Rugby Canada are proud to announce the establishment of an internal Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) Working Group to assist in the development of policies, education and training to ensure rugby in Canada is free of racism.
July 17, 2020 (Langford, BC) – Rugby Canada are proud to announce the establishment of an internal Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) Working Group to assist in the development of policies, education and training to ensure rugby in Canada is free of racism. Comprised of representatives from Senior National Teams and Rugby Canada staff, the working group has been meeting with focus on the following areas:
- Development of updated anti-BIPOC racism policies for all Rugby Canada staff, athletes, Board members & related organizations
- Development of training curriculum and annual completion standards for all staff, athletes, Board members & related organizations on anti-BIPOC racism
- Development of an independent 3rd party complaint & investigation body
- Updated outreach objectives for indigenous, marginalized & low-income communities to be included in the Rugby Canada Strategic Plan.
Rugby Canada Chairman Tim Powers stated, “This crucial initiative is fully supported by our Board. Our sport, like every other organization, needs to do all that we can to stop racism and end intolerance.”
In addition to the BIPOC Working Group, Rugby Canada announced the adoption of a zero-tolerance environment for racism, abuse, harassment or maltreatment in its workplace and training spaces. Working in close collaboration with Provincial Rugby Unions and Member Clubs, the goal is to introduce and enforce the zero-tolerance policy throughout the entire rugby sport system in Canada.
Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen said, “While much work has been done to ensure equality and inclusivity in the sport of rugby, there is definitely more to do. These next steps are integral to creating the inclusive community we strive for, and I’m excited to be working closely with our BIPOC Working Group.”
Vansen added, “I’ve been particularly inspired and impressed by some of the outstanding efforts and initiatives several of our athletes have been undertaking in our communities, notably Pam Buisa, Charity Williams and Josiah Morra. These young athletes have been demonstrating amazing leadership in the community and have been invaluable in guiding us at Rugby Canada to be better.”
Pam Buisa from Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team was one of the primary organizers of the Peace Rally for Black Lives in Victoria, BC attended by over 9,000 people and thousands more over an online livestream. Her teammate Charity Williams was one of the speakers at the Peace Rally and has been instrumental in working with Rugby Canada leadership in recent weeks. Josiah Morra was also a speaker at the Peace Rally sharing some of his personal experiences to the crowd and online viewers.
Canada Women’s Sevens Team member Charity Williams said, “I’m proud that this organization is now standing behind me and all the other BIPOC athletes. Accountability and proactive measures are being taken in the fight against systemic racism. As an organization we are having tough and honest discussions targeting a subject that has always been neglected, however, I am very hopeful and appreciative of the direction and commitment of Rugby Canada.”
Updated policies, education and training programs are actively being worked on and will be launched in the coming weeks.
The BIPOC Working Group consists of:
Pam Buisa, Canadas Women’s Sevens Team
Caroline Crossley, Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team
Doug Fraser, Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team
Paul Hunter, Director, Development
Tim Powers, Chairman
Laura Russel, Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team
Djustice Sears-Duru, Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team
Shaun Thompson, Director, Marketing & Communications
Jackie Tittley, Manager, Training & Education
Allen Vansen, CEO
Charity Williams, Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team
About Rugby Canada:
Rugby Canada is the national governing body of the sport of Rugby Union in Canada. They administer and operate Men’s and Women’s Senior and Junior National programs in both rugby XV’s and 7s, as well as govern the Club and community game for more than 30,000 registered participants from coast to coast in conjunction with ten Provincial Union members.
Rugby Canada is headquartered at the Al Charron National Training Centre in Langford, BC, with staff also working from Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa. Rugby Canada business operations, programs and events are delivered nationwide, including the internationally recognized HSBC Canada Sevens annual tournaments.
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