VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Canada’s Border Services Agency has agreed to give the International Olympic Committee the names of athletes entering the country with performance-enhancing drugs during next month’s Winter Games.
But the agreement appears to fall short of the IOC’s hope that Canada would stop the drugs from getting into the country.
The IOC had been talking to Ottawa for two years hoping for help to enforce the Olympic body’s anti-doping policies. But most performance-enhancing substances aren’t illegal in Canada and the country’s privacy laws restrict what authorities can tell Olympic officials.
Under the agreement, which runs from Jan. 25 to March 25, the information will be shared only if the athletes or their support people have signed a waiver administered by the IOC.
IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said the waiver is mandatory for participating in the games.
“The IOC has a zero-tolerance policy against doping and as for previous Olympic Games, will be working closely with the local authorities to ensure that the appropriate measures are taken to catch any potential cheater during the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver,” Moreau said in an e-mail.
Hannah Mahoney, a spokeswoman for Canada Border Services Agency, said the agreement covers substances prohibited under both the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the World Anti-Doping Code 2009.
The chairman of the IOC’s medical commission, Dr. Arne Ljungqvist of Sweden, said last month that negotiating an agreement was difficult because Canada does not have anti-doping legislation.
That’s something the IOC will require from future host countries as a prerequisite for staging the games.
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s latest list of banned substances runs to nine pages, from well-known anabolic steroids to blood-doping compounds that improve an athlete’s oxygen capacity.
But many are legal in Canada and presumably can come into the country with the right paperwork.
It’s also unclear what the police role will be if performance-enhancing substances are reported at, say, the main athletes’ village in Vancouver.