Decision to ban former Ottawa Lions coach Andy McInnis from Athletics under review
Andy 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. (CTV Ottawa)
OTTAWA -- A May 2019 decision to issue a lifetime ban to former Ottawa track and field coach Andy McInnis is being reviewed following a successful appeal.
McInnis was suspended by the club in March 2019 following allegations of sexual harassment, which launched the initial Athletics Canada investigation.
In May, Athletics Canada issued a lifetime ban to McInnis, based on findings in a report by former Ontario Ombudsman André Marin.
In December, McInnis won an appeal to overturn his lifetime ban. Athletics Canada said it would, as ordered, remit the case for reconsideration and remove the original investigation's report, and the resulting decision, from its website. McInnis remains provisionally suspended.
The President of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club said Monday Athletics Canada had launched a "new investigation" into complaints against McInnis, but the head of Athletics Canada said the situation was "mischaracterized."
"The SDRCC Arbitrator has remitted the matter back to the Athletics Canada Commissioner’s Office for review," said Athletics Canada CEO David Bedford in an email to CTV News Ottawa. "This is a confidential process, and independent of Athletics Canada. As such, until such time as this review has been completed, there is nothing more that Athletics Canada can offer in terms of information. This is not a new investigation, and was mischaracterized as such by the Ottawa Lions club."
In the appeal, Arbitrator David Bennett found the language used in the initial report by Marin was "inflammatory, highly editorial, and generally unnecessary" and that it served "no purpose but to convince the reader of Mr. McInnis' guilt."
In her letter, Monday, Ottawa Lions President Nathalie Côté encouraged athletes who wished to make a complaint to contact the Commissioner's Office.
"Our priority is ensuring a safe sport environment within our club and our sport. This includes making sure that complainants have their voices heard," Côté said.
Athletics Canada’s website has more information on filing a complaint.
None of the allegations against McInnes have been proven in court.
A previous version of this story suggested a new investigation into McInnis was being undertaken. The head of Athletics Canada replied to a request for comment Tuesday to say that the Ottawa Lions calling it a "new investigation" was a mischaracterization of the situation.
The article has been updated to better reflect the current state of affairs.