Federal, provincial governments promise to up funding for WADA to $3 million annually
CBC News Posted: Nov 15, 2017 7:52 PM ETLast Updated: Nov 16, 2017 9:49 AM ET
The World Anti-Doping Agency is located in the Montreal stock exchange tower. (Radio-Canada / Martin Thibault)
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) headquarters will stay in Montreal until 2031, according to a decision from the body’s executive committee.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has been personally involved in promoting Montreal’s bid to retain the headquarters.
He and Quebec’s international relations minister Christine St-Pierre were part of a Canadian delegation that made a final pitch to WADA’s 38-member decision-making body in Seoul, South Korea.
“We are very satisfied,” St-Pierre told Radio-Canada. “It’s very good news.”
The federal and provincial governments have committed to increasing WADA’s annual funding from $1.9 million to $3 million for 10 years starting in 2021.
The Quebec government footing one third of the bill for the roughly $11-million increase and the federal government will pay the rest.
Garneau told Radio-Canada that he’s proud the provincial and federal governments were able to work together to make this happen.
“Today was a great day, not only for Montreal but also for the province of Quebec and for the government of Canada,” he said.
“I think it’s a strong endorsement of Canada’s values with respect to clean sport. It’s a strong endorsement of the good work that’s been done since the beginning in Montreal.”
WADA was established in Montreal in 1999 with the help of Dick Pound, a former Canadian Olympic swimmer and the agency’s first president.
WADA was previously committed to staying in Montreal until at least 2021.
There was speculation, however, that at that point the office could move to Europe, closer to the International Olympic Committee, which is based in Switzerland, but the head of the INRS Doping Control Laboratory in Laval said it’s for the best that it didn’t move because Canada has anti-doping measures in place.
“It’s obvious that it’s important that it stays in Montreal,” Christiane Ayotte told Radio-Canada’s Gravel le matin.
A new location means WADA would have lost some of its expertise because not everyone who works at the office is willing to move, she added.
“It would have been an immense amount of wasted time and energy.”
With files from Radio-Canada’s Gravel le matin and The Canadian Press