Ottawa

Athletics Canada upholds lifetime ban of Ottawa track coach

The Athletics Canada Commissioner's Office has upheld a lifetime ban against an Ottawa track coach accused of harassment and sexual harassment stemming from his time with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club.

Complaints lodged against Andy McInnis while he worked at Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club

Former Ottawa Lions Club Track and Field coach Andy McInnis, seen here in May 2012, has been suspended for life by Athletics Canada over accusations of sexual harassment during his time with the club. (CBC)

The Athletics Canada Commissioner's Office has upheld a lifetime ban against an Ottawa track coach accused of harassment and sexual harassment stemming from his time with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club.

Andy McInnis was banned for life in May 2019 following allegations he massaged and pinched female athletes inappropriately and slapped their buttocks, among other accusations. 

In February, McInnis won an appeal after an arbitrator found a report on allegations against McInnis exhibited bias. On Monday, Athletics Canada said another commissioner, Hugh L. Fraser, rendered his decision, upholding the previous sanctions against McInnis.

Fraser ordered McInnis's expulsion from Athletics Canada and all its activities, including track and field clubs, as well as his removal from the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame.

McInnis coached Canada's 4x100-metre men's relay team to gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and went on to become Canada's national program director. He also created successful track and field programs at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and was inducted into Athletics Canada's Hall of Fame in 2017.

In a news release, Athletics Canada said it prioritizes making track and field a "healthy, safe and secure" environment for athletes.

"Harassment of any kind is incompatible with that environment and is strictly enforced," the release said.

"Any participant is our sport that feels or sees harassment of any kind is encouraged to contact the independent Commissioners Office."

with files from The Canadian Press

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