was delayed and took much longer than expected. I note, once again, that despite many requests from the Commissionerís Officer and the Independent Investigator that the Lions failed to provide even a single document to Mr. Marin for over sixty (60) days. The costs of those delays are borne by Athletics Canada, and results in funds being diverted from programs that support athletes. Therefore, in accordance with Rule 140.08.14.i the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club is directed to pay compensation to Athletics Canada for partial reimbursement of the costs of the investigation in the amount of $25,000.00. This compensation is to be made within thirty (30) calendar days of this decision. If payment is not made within thirty (30) days, the Lions, and its members, may be suspended from Athletics Canada.
k) I direct the Lions Board of Directors to issue a public, and simultaneous private, written apologies to the complaining athletes for their mis-handling of their concerns, the unreasonable delay, and for failing to advise them of the reprimand and suspension of McInnis in September 2018. These apologies are to be made within seven (7) days of the publication of this decision.
l) I direct the Lions Board of Directors to make a full and final public and private written apology to Maureen Moore for the harassment made by Ken Porter, former Lions Board Chairman. These apologies are to be made within seven (7) days of the publication of this decision.
m) I direct the Lions Board of Directors to post a public apology to the Lions members concerning the deceitful September 12, 2018, announcement concerning the McInnis suspension. The Club membership had a right to know the true circumstances of the suspension. This posting must be made within two (2) days of the publication of this decision.
n) The Secretary of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club is directed to provide the Commissionerís Office with a list of all those persons who are required to take mandatory anti-harassment ďRespect in SportĒ training modules, and who have not yet completed all required modules, within five (5) calendar days of this decision. Those persons named as not having completed the training must complete the mandatory modules within thirty (30) calendar days of this decision. As the training is directly related to sport, and as the costs of the training are paid by the Club, I will not accept any exemptions to taking the training. On the thirtieth (30th) calendar day following this decision the Secretary will provide me with an updated list showing those persons who have completed the training and those who have not. Any person who is identified as someone for whom the training is mandatory and who has not completed the training modules may be suspended from Athletics Canada, and its member Branches and Clubs until such time as the Commissionerís Office is satisfied that they have completed the training.
o) I direct the Chief Operating Officer at Athletics Canada to post this decision and appendix on the Athletics Canada Safe Sport Webpage, and to provide copies of the report and appendix to the Athletics Canada Board of Directors and its member Branches and Clubs, Andy McInnis, Ryan Rowat, Ken Porter, Sean Burges, Emilie Lariviere, Paul Bedard, Leslie Estwick, Devyani Biswal, Corey Wingate, the Ottawa Lions, the Minister of Sport, Sport Canada, Athletics Ontario, The University of Ottawa and Carleton University and U Sports. The Chief Operating Officer is also directed to include the Porter and McInnis expulsions on the Suspended Individuals list on the Safe Sport Webpage.
p) The Secretary of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club is directed to post this decision and appendix on the Ottawa Lions webpage within one (1) day of this decision, and to advise members, alumni, coaches and sponsors by email of either the Lions webpage address of this report, or the Athletics Canada webpage address of this report within two (2) days of the publication of this decision.
Unless otherwisely noted, I direct all relevant parties to provide me with an update on progress of the recommendations (paragraphs 147, and 148 to 154) and the decisions (paragraph 156) within sixty (60) days on this decision.
Rule 140.08.14 states: "Failure to comply with a sanction as determined by the Commissionerís Office will result in automatic suspension from any applicable Club or Branch until such time as compliance occurs."
Pursuant to Rule 140.14, the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada is the sole body to hear any appeal of these decisions and sanctions. "The decision of the Commissionerís Office will be final and binding upon the parties and upon all members of Athletics Canada, subject to the right of any party to seek a review of the decision pursuant to the rules of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) as amended from time to time."
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