Statement from Michael Downey, Tennis Canada CEO
“Participation in tennis provides valuable experiences and lessons for youth which they can then employ, to their benefit, throughout their entire life. When the sport of tennis focuses on teaching skills within a framework of healthy child and youth development, when it creates safe and supportive environments within which young athletes can thrive and when it encourages a balanced lifestyle, then youth benefit, well beyond the fun of hitting a ball over a net.
“Safe and supportive environments are those within which athletes can train and compete without fear of bullying, harassment or abuse. Tennis Canada is committed to protecting the security, safety, and health of its young people, vulnerable persons, staff and volunteers.
“Tennis Canada demonstrates its commitment to safety by implementing current and comprehensive policies, delivering education and training, and by managing allegations and complaints compassionately, fairly and impartially.”
Fostering a sport environment that is safe for all participants, at all levels of competition, is everyone’s responsibility. A safe sport environment is one that does not jeopardize an athlete’s mental, physical, emotional or sexual health and well-being but instead promotes strength, resilience and self-confidence.
Athletes, particularly those competing at high levels, may be vulnerable to attacks on their health and well-being from people they know – trainers and other athletes, for example – as well as from people they do not know – media and strangers through social media. It is essential that all participants are protected from harm through a combination of education and prevention initiatives, comprehensive and actionable policies and protocols and compassionate and just crisis management.
The priority, in the first year, is to create a set of policies that guide the work, initiate educational efforts to encourage an environment receptive to safeguarding and to ensure a consistent level of safety across the organization.
The key areas addressed in the Safe Sport workplan include:
- Policy Development and Planning to ensure policies are current and comprehensive
- Crisis Management to ensure a level of preparedness in the event of an allegation
- Communication to promote safeguarding
- Insurance to ensure adequate coverage in the event of an allegation
- Education and Prevention to establish an understanding of safeguarding across the organization, from Junior athletes to governance volunteers
- Sport Culture to collaborate with other national sport organizations to influence culture change
Specific safeguarding strategies will be built to address the unique needs and risks associated with the following positions:
- Tennis Canada’s office staff
- Tennis Canada’s Board of Directors
- Certified Coaches / Members of the Tennis Professionals Association
- Tournament Volunteers
- Short- and Long-term Volunteer Hosts
- High Performance Coaches
If you feel at risk of immediate harm, call 9-1-1. If you are in need of support and don’t know where to turn, the following organizations may be able to provide you with guidance:
Canadian Sport Helpline
The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) has launched a national toll-free sport helpline to offer assistance to victims or witnesses of harassment, abuse or discrimination. The anonymous, confidential and independent service will allow them to share and validate their concerns, obtain advice on required next steps, and be referred to other appropriate resources for follow up.
This professional listening and referral service is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, by phone or text at 1-888-83SPORT (77678), and by email. The webpage of the helpline can be found here.
Independent Third Party for Safe Sport Concerns
Tennis Canada knows how important it is to provide a safe, secure, and independent way of reporting issues that are impacting an individual directly or that they have become aware of. Tennis Canada has enlisted the services of an Independent Third Party company called Whistleblower Security. To report a concern, please contact their 24/7/365 bilingual hotline at 1-866-921-6714.
Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only national 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, online counselling and referral service for children and youth.
Their service is completely anonymous and confidential. You don’t even have to tell them your name. You can connect to them by phone, mobile app or by chat, whenever and however you want.
1-800-688-6868 or Text “CONNECT” to 686868.
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
This site provides links to services in your community or province/territory that you can contact for support and counselling. Click here to find a support service near you: We offer a wide range of articles, tools and resources on our site to help young people through challenges or experiences they might face. We also have professional counselling support and a variety of resources to help youth in any moment of need. https://suicideprevention.ca/Need-Help
Hope for Wellness Help Line
The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer counselling and crisis intervention. Call the toll-free Help Line at or connect to the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca. Services are available in Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut, French and English.
Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of the trans community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Their vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid. To learn more, visit https://www.translifeline.org/
LGBT Youth Line
Youth Line offers confidential and non-judgmental peer support through telephone, text and chat services. Get in touch with a peer support volunteer from Sunday to Friday, 4:00PM to 9:30 PM. For more information, visit http://www.youthline.ca/
Canadian Centre for Child Protection
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety of children. Their goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, assist in the location of missing children, and prevent child victimization. To obtain support for families or guidance around how to proceed if you suspect abuse, visit https://www.protectchildren.ca/en/
To report images of online child exploitation, visit CyberTip at https://www.cybertip.ca/app/en/report
National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC)
NEDIC is a Canadian non-profit providing resources on eating disorders & weight preoccupation. Eating Disorders thrive in secrecy, but it can be hard to start the conversation. Whether you have an eating disorder yourself, or are affected by someone else’s, NEDIC can help you find the words to reach out. Their helpline can be reached at 1-866-633-4220 outside of the GTA, or at 416-340-4156, Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm EST. Trained support workers can offer information, referrals to professionals across Canada, resources, and hope.
Sport’Aide a pour mission d’assurer un leadership dans la mise en œuvre d’initiatives favorisant un environnement sportif sain, sécuritaire et harmonieux pour les jeunes sportifs du Québec et fournir un service d’accompagnement aux différents acteurs du milieu sportif, et ce, tant au niveau élite que récréatif. Sport’aide provides support to athletes in need of emotional assistance. To learn more, visit: http://sportaide.ca/
1 833 211-AIDE (2433), 1 833 245-HELP (4357)
For access to educational resources on violence and abuse prevention, bullying and mental health, please explore the following:
For information on background checks, which are commonly required for volunteers or employees of most organizations, please consult our guide.
- With regards to conducting record checks on youth under the age of 18, more information is available here.
For information on eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Information Centre at http://nedic.ca/
For information on bullying prevention, visit PREVNet at https://www.prevnet.ca/
For resources on violence prevention, bullying and abuse, visit the Red Cross at http://www.redcross.ca/how-we-help/violence-bullying-and-abuse-prevention
To access dozens of Tip Sheets on current issues experienced by young people, visit the Kids Help Phone at https://kidshelpphone.ca/
For resources on suicide prevention, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention at https://suicideprevention.ca/We offer a wide range of articles, tools and resources on our site to help young people through challenges or experiences they might face. We also have professional counselling support and a variety of resources to help youth in any moment of need.
Les athlètes retireront encore plus de bénéfices du sport s’ils se sentent en sécurité et si l’environnement au sein duquel les athlètes évoluent favorise le développement sain et respectueux de leurs besoins en fonction de leur âge. Malheureusement, la violence en milieu sportif ainsi que les abus sexuels sont encore trop souvent banalisés et acceptés. Ces comportements affectent les jeunes ainsi que la communauté sportive.
Vu l’importance de permettre aux jeunes athlètes de s’accomplir, de bénéficier pleinement des bienfaits du jeu et du plaisir de pratiquer leur sport dans le respect, nous favorisons la promotion de saines habitudes sportives. For more information and for resources, visit http://sportbienetre.ca/accueil.asp
Please find information on responding to disclosures of abuse & duty to report here.