Recently, Boxing Ontario, in line with the Canada Not-for-profit Act, requested a special meeting of the members of Boxing Canada. We feel that Boxing Canada requires changes to be successful and to provide our athletes with opportunities to advance and compete globally. Confidence in Boxing Canada and the High-Performance program has never been lower, and we believe the requested changes will be an important first step in restoring confidence and transparency. In our meeting requisition we have asked the PSO members to pass 3 motions. Each motion is important and will help ensure that the members determine the direction of the Association.
1. That Boxing Canada staff and High-Performance program be subject to a third-party performance review/investigation, including interviews with PSOs and National Team athletes (current and former). This should be independent of any other initiatives, and the report/results made available (within legal parameters) to all Members upon completion. Third party to be selected by Ontario with Quebec approval.
Recently, a public letter signed by nearly 200 athletes and coaches brought up concerns regarding unaddressed safe sport complaints, bias selections, and questionable training practices. Throughout recent years, these complaints have been re-occurring, and due to the seriousness of the allegations, an investigation is required.
There will be a lack of confidence in the results produced from the process if Boxing Canada selects their own investigators. To ensure both transparency and accountability, it is important that this motion passes so that as members we select the third party and oversee the process.
2. That a new “Team Selection Committee” be formed consisting of one Member-selected representative from each Member Province/Territory. The “Team Selection Committee” will be tasked with writing ALL team selection policies moving forward, placing an emphasis on competition results.
Boxing Canada, as an NSO, is obligated to provide a clear pathway for athletes to ensure advancement, however, has failed to do so. For nearly a decade, selection policies have allowed subjective criteria such as “motivation” to be considered over actual competition results. Hypothetically, an athlete could win the National Championship several years in a row and never be considered for the High-Performance program or National Team. Selections have relied heavily on “discretion” and not performance. As a direct result of these policies, 4 of the 8 male athletes that were nominated to the 2021 Americas Olympic Qualifying team were selected by discretion and not competition, despite there being a tournament to specifically qualify athletes for that event.
Passing this motion is crucial as it would dictate the format and mandate of the committee. The committee would be selected by the members and ensure that there is no bias influence. This would allow confidence in the selection process moving forward.
3. That there be a vote of no-confidence in the Boxing Canada Board of Directors.
First, to clear up any confusion, a no-confidence vote in parliament means that it is mandatory for those applicable to step down. This is NOT the case with Boxing Canada as the Canada Not-for-profit Act does not recognize a no-confidence vote. This motion is, however, extremely important as it sends a clear message that members are not happy and expect changes. Passing this motion will show Sport Canada and the government that we as PSOs support the many athletes and coaches that recently signed a letter concerning Boxing Canada operations and High-Performance program. What does it say about the PSOs’ support for their athletes and coaches if this motion does not pass? So, while this is not a personal attack to any one board member, and while Boxing Canada board members will not be required to step down, they will be required to acknowledge that changes and accountability are needed and NOT optional.
The concerns brought forward by the athletes, coaches as well as the previous motions are not the only issues that need to be addressed. Although many associations have challenges and issues that occur, Boxing Canada regularly falls short on daily operations and responsibilities. Such as,
- Failed to provide a 3rd level of coaching certification for nearly 7 years. However, still required the 3rd level certification to allow coaches to corner at National events. Lack of required training significantly limited the development and pathway for coaches attempting to advance. Preventing Canadian coaches from advancing forced Boxing Canada to look to other countries for our own national coach.
- December 4, 2021, Boxing Canada had their charity status revoked for failure to file. It is unclear if this status is being re-instated.
- The government mandated an independent third party for complaint investigations to be in place by April 1, 2020. Boxing Canada did not update their policies or provide contact information to the athletes until January 2022. This means complaints were not handled through the mandated process or documented as required.
- Unable to provide passport books for new members. Currently several Provinces are forced to track competition with temporary books.
Each member PSO should be voting based on what their membership wants. We encourage membership to communicate with their PSO and ensure that the members’ voices are being heard.
We kindly ask that all PSOs support these motions in the best interest of our athletes, coaches, and the sport of Boxing in Canada.