Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - March 2012

Published March 13, 2012

Sportlaw LogoSport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 8(1) - March 2012

Our quarterly newsletter has brought 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. We published our last newsletter in November 2011.

This edition of our newsletter highlights additional updates about the federal Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (which affects all NSOs and MSOs) and explains why Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) should be paying attention to the changes at the national level. The provincial Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act is also on the way and British Columbia has started a review of its Societies Act. Not sure what these NFP Acts are all about? Check out 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.

Why the Federal NFP Act is important to PSOs

We have written extensively about the Federal NFP Act and it's rewarding to see that about a quarter of National Sport Organizations (NSOs) have already begun important governance reviews as part of complying with the Act.  But Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) cannot ignore what's happening with their NSO. For example, if you represent Alberta Alpine (a PSO) - and Alpine Canada Alpin (the NSO) is undergoing a governance review - then you need to be aware of possible changes that will trickle down and affect your provincial organization. Since every NSO will undergo some degree of change to comply with the Act, every PSO should be aware of changes that will affect them. Read more in our blogpost.

Financial Impacts of the NFP Act

Organizations that are also Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations (RCAAAs) will face additional challenges when they comply with the new Federal NFP Act. The Income Tax Act has been revised and RCAAAs that previously enjoyed special status as charities will now face the same disclosure and reporting rules as everyone else. Plus RCAAAs that operate commercial ventures will need to make even more changes. This may sound complex but we're written about it clearly on our website and you can contact Rachel Corbett ( if you have questions.

Screening +

Rachel Corbett reflects on Penn State, Scouts Canada, and Graham James in this blogpost. Most organizations have a screening policy or require volunteers to acquire police checks before interacting with minors. But sometimes, very rarely, a bad person can slip through. Laws, policies, screening systems, and police checks will not always protect vulnerable people from harm. People need to help too.

Harassment in Sport: What's changed since 1994?

In 1994, Rachel Corbett wrote a handbook titled 'Harassment in Sport' that was distributed to NSOs and other organizations around the country. As part of our 20th anniversary of service, we wanted to revisit that handbook and see what has changed in 'harassment in sport' since 1994. Perhaps the most compelling evolution is that Rachel recommends that organizations should no longer have a dedicated 'Harassment Policy' - this is outdated! Instead, organizations should have a comprehensive 'Member Conduct Policy' coupled with sensible discipline mechanisms. On our website, we've added a blogpost that includes the old handbook and a mock interview with Rachel where she also discusses changes in law, hazing, myths of harassment, and possible new policy trends.

Authentic Leadership - The leader you want to be

Dina Bell-Laroche (the newest True Sport Fellow!) has written a shortlist of tips for becoming an authentic leader. Authentic leadership is a form of leadership that transforms people, organizations, communities, and the world. Dina writes about the benefit of being an authentic leader in your organization and details five qualities of authentic leaders.

The Permanency of Social Media

Once we post this newsletter on our website, it will never go away. It will live somewhere, on the internet, for ever and ever. The same thing happens with your picture on Facebook, your tweets, and your blogposts. The permanency of social media could be a challenge for some organizations. What if a problem-causing member blogged something defamatory about a senior executive? Members (or future employers) googling the executive's name would be directed to that nasty blog - with no context for the situation or the commentary. The quick solution - google yourself frequently. But the long-term solutions involve proactive maintenance of your online identity. On our website, we've written about the permanency of social media. You don't need to read it right now - it will be available for you to read forever.

The Ottawa Rapidz case: Contracts that help and contracts that don't

Hilary Findlay describes the case of the Ottawa Rapidz Minor League Baseball team - and the lessons they learned about signing contracts with 'boilerplate' clauses that turned out to cause expensive problems. Organizations must be wary of signing contracts with multiple parties and be aware of how all of their contracts interrelate. Hilary's blogpost details the Ottawa Rapidz case and why organizations should take careful steps to avoid 'bad contracts'.

Tripped up by Tape

Tape on the floor of a gymnasium is intended to mark boundaries, right?  You see it all the time - badminton, volleyball, dodgeball, etc. But in this case, described by Hilary Findlay, the tape on the floor of a community centre gymnasium caused an athlete to trip, and then sue the community centre for negligence. The athlete was awarded $30,000 in damages. All because of tape on the floor!  Read more about the case on our website.

Appeals Management

It's an Olympic Year! Again! Many NSOs will be faced with very important selection decisions. Of course, selection decisions occur every year for Major Games events - but their significance is always heightened in an Olympic Year (as we wrote about back in 2008). At the Sport Law & Strategy Group, we offer appeals management services to many NSOs. We currently manage appeals on a continuing basis with Squash, CanoeKayak, Freestyle Skiing, Snowboard, Synchro, Athletics, Cycling, Volleyball, Karate, and the Canada Games - and we've assisted many other NSOs, MSOs, and PSOs on an as-needed basis. In the role of an appeals administrator we:

  • Act as an independent third party able to assist all participants in the process
  • Collect and distribute submissions from the Appellant, Respondent, and any Affected Parties
  • Help the parties understand the process and manage preliminary and procedural issues
  • Find and appoint the adjudicator or panel
  • Coordinate all aspects of the appeal including the hearing
  • Provide advice and support to the adjudicator or panel, as required
  • Do all the above in a timely, professional, and confidential fashion

Nearly every NSO has an internal appeals process that requires the services of an independent and professional neutral party - and this internal process has many benefits. NSOs that use our services for appeals management 'get it right' and decisions that we've managed are seldom taken further up the dispute resolution chain. If you have questions about your own Appeals Policy or would like to chat about our services in appeals management please feel free to contact Rachel Corbett at

Our newsletter is distributed three or four times a year.

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