On May 6, 2019 the independent Athletics Canada Commissioner’s Office issued an investigative report and sanctions as a result of complaints made against Andy McInnis in his role with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club. On June 4, 2019 Mr. McInnis appealed the sanctions to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre for Canada (SDRCC). On December 17, 2019 SDRCC Arbitrator David Bennett ruled that the investigation leading to the May 6, 2019 report and sanctions had exhibited bias and that Mr. McInnis had not received his full entitlement to natural justice and procedural fairness in the process before the Commissioner’s Office. Therefore, Arbitrator Bennett ruled that Athletics Canada must remit the complaints back to the independent Commissioner’s Office for review, by a different Commissioner. Commissioner Hugh L. Fraser was appointed to handle the redetermination of this case. On Monday, June 8, 2020, Commissioner Fraser rendered his decision.
Having considered all the documentary evidence presented to him and submissions made on behalf of Mr. McInnis, Commissioner Fraser ordered that:
- Mr. McInnis be expelled from Athletics Canada and all its activities, including involvement with any of its member branches (provinces/territories) and Track & Field Clubs; and
- Mr. McInnis be removed from the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame.
Athletics Canada views Safe Sport as a right for all participants. Athletics Canada prioritizes maintaining a healthy, safe and secure environment for its athletes, coaches, officials’ volunteers and employees. Harassment of any kind is incompatible with that environment and is strictly enforced. Athletics Canada has made many changes over the past number of years to strengthen its safe sport policies, including creating the independent Commissioner’s Office in 2015, and most recently tabling new governance and policies (to be voted on at the Athletics Canada Annual General Meeting June 26-27, 2020) including a Whistleblower Policy that will facilitate the reporting of inappropriate behaviours.
Any participant is our sport that feels or sees harassment of any kind is encouraged to contact the independent Commissioners Office. Athletics Canada’s Board of Directors vest the Commissioner’s Office to be the autonomous authority in multiple areas of Athletics Canada’s operations, including complaints of violations of Athletics Canada’s Code of Conduct and Ethics.