Reforms have been made amid an abuse scandal in Canadian sport ©Getty Images

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) has pledged CAD$1 million (£592,000/$737,000/€675,000) for education to prevent abuse in sport after the country's Sports Minister announced a series of reforms.

It comes after thousands of athletes have come forward to allege a "toxic culture of abuse" across Canadian sport.

Canada's Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge has ordered the creation of a public registry of people who have been sanctioned which should be created within a year.

National bodies must also have at least one athlete on their Boards by 2025 to maintain federal funding, while non-disclosure agreements cannot be used to prevent athletes from reporting any abuse they have experienced or witnessed.

Minutes of Board meetings must be posted online, as well as financial statements.

"Athletes must have a greater voice at all levels of decision-making," said St-Onge.

Canadian Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge, left, announced the reforms ©Getty Images
Canadian Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge, left, announced the reforms ©Getty Images

"The concrete measures I have announced are part of a long-term shift to turn the tide on a much-needed culture change in sport."

Canadian athletes from a number of sports have testified at Parliamentary Committees about physical and mental abuse suffered at the hands of coaches and others.

The COC is matching a CAD$1 million donation which is being made by Sport Canada to "develop and promote tools regarding harassment and abuse".

"Our purpose is to transform Canada through the power of sport and that can only happen if sport is done right," said David Shoemaker, chief executive and secretary general of the COC. 

"Actions like those announced are essential for building a stronger system and showing Canadians that sport is an incredible force for positive change. 

"That is why I'm so pleased to share that the COC will be matching the Government's $1 million investment."

Rosie MacLennan, a two-time Olympic champion in trampolining and the chair of the COC Athletes' Commission, added: "This announcement and the COC's matching funds will help implement solutions critical to athlete safety and sport system reform.

"We have been working constructively on behalf of Canada's Olympic, Paralympic and national team athletes to make meaningful changes to how sport is run in Canada and to ensure athletes truly are at the centre of the system. 

"There is still much more to do, but progress is being made."

Some athletes have called for a public inquiry into the abuse which St-Onge said was a "legitimate request".

Global Athlete said the new measures "fail to address the human rights crisis occurring in Canadian sport".

Double Olympic trampoline champion Rosie MacLennan said progress is being made ©Getty Images
Double Olympic trampoline champion Rosie MacLennan said progress is being made ©Getty Images

"The measures put forward by the Minister are not the foundations upon which safe sport in Canada can be built," the group said. 

"Without understanding the depths of the human rights issue at hand, the injection of funding will not adequately address the problems.

"The systemic issues of abuse in Canadian sport have prevailed for decades specifically because of the self-governing system. 

"The announcements offer nothing to alter or investigate this outdated governance model. 

"Instead, they reinforce it by establishing a Compliance Unit and an Athlete Advisory Committee within Sport Canada, an entity that has contributed to this crisis and has yet to be held accountable for those failings. 

"The establishment of more bureaucratic arms attached to sporting bodies allows self-regulation to continue and keeps at a distance what is needed - oversight, transparency and independence.

"The lack of engagement with athletes and athlete groups in forming these new measures is indicative of how the system will continue to operate.

"If the Minister is serious about changing the culture of Canadian sport, the only way to begin this cultural shift will be through a national judicial inquiry - one which has the potential to set Canada as a world leader of safe sport."