The province is applauding the continued effort of Sport Manitoba to raise awareness and offer support to athletes, coaches and volunteers.

“Participating in sports offers many great opportunities to learn, grow and develop but we want to ensure everyone involved acts responsibly and is treated with respect,” Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox said. “The province is pleased to support organizations like Sport Manitoba in its efforts to reach out to athletes, coaches and all others involved letting them know help is available if they don’t feel safe.”

Sport Manitoba was the first provincial sport leader in Canada to launch a toll-free support line for abuse, bullying and harassment in sport. The Sport Support Line offers help to victims of abuse and offers guidance to anyone who suspects someone is at risk and doesn’t know what steps to take.

“Sport Manitoba believes in being proactive in ensuring sport in our province is safe and enjoyable, and all our participants remain active for life,” said Jeff Hnatiuk, president and CEO, Sport Manitoba. “Manitoba is a leader in keeping kids safe. Through our Sport Support Line, coach education including the Respect in Sport program, volunteer training, and the policies our recognized sport organizations enforce, we are committed to working with our partners to make sport safer for all.”

Among the programs to be highlighted are the Respect in Sport online course, which was developed by the Respect Group co-founded by Sheldon Kennedy. Manitoba was the first province to make the program mandatory for all coaches in 2006 and require recertification every five years. Other innovative programs offered through Sport Manitoba are the Responsible Coaching Movement and Keeping Kids Safe – Resources for Parents, which offer advice and information for parents to help them work with coaches to keep children safe.