Canada Strengthens Anti-Doping Program for 2021

(Ottawa, Ontario – January 21, 2021) – Recognized as a world leader in anti-doping, Canada has further strengthened its commitment to clean and ethical sport by implementing the new 2021 Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP).

The enhanced program ensures that national sport and multi-sport organizations that adopt the CADP are compliant with the 2021 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code and its International Standards. As of today, 69 Canadian sport organizations have adopted the 2021 CADP. Additionally, 15 Canadian multi-sport organizations have signed the CADP Covenant, available for those organizations who wish to demonstrate their commitment to clean sport but do not have athlete members.

“This program is the product of extensive consultation, starting with athletes and including leaders and technical experts from across the Canadian sport system,” said Paul Melia, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). "The CCES partnered with AthletesCAN to engage national team athletes through a focus group and a nationwide survey to ensure their interests were given top priority.”

“Putting athletes at the centre of the consultations speaks volumes about our rightful place in the sport system,” said Pierre-Luc Laliberté, President of AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes. “While AthletesCAN firmly believes that a lot of work remains to be done in relation to the anti-doping movement, Canadian athletes are proud to continue to participate in efforts to achieve a level and fair playing field."

Laliberté added that a survey of national team athletes found the vast majority (85%) believe that anti-doping in Canada is effective while less than half (45%) believe it to be effective at the international level.

Melia also noted that the renewed version of the CADP included some important new elements, such as WADA’s new Athletes’ Anti-Doping Rights Act. “It’s a big step forward,” he added, “The Act was the product of a dedicated group of athletes, led by Canadian Olympian Beckie Scott, who championed their shared commitment to clean, athlete-centred sport, and it will have an impact on athletes everywhere.”

The Act confirms athlete rights contained in the WADA Code through more than a dozen specific conditions including equality of opportunity, fair testing programs and the right to justice, accountability, education and whistleblower mechanisms.

The Athletes’ Act also includes a series of aspirational rights that athletes from around the world are encouraging national anti-doping organizations to adopt as best practices. The 2021 CADP fully incorporates both the mandatory and aspirational rights of the Act, which include:

  • Athletes have the right to an anti-doping system free from corruption.
  • Athletes have the right to participate in governance and decision-making.
  • Athletes have the right to legal aid.

Other major changes in the 2021 CADP include:

  • A small group of designated support personnel (e.g., officers, directors, certain employees and volunteers) in each compliant organization will be required to complete online learning and to sign an agreement confirming they understand their obligations under the CADP. This does not mean these individuals will be tested; rather, that they agree not to commit intentional anti-doping rule violations under the Code, such as tampering, trafficking, administration, complicity, prohibited association and retaliation.
  • The CADP identifies a new category called “substances of abuse” which includes cocaine, heroin, MDMA (“Ecstasy”) and THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis).  Athletes who commit violations for these substances may have their sanctions reduced to three months if they can demonstrate that use was out of competition and unrelated to sport performance. The sanction may be reduced further to one month if the athlete satisfactorily completes a Substance of Abuse treatment program approved by the CCES.
  • While the 2021 WADA Code allows international sport federations to use data from a doping control test to monitor eligibility relating to gender verification and other rules, the 2021 CADP makes it clear that the CCES will not use such data for anything other than legitimate anti-doping purposes.
  • Following any anti-doping rule violation, there is an automatic requirement placed on the sport organization to conduct a review and to report the outcome to the CCES, along with actions to address issues or gaps. In addition, fines can be levied against sport organizations where significant doping occurs and the organization in question fails to conduct the required review or fails to implement recommended actions.

The 2021 CADP came into effect on January 1, 2021 to coincide with implementation of the 2021 WADA Code.

About the CCES

The CCES is an independent, national, not-for profit organization with a responsibility to administer the Canadian Anti-Doping Program. We recognize that true sport can make a great difference for individuals, communities and our country. The CCES acknowledges funding, in part, from the Government of Canada. We are committed to making sport better by working collaboratively to activate a values-based and principle-driven sport system; protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats; and advocating for sport that is fair, safe and open to everyone.

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