Update on RCA Independent High Performance Review

On February 25, 2022, the RCA Board of Directors (RCA Board) issued a Letter to Our RCA Community confirming our collective commitment to creating a healthy and respectful environment where our members feel confident to lead, compete, and coach.

The RCA Board made 3 commitments:

Commitment 1: To continue communicating the RCA Safe Sport initiatives related to maintaining a physically and psychologically safe high-performance environment

Commitment 2: To conduct an Independent Review of RCA’s HP programs and our systems, structures, and policies related to governance and management

Commitment 3: To continuously improve RCA’s governance

As an update on commitment 1, RCA has engaged Safe Sport expert and consultant from ITP Sport, Allison Forsyth to support the athletes and the organization in providing a deeper level of education and a plan to rebuild Safe Sport culturally at RCA. Allison is supporting several initiatives including ensuring enhanced trauma informed training and care for HP athletes and staff, an enhanced process for upholding the Rule of Two, clear communication and education with respect to RCA’s Independent Third Party role and process, greater transparency and accountability in the processes for HP athlete selection, athlete council consultation in decision-making, and establishment of a shared set of values and behavioural norms in the HP daily training environment.

As an update on commitment 2, the RCA Board formed an Independent Review Task Force to develop communications, to support the selection of an Independent Reviewer, and prepare terms of reference for the Independent Review Accountability Committee. An Independent Review identifies organizational concerns, deficiencies, and/or aspirations and sets out recommendations for addressing gaps and improving processes. Members of the Task Force and Selection Committee included:

  • Tom Hawker (Treasurer and Director at Large)
  • Carol Hermansen (Provincial Director)
  • Lindsay Jennerich (Athlete Director)
  • Kristen Kit (Athlete Council Representative)
  • Carol Purcer (President)
  • Jennifer Walinga (Chair – Director at Large)

The RCA Board has engaged Elizabeth Bingham and Christine Thomlinson from Rubin-Thomlinson as our Independent Reviewer. The process will consist of a review of policies and documents, an anonymous survey of national team athletes, staff, and contractors from 2016-2022 daily training environments, followed by interviews. The review will begin in late May and the Board expects a final report and recommendations in late August. At that time, the Board will issue a call for expressions of interest for the Independent Review Accountability Committee which will be comprised of independent individuals tasked with overseeing the fulfilment of the implementation of review recommendations.

With regard to commitment 3, the RCA Board has established the RCA Governance and Policy Committee, to be chaired by Jennifer Walinga, Director at Large. It is anticipated that a call for expressions of interest, including the Terms of Reference, will be issued in June. As a committee accountable to the Board, the RCA Governance and Policy Committee will research policy and governance practice, provide governance and stewardship advice, and propose action in the form of recommendations to the Board including strategies for implementing change.

We will continue to provide updates to the community as we work together to strengthen our culture by living our RCA values of diversity and inclusion, collaboration, accountability, creativity, and passion.

Sincerely the RCA Board,

Carol Purcer – RCA President
Lindsay Bergen – RCA Athlete Director
Tom Hawker – RCA Director at Large and Treasurer
Carol Hermansen – RCA Provincial Director
Dana Thorne – RCA Director at Large
Jane Thornton – RCA Director at Large
Jennifer Walinga – RCA Director at Large

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