Update to Our Community: Independent High Performance Culture Review

Update to Our Community: Independent High Performance Culture Review

The Rowing Canada Aviron Board of Directors (“RCA Board”) would like to update the rowing community on the findings and recommendations of an independent high performance culture review, conducted by Rubin-Thomlinson LLP. The purpose of the review was to gather information from stakeholders about their experiences with RCA’s High Performance (“HP”) program’s culture, review RCA’s policy, procedures, and governance as it relates to SafeSport, and provide recommendations to the RCA Board.

Throughout this process, the RCA Board deeply reflected on how we can, should and will show up better and stronger for members of our HP community. We profoundly apologize for disappointing our athletes and for eroding the trust of our high performance rowing community. We acknowledge the tremendous impact caused by an unhealthy high performance environment and recognize that we need to be better to ensure the safest possible environment for everyone.

We accept all of the recommendations issued by Rubin-Thomlinson LLP and commit to adopting and exceeding what is recommended in this report. Rubin-Thomlinson LLP aim to strengthen the steps that RCA has already taken and suggested additional avenues for this cultural shift (outlined in the Executive Summary). Key points include:

  1. Acknowledging the Past and Processing the Report
  2. Internalize Safety and Respect
  3. Improve Communication and Transparency
  4. Foster Inclusion

When the review process was launched in June 2022, we knew that meaningful change did not need to wait for the outcomes of this review. Through the leadership of Safe Sport expert (ITP Sport) Allison Forsyth, critical steps are being made to improve the culture within the high performance environment.

Ms. Forsyth is facilitating ongoing Safe Sport work in the RCA HP environment including:

  • Intensive culture workshops with staff and athlete groups to align on new values within the HP environment
  • Sport specific training and education (above mandatory training)
  • Identifying structural red flags such as team selection and head coach responsibilities
  • Ongoing communications support within the HP environment.

“As an athlete survivor and safe sport expert I have been honoured to support RCA’s full team in progressing their Safe Sport and culture efforts,” said Forsyth. “I commend RCA for taking the initiative to acknowledge this need and getting into action.”

We recognize that actions always speak louder than words and we need to hold ourselves accountable. The action plan will be developed throughout the month of October with consultation with key stakeholders, including our Athlete Council. A critical part of the plan includes the RCA Board striking the ‘RCA Accountability Committee’. The role of this committee is to ensure the fulfillment of these recommendations. A call for committee members will be released in early November along with a detailed action plan.

We appreciate all the feedback from our community and continue to welcome any questions or concerns.

RCA Independent High Performance Review Report Appendices

Sincerely, 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

Carol Purcer, President: president@rowingcanada.org 

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