Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - June 2012

Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 8(2) - June 2012

Our quarterly newsletter brings you important content in the following areas: legal updates, new legislation and case law, governance tips, risk management and values management practices, social media, communications strategies, as well as all kinds of other planning and strategic advice. Most of the material in this newsletter was posted on our website since March 2012 (when our last newsletter was published).

This edition of our newsletter features a detailed primer for National Sport Organizations (NSOs) about managing the inevitable disputes and appeals leading up to the Olympic Games in London. Other new posts have information about defamation, organizational development, and how to be a high performing sport organization. We have also posted two 'snapshots' of NSOs - voting structures and membership fees - which NSOs can use to guide some of their governance changes to comply with the federal Not-For-Profit Corporations Act. The Act still looms large over Canadian sport - check out the sections of our website:  Federal ActOntario ActBC Act.

We send our newsletter every three or four months. The content will include summaries and links to new material we post on our website - plus updates on current events and other news.  You can also join our Facebook page and get immediate updates.  If you don't want to receive the newsletter - no problem - just choose to unsubscribe at the bottom of this message.

Snapshots - Membership Fees and Voting Structures

As NSOs transition to compliance under the new federal NFP Act (read more about the Act here), governance reviews and restructuring are necessarily part of the changes that must be made. These changes raise three connected and important questions - who are our members, who votes, and who pays? We reviewed over fifty NSOs and created 'snapshots' that tell stories of best practices, common themes, unique approaches, and pitfalls to avoid. Two interesting and informative reads. Voting Structures Snapshot and Membership Fees Snapshot.

Income Tax Act and NSO Directors

New revisions to the Income Tax Act have imposed new requirements on directors of an NSO that is also a Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Association (RCAAA). For instance, a person would be ineligible to serve on the Board of the NSO if the director has been a part of a RCAAA that has had its charitable status revoked or if the person has been convicted of a financial crime. We have the relevant list of new requirements in a blogpost on our website.

Risk Management Project Continues

We are in Year 5 of the Risk Management Project - a comprehensive workshop designed in conjunction with True Sport specifically for NSOs and MSOs. We have worked with nearly two dozen organizations so far and are pleased to be working with Football Canada, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Canada Games Council, Canada Basketball, and the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association in the coming year.

Selection Disputes from Start to Finish: An Olympic Primer

There are 45 days to the Olympic Games in London, 77 days to the Paralympic Games, and many NSOs are dealing with the inevitable appeals for team selection. We've written a primer for NSOs that details how to handle these disputes quickly, fairly, and amicably. Our guide explains every part of the process including: pre-selection, the selection policy, the selection of athletes, the appeal, and what to do if the appeal succeeds. These disputes can get fairly complex - but we have experience handling them and helping sport organizations work through the process.

Becoming a High Performing Sport Organization

Our simple formula for organizational development and success: strategic management + good governance = high performing sport organization. In one blogpost, Rachel Corbett and Dina Bell-Laroche write about what how an organization can become a high performing sport organization and, in a second blogpost, Dina Bell-Laroche lists a set of nine simple key principles that can be improve organizational effectiveness.

Off-Side: Additional Penalties for Doping Infractions Struck Down

You may have read about the case of the British sprinters who suddenly became eligible for British Olympic Team despite being previously sanctioned for doping offenses. In a blogpost, Hilary Findlay explains how this happened and why sport organizations (including Canadian NSOs) cannot impose further penalties for doping infractions beyond the original sanction.

Defamation 2.0

The legal concept of Defamation continually evolves as we explore new ways to defame each other. What if you hyperlink to a website that contains defamatory remarks about someone else? Are you considered a 'publisher' or 'supporter' of the content and thus subject to defamation legislation? The Supreme Court of Canada recently set down a new ruling that addresses defamation and hyperlinks. We wrote about that new ruling on our website and explored some potential applications to sport.

Athlete Biological Passport

Hilary Findlay recently traveled to England to participate at Ithaca College's Conference on Law, Policy, and the Olympic Movement. Hilary gave an interesting talk (mentioned by the World Sports Law Report blog) about how the new Athlete Biological Passport might, in fact, be interpreted as reversing the presumption of innocence for athletes. Hilary has promised to write a blogpost soon about this interesting new development in sport law.

Policy Review and Legal Letter Writing

Recently, we have focused on organizational governance review in preparation for compliance under the new NFP Acts, but this focus does not mean we have ignored the other services that we have consistently offered for the past twenty years. We are frequently asked to review sport organizations' policies and procedures to identify possible problematic areas and to update these governing documents to meet the needs of the organization and its members. We are often asked to provide a 'policy package' - tailored policies for your organization that cover areas including your Bylaws, Discipline and Complaints, Appeals, Privacy, Conflict of Interest, Social Media, Confidentiality, and more. Let's start a discussion about your policies - Steve Indig at

Routinely, we are contacted by organizations (ranging from large National organizations to small Local clubs) who are confronted with legal missives from concerned parents, insurers, athletes, or other clubs or organizations. We are aware that smaller provincial sport organizations (PSOs) or local clubs may not have the capacity, resources, or interest to contest lengthy legal battles and we are committed to providing our legal advice in a straight-forward, comprehensive, and affordable fashion. We are accustomed to writing legal letters on behalf of NSOs, PSOs, and even some local clubs. If your organization is presented with a legal situation that seems tough to untangle please contact Steve Indig at

Recent Posts

The Expendables

Sport Law Now Offering Virtual Grief and Loss Literacy Workshop on October 13th – Spaces Limited!

Considerations when Developing a Mandatory Vaccination Policy

Sport Law Expanding Coast to Coast – Meet our Fab Five New Team Members

The Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (“ONCA”) to become law on October 19, 2021.


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