News

McInnis’ suspension applies to all Athletics Canada branches and clubs. Photo: CC, Pexels.

Andy McInnis’ suspension report shows complaints filed in 2016, 2018

Eight-year Gee-Gees track and field coach Andy McInnis has been suspended by Athletics Canada following several allegations under investigation of sexual harassment of a “serious nature” towards athletes and others during his time with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club.

The notice from the Athletics Canada commissioner indicates that the suspension will be in effect until the investigation results are released no later than June 30, 2019. The report further says that if a decision is not released in the matter interim suspension will be lifted.

McInnis’ suspension applies to all Athletics Canada branches and clubs.

The report, released on Monday March 25, details that McInnis has been on paid administrative leave or suspension from coaching and his role as club executive director with the Ottawa Lions since Sept. 13, 2018, as a result of sexual harassment complaints made to the club in 2018. McInnis was also “reprimanded by the club” after complaints of sexual harassment made in 2016.

In addition, the commissioner wrote that McInnis violated his terms of administrative leave by attending and coaching Ottawa Lions athletes at a training camp in California during the last week of December 2018 and the first week of January 2019.

According to a previous member of the University of Ottawa track team whose identity has been confirmed by the Fulcrum, the Ottawa Lions “club effectively operates the University of Ottawa Track and Field team.”

U of O media relations manager Isabelle Mailloux-Pulkinghorn told the Fulcrum via email that McInnis is not an employee with the university, and that they have a service agreement contract with the Ottawa Lions Club to provide coaching services.

“When a complaint was brought to our attention, we acted quickly to reprimand the individual and to contact his employer,” Mailloux-Pulkinghorn said, reiterating the university’s zero-tolerance policy towards sexual violence.

In a statement to athletes, the Ottawa Lions said that a “healthy, safe and secure sporting environment for all of our athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and employees” is a top priority, and encouraged anyone aware of misconduct to contact the club’s ombudsperson.

On the same day as McInnis’ suspension, Ottawa Lions president Ken Porter was also suspended for failing to take adequate remedial action concerning McInnis’ breach of administrative leave.

This article will be updated as necessary.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Porter’s suspension was due to failure to act on a violation of administrative leave by McInnis.