Canadian Olympic Committee makes workplace changes after sex harassment scandal

Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:09pm EST
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By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - The Canadian Olympic Committee apologized to its employees on Wednesday and unveiled sweeping changes to workplace policies in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that forced former president Marcel Aubut to resign.

The COC's board of directors also agreed to implement all the recommendations made in a "tough" third-party workplace review of its handling of the Aubut affair that identified gaps in the area of human resources systems and processes.

"It is clear from the report summary that the board and the senior leadership team could have done more. And for that, I apologize," COC President Tricia Smith said on a conference call.

"We all own this and we are truly sorry. We failed our employees.

Aubut, 68, resigned last October amid allegations that he sexually harassed a female colleague. A week later, two other women come forward with allegations. [ID:nL3N12402E]

The COC is one of the most powerful sports organizations in Canada and has influence over many Olympians, their coaches and national sport federations.

Smith, a former Olympic rower, said over 100 confidential interviews with COC staff, former staff and other individuals were conducted over a three-month period as part of the review.

The report stated that there was a lack of clarity around the role and authority of the board versus the role and authority of the former president.   Continued...

The Olympic rings seen displayed outside the headquarters for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) in Montreal, November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi