Canadian Olympic Committee fires 3 in wake of Marcel Aubut scandal
Moves follow recommendations after probe into Marcel Aubut's alleged improprieties
Only days after the Canadian Olympic Committee vowed to quickly implement the recommendations of an independent investigation into misconduct by former president Marcel Aubut, three staff members have been dismissed.
CBC News has confirmed that executive director of operations Judy Crute and chief of sport officer Caroline Assalian have been relieved of their duties. Human resources manager Robert Cousin was also let go.
New COC president Tricia Smith last week announced that the organization has agreed to widespread changes meant to significantly "strengthen workplace policies, procedures and governance" in the wake of the Aubut scandal.
Aubut, 68, resigned on Oct. 3, 2015, after being accused of sexual harassment. He has not faced any criminal charges.
The COC released an independent report by employment-law experts Rubin Thomlinson last Wednesday, which identified gaps in the organization's human resources structure.
Specifically, it found a lack of clarity regarding roles between the COC board and Aubut, allowing the former president to wield considerable power.
That also resulted in a "culture where people did not have confidence in their ability to act in a way that could effect change," said Smith, a four-time Olympian who took over as COC president in November.
"Importantly, there was no effective mechanism for individuals to raise issues of concern, except through a formal complaint."
The Canadian Olympic Committee oversees preparation of Canada's athletes for the Olympic Games.
The report's eight recommendations include:
- Enhancements to harassment policies, including a "duty to report" provision and a mechanism for filing complaints that doesn't require reporting to the CEO or president.
- Education, including a mandatory training session for staff and board members on harassment policies and procedures.
- Strengthening record-keeping to document complaints and how they have been addressed.
- Ensuring a means by which individuals can lodge anonymous complaints.
- Providing an independent resource to whom individuals can express concerns, such as an ethics commissioner.
- Emphasizing respect and well-being as the COC's core values for employees.
- Ensuring employees are aware of a whistleblower's policy, continually monitor employees' views and confirm enforcement of policies.