Statement from the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation

MONTREAL, March 16, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF) would like to make the following statement in the matter of allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against a CSCF member, Bertrand Charest.

First and foremost, the CSCF sympathizes with the courageous athlete who brought this matter to the attention of authorities and to the other athletes so deeply affected by this case.  An incident like this reminds us of our sacred trust and responsibility for the good health and safety of our alpine skiers, who make us all so proud.

Over the past few days, the CSCF has taken the time to gather as much information as possible about CSCF's dealings with Charest allegations past and present.  It can now confirm the following facts:

  • In 1998, the CSCF received a complaint from an athlete and parent against CSCF member Bertrand Charest. The CSCF formed a discipline committee to investigate the complaint.
  • However, in June of that year, before the investigation was complete, the complainant withdrew the complaint. CSCF was advised at the time that charges against Mr. Charest with the RCMP had been dropped.
  • Following this development, the CSCF took no further action against Bertrand Charest.
  • After the 1997-98 season, Charest did not renew his membership with CSCF.
  • As a result of the 1998 experience, CSCF started research and a process to develop the current CSCF Coach Code of Conduct. This included required by-law changes and policy necessary to provide the CSCF Board with authority and a process to discipline its members.
  • In 2002 and 2003, the new Coach Code of Conduct policy and by-laws were approved by members and the Board, giving the board disciplinary powers over its members.
  • Between 2005 and 2011, CSCF took on three cases of suspected violations of the CSCF Coach Code of Conduct. In two instances, the CSCF member coach was expelled for life from membership in the CSCF and the expulsion was announced publicly to members, provincial sport organizations, Alpine Canada and the FIS. The third case was eventually dropped due the complainant withdrawing the complaint.
  • In January, 2015 CSCF received a call from athlete "Q" about a complaint she wanted to make against Bertrand Charest for sexual harassment in the 1990s. Shortly afterwards, "Q" submitted a written complaint to the CSCF.
  • Following receipt of this complaint, it was determined from two legal sources that CSCF could not retroactively apply its policy to actions that pre-dated the existence of its Coach Code of Conduct policy or by-laws. The athlete was then informed that CSCF could not take on the complaint and was directed towards specific legal advice that would provide her with the best help on how to proceed. The matter was not brought to the attention of the CSCF Board or ACA.
  • CSCF Board suspended Charest's membership and certification on March 13, 2015 pending a criminal investigation.

 

CSCF commits to review and improve its membership renewal process.

In addition, the CSCF Board is committing to an immediate three point action plan as follows:

  1. Coordinate and launch, with clubs, provincial sport organizations and Alpine Canada a discussion on requiring and communicating information about background checks for ski coaches working in ski racing youth programs in Canada.
  2. Improve the current complaint communication protocol so that the CSCF Board and/or Alpine Canada, if necessary, are appraised of all complaints.
  3. Produce a "whistle blower" policy to improve and expedite an investigation of alleged code of conduct allegations.

 

The CSCF reasserts its commitment to the prevention of physical or sexual abuse of participants in amateur skiing. The CSCF has a strict code of conduct and ethical guidelines governing the behavior of its members. We consider any form of physical or sexual abuse to be unacceptable and intolerable, and we do all we can to eliminate and prevent it. We are committed to the well-being of our participants and commit to continue sharing responsibilities in improving our programs and policies.

The CSCF will offer its full collaboration to the authorities for the duration of this process. Since the matter is now before the courts, the CSCF will refrain from making any further comments.

About the CSCF
The CSCF is a not for profit organization incorporated in 1976. It is a membership-based organization with more than 7,300 members in Canada and abroad. The CSCF provides coach certification and professional development programs, services and benefits for members who have an interest in or who are actively coaching in alpine, para-alpine and ski cross ski racing programs in Canada. The CSCF works directly with its partners to offer programming in all regions of the country, on a scheduled and on-demand basis in English and French. The alpine coach education program is part of the sport-wide National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). Development and delivery of programs is governed by Alpine Canada long-term skier development guidelines and NCCP standards.

 

SOURCE Canadian Ski Coaches Federation

For further information: Christophe Sanders, 514-843-2354, csanders@national.ca

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Canadian Ski Coaches Federation

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