PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
Rowing Canada’s recently published Independent High Performance Review revealed a culture of “organizational issues, maltreatment, and other forms of disrespectful behaviors” in the Canadian high performance program.
The report, conducted by Rubin Thompson, LLP, was published October 3.
“While we heard from participants about four thematic issues in the HP program’s culture, which will be summarized below, it was apparent that two concerns lay behind many of the comments that participants made in their surveys and interviews,” the report says. “First, many participants identified the actions of former Head Women’s coach Dave Thompson and their view of RCA’s response to his actions as something that had deeply damaged their trust in RCA and that had left them traumatized, angry, hurt, and disappointed. Second, many participants told us that they felt that RCA’s HP environment was not athlete-centered, by which they meant that athletes’ perspectives were not considered in decision-making. These participants expressed strong feelings of resentment, anger, and powerlessness in this regard.”
The 62-page report details a number of systemic issues in the Canadian rowing system and outlines a program plagued with dysfunction.
The report presents four categories of recommendations to improve the state of the Canadian high performance rowing program. The four categories are “Acknowledging the Past and Processing the Review; Internalizing a Culture of Safety and Respect; Improving Communication and Transparency; and Fostering Inclusion.”
“There is no doubt that RCA faces significant cultural challenges within its HP environment,” the report concludes. “However, the organization has started down a path aimed at fostering a safer, more respectful, inclusive, equitable, and diverse HP culture. Moreover, there is a tremendous desire for change on the part of many members of the HP community. We hope that this report, and our recommendations, serve to assist RCA as it creates a better HP environment for all.”