U SPORTS has applauded Canada's Government strengthening safe sport initiatives ©Getty Images

Canadian Government policies designed to strengthen safe sport in the country have been welcomed by U SPORTS.

Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge announced earlier this month that new eligibility requirements are to come into force in April 2023, whereby organisations will need to meet specific governance, accountability and safe sport criteria to receive Government money.

The Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner is also being created to provide a way for all participants in sport to report abuse and mistreatment, with CAD16 million (£10.3 million/$12.4 million/€11.8 million) due to be invested in it over the next three years.

"U SPORTS and our members are committed to creating a safe environment for our 14,000 plus student-athletes," chief executive Pierre Arsenault said.

"In February 2020, U SPORTS made significant changes to its policies including the modification of our Code of Ethics, adopted a robust Policy Against Maltreatment in Sport and updated our Harassment and Discrimination Policy. 

"As such, we welcome Sunday’s (June 12) announcement and look forward to working with the Minister and her team to create a stronger, more inclusive Canadian sport system."

Field hockey is among the disciplines U SPORTS National Championship are organised in ©Getty Images
Field hockey is among the disciplines U SPORTS National Championship are organised in ©Getty Images

U SPORTS is the national governing body of university sport in Canada.

It will be among the organisations needing to meet the new criteria to receive Government funding.

Its safeguarding policies apply to the 21 National Championships it arranges, as well as national teams representing Canada at International University Sports Federation events.

Together with its 56 member institutions, U SPORTS claims to be the largest employers of coaching professionals in Canada.

St-Onge's new safeguarding measures for sport were introduced in the wake of a series of scandals in Canadian sport, particularly in bobsleigh and skeleton, gymnastics, ice hockey and boxing.