The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) informed Canadian athletes on Friday that it would resume urine sample collection under the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP) effective July 13, 2020.
Canada, like many national and international doping authorities, suspended anti-doping sample collection earlier this year over fears that the process would put athletes and anti-doping workers at risk for contracting coronavirus. The CCES program suspension was announced on March 27, 2020.
The CCES says that they have decided to resume testing now that the country is beginning to reopen access to training facilities.
CCES Guidelines for resumption of testing:
- All CCES personnel will complete a COVID-19 self-assessment prior to performing work for the CCES.
- All involved in the process will maintain appropriate physical distancing as much as possible.
- Only urine sample collection will occur until CCES has developed the appropriate safety enhancements deemed necessary for blood collection.
- At the time of notification, athletes will be required to complete a COVID-19 self-assessment as well.
- CCES will initially limit the participants in all testing sessions. This will typically mean only one athlete is tested at a time. As restrictions are lifted, testing session sizes may increase.
- All participants in the testing session must wear protective masks.
- Hand sanitizer will be available for the athlete’s use (and their representative, if applicable).
- There will be very limited sharing of supplies.
Many of the organizations and countries that suspended testing have resumed anti-doping activities in some fashion. Some countries, like Russia, resumed in-person testing over the last 6 weeks. WADA, the global anti-doping watchdog, suggested that organizations should focus on ‘higher risk’ athletes, based on those athletes in high-risk sports and sports where training is still possible and ongoing.
USADA, the American anti-doping authority, suspended most in-person testing. They instead focused on what they call “mission-critical” testing of athletes in sports still competing and for those preparing for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as piloting a Beta program for remote testing. It’s unclear how many tests USADA has conducted with these programs: while they typically publish all of their testing data, including number of tests per athlete, on their website, the organization has delayed publishing those details in a decision that they say is “in fairness to athletes and to ensure the testing process remains a viable deterrent.”
Canada has reported almost 103,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and just over 8,500 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to Worldometer. At the country’s peak in mid-April, they were reporting around 1,800 new cases per day. Over the last week, that number has been reduced to around 350 new daily cases.