Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson appeared to have struck a resounding blow for Canadian athletic pride in September 1988, when he bested archrival American sprinter Carl Lewis to capture an Olympic gold medal and a world record on the 100-m (meter) track in Seoul, Korea. National euphoria dissolved into shock, followed by outrage, when Johnson tested positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid and a prohibited substance. Johnson was disqualified, stripped of his gold medal, and disgraced.
In the months that followed the 1988 Olympics, a conspiracy of systemic steroid usage was found to have been at the core of the training programs of Johnson and a number of state-sponsored Canadian athletes, revelations that triggered a formal inquiry. The intent was to determine how Canadian sport should be conducted in the face of widespread drug cheating in international athletics. Thus, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) was created in 1995.
While the CCES mandate is tied to the broad concept of "fair play in sport," with an interest in "the ethical conduct of all sport in Canada," it is the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Canadian athletes that has been central to the work of this agency. The CCES, as the arm of Canadian sport that is responsible for the administration of Canada's anti-doping program, has worked closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), whose headquarters is in Montreal, Canada, to promote the ethics of doping-free sport in Canada and worldwide. The CCES has conducted thousands of various doping tests in conjunction with WADA since 2000.
The advancement of the broader objectives of doping-free sport has also led the CCES to act as an informational clearinghouse on a wide range of sports ethics issues. Research and educational initiatives are a significant part of the work carried out by the CCES. The CCES is also responsible for the administration of the Sports Dispute Resolution Center of Canada (SDRCC), an arbitration mechanism available to any party to a dispute in Canadian amateur sport. Examples of the decisions made by the SDRCC include reviews of various sanctions imposed on athletes for a positive test for a banned substance, and the failure or refusal of an athlete to participate in the national out-of-competition drug-testing program.