Sharing
Insights

Moments that Matter

As a femtor, I have made a commitment to say ‘yes’ when I get asked to have a conversation with an emerging sport leader or an athlete. It’s one way that I can ‘give back' and more importantly, fulfill my deep-seeded desire to support others.…

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Virtual Meeting Roadshow: Part 2

Since the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, we have all shifted to a new virtual reality. When we posted our initial blog about hosting your AGM amidst COVID-19 and when we acquired a subscription to the Simply Voting platform to support sport organizations, the rationale was that this virtual reality would be somewhat temporary. …

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Sport Law Launches Virtual Sport Leaders Retreat for Coaches and Technical Leadership Only 10 Spots Left!

The Virtual Sport Leaders Retreat: Sport Coaches and Technical Leadership Edition was inspired by the lessons learned from the Sport Leaders Retreat – a leadership experience that was launched by Sport Law Partner Dina Bell-Laroche in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.…

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The Expendables

A few months ago, we paid homage to the great Phil Collins in our blog on generative tension which explored the natural tension that arises when two or more people work together towards a common cause. Relationships, left unattended, can quickly sour which can create all kinds of unnecessary conflict and can sometimes, more so these days, result in complaints around maltreatment.  …

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Sport Law Now Offering Virtual Grief and Loss Literacy Workshop on December 8th – Spaces Limited!

November 3, 2021 – Sport Law is excited to launch a new virtual offering to support grief and loss literacy for caring leaders in and outside of sport. The virtual workshop has been designed to create a safe and enriching learning environment for people who want to better understand the impact of unreconciled grief, how to support self and others through life transitions, explore myths related to grief and loss, and increase capacity to more skillfully accompany people who are grieving.…

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Considerations when Developing a Mandatory Vaccination Policy

As we gradually return to organized activities, many Sport Organizations are looking to update their COVID protocols for their employees, volunteers, participants, and spectators. A key issue is whether to introduce a mandatory vaccination requirement into return to play protocols as well as workplace health and safety policies.  …

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

September 29, 2021 – (Ottawa) Sport Law is committed to serving sport organizations in their desire to fulfill their mission and live their values. To support our clients in managing through turbulent times, we are delighted to announce the arrival of five new team members, whose knowledge, experience and commitment will fuel our commitment to elevate sport.…

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

Written by: John Gobin

In our continuing series of blog posts on the ONCA, this post will focus on the implementation of the Act, new amendments to the legislation, what this means for Ontario sport organizations and what they have to do, and the relevant timelines for these actions.…

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From Efforting to Activating… Reframing through the MIN-MAX Principle

I was in a conversation with a client recently and they remarked how they were exhausted all the time and were struggling to recharge their depleted batteries. I asked them what felt like a simple question … ‘what might it feel like if you just let things be for a bit?’…

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Expanding to the East Coast

By: Will Russell

I am very excited to be joining Sport Law and contributing to the continued success of the group as well as the Sport Organizations that we assist.  

Writing this post gave me the chance to contemplate the role of sport in my life. Sport has been a constant presence, at times serving as a refuge from the turbulence of childhood and opened opportunities for me that I never imagined possible.  …

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Lightening our Load

This blog is dedicated to the care professionals … the ones who go the extra mile, who put the needs of others before their own, who feel compelled to do whatever it takes to help others achieve their full potential.

Know anyone who fits this description?…

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Understanding the psychology of loss...why we must do better.

When we are bereaved, we feel ‘torn apart’. Words that often accompany our losses, both death and non-death related include ‘gutted, heartbroken, empty, dead inside, devastated, shocked.’ You won’t hear someone suffering through a loss speaking to the ‘gift of the experience’ or ‘grateful that this has happened because it’s made me a better person.’…

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Sport Law and NOVA Global Inc Strike a Partnership to Support Sport Leaders

June 30, 2021 – Sport Law is pleased to announce that seven members of our team are now certified in the use of the NOVA Profile, a psychometric tool that supports increased self-awareness, greater team synergy, and enhanced communications.  Sport Law has been integrating the NOVA Profile into many of its offerings since 2017 including the annual Sport Leaders Retreat in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), that brings sport leaders together from across the country in a 3-day learning retreat or now virtually, through our 4-month learning experience. …

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Generative Tension

It feels like Phil Collins understands a thing or two about tension. It is not widely known that arguably his best solo song, “In the Air Tonight,” was written during the grief he felt after divorcing his first wife. He shared in an interview that he wrote the lyrics spontaneously and while he can’t clearly articulate what the song is about, there’s a lot of anger, despair and frustration that reflects the anguish he was feeling at the time.  …

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Leaders as Catalysts for Meaningful Change

‘What got us here, won’t get us there.’ That seems to be the prevailing sentiment when I sit down with leaders to figure out how we are going to resolve some of the sticker issues sport is facing. It’s also true that the style of leadership that supported us during the 20th Century is not the leadership style that the next generation of employees respond to.…

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Welcome to Sport Law

Ottawa – June 2, 2021 –Getting to simple requires such hard work. After almost a year of soul searching, working with our branding partner Godzspeed, engaging our team members, and updating our website to ensure our vast library of curated content was preserved, we are deeply proud to unveil our new brand.

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Sport Law Group Now Offering Virtual Grief and Loss Literacy Workshop on June 17th – Spaces Limited!

May 26, 2021 – Sport Law is excited to launch a new virtual offering to support grief and loss literacy for coaches, athletes, sport administrators, and other caring leaders. The virtual workshop has been designed to create a safe and enriching learning environment for people who want to better understand the impact of unreconciled grief, how to support self and others through life transitions, explore myths related to grief and loss, and increase capacity to more skillfully accompany people who are grieving.…

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Sport Law Launches Sport Leaders Retreat – Virtual Edition!

Ottawa, May 18, 2021 - Sport Law is responding to the sport community’s need for leadership development training that is customized, sport specific, and supported by leading-edge human development approaches. Since 2017, the SLSG and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) have collaborated to offer the Sport Leaders Retreat, an annual 3-day leadership boot camp that has supported nearly 30 sport leaders in their leadership development.…

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Feeling Disenfranchised… You Are Not Alone

Who am I to grieve?

This question has surfaced over and over while hosting facilitated conversations with athletes, coaches, sport leaders, and others.

My response … who are you not to?

Meeting people’s question with a question often leads to frustration … but in this case, the look of relief that washes over their faces speaks a thousand words.…

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Conscious Completion

Saying goodbye is hard.

 

Have you noticed that sport leaders are really good at taking on new challenges, initiating things, and managing by objectives? I think it’s fair to say we are less effective in the art of conscious completion.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 18

March 26, 2021 The SLSG believes in bringing members of the sport community together through our monthly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Sharespending an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on governance, employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, equity, diversity and inclusion and other matters including managing through COVID-19.

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 17

February 24, 2021 –The SLSG believes in bringing members of the sport community together through our monthly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share”, spending an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, equity, diversity and inclusion and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Black History Month 2021: "The Future is Now"

By: Melissa Knox

I need to make my own t-shirt that reads, “Black History Is Every Month.”  February, the shortest month of the year.  Just when you start to gain momentum, the month is already almost over! Black History Month (BHM) first began in the U.S.…

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Mentoring, Femtoring, and Beyond

As someone who likes to explore novel ideas or find innovative ways to spark conversation within the sport sector, I am offering up this blog to describe the importance of intentionality. I believe this to be so true in many realms, but even more so when it comes to language.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips from Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share! - Update 16

The SLSG believes in bringing members of the sport community together through our monthly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share”, spending an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, equity, diversity and inclusion and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Run Therapy

Written by: Dina Bell-Laroche

As we enter into 2021, the invitation is to explore the hidden depths of our souls such as we can show up fully as compassionate, skillful and heart-centered leaders. Rather than running away from what scares us, what if we cultivated a quality of presence that had us turning towards it with curiosity and acceptance.…

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Life as Practice

Written by: Dina Bell-Laroche

As we look ahead to 2021, we might find ourselves feeling a mixture of emotions … fear, sadness, happiness, anger, disgust, or surprise – the six basic universal emotions that psychologist Paul Eckman identified back in the 1970s.…

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Letting Go of 2020 With the Snow

By: Stephanie Potter

Sport has played such a significant role in my life, and I am beyond thrilled to have joined the SLSG so that I can support sport leaders through my Integral Coaching work. As a young person growing up, sport offered me community, safety (in the form of predictable rules!),…

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Highlights from Conversation Matters – You Ask, We Share!

 The SLSG believes in bringing members of the sport community together through our monthly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share”, spending an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, equity, diversity and inclusion and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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A Grief Expressed 

In his poignant essay on the deep sadness he experienced after the death of his cherished wife Joy Davidman, author C.S. Lewis acknowledged that he was surprised to find that death felt so much like fear. It is this line that inspired me to write this blog.…

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Re-imagining Sport - The Conversation Continues

Recently, we’re been asked to join virtual AGMs, town halls, and other gatherings to stimulate discussion, challenge outdated mindsets, and open hearts to new possibilities. What started as an invitation by one CEO to join her group in a discussion around the limiting forces that are keeping her organization stuck, has morphed into an invitation to re-imagining what might be possible if the sport sector came together to explore better ways to govern.…

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Waivers: Format and Management During COVID-19 and Beyond

Paper Waivers vs. Electronic Waivers

Have we finally gone paperless on this issue? In these unprecedented times, the paper waiver is being ushered ever further out the door. Pre-pandemic, many organizations were already on the paperless route. In this blog post, we explain the role and enforceability of electronic waivers.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Highlight from Conversation Matters – You Ask, We Share!

November 3, 2020 –The SLSG believes in bringing members of the sports community together through our monthly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share”, spending an hour with sports leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, equity, diversity and inclusion and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Beyond Cultural Competence

By Dina Bell-Laroche

Over the past several decades societies have endeavored, some more than others, to challenge and address injustices including racism, inequity, and exclusionary practices, primarily through legal action and awareness-raising activities. The idea of ‘cultural competence’ enhances this work because it takes conscious action to the next level.…

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Queen’s University Selects the SLSG to Conduct Review of Athletics & Recreation Department

September 21, 2020 – The SLSG is pleased to announce that we will be working with Queen’s University’s Athletics & Recreation on a department review. This will involve auditing current policies and practices, reviewing the department’s governance and operations, engaging student-athletes, Athletic & Recreation department staff, coaches and other stakeholders through various methods, and comparing findings against expected standards and leading practices.…

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Start with Heart

In preparing for an upcoming project that focuses on leadership, current safe sport practices, and management by values, I read Scaling Leadership by R. Anderson and W. Adams. The authors have spent their life’s work developing tools that are scientifically validated and that support a more humanistic approach to managing people.…

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Conversation Matters Returns

September 9, 2020 – After an intentional pause to recharge, SLSG Partners have relaunched our monthly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” to bring insight and deepen connections with sport leaders across the country. During COVID-19, the SLSG hosted 15 weekly interactive sessions, attracting dozens of leaders from all levels of sport, to discuss latest information, legal requirements, and human factors.…

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Finding Our Way

Through our work, we have received hundreds of messages and calls from sport leaders across the country expressing their longing for a different way. This blog aims to shine a spotlight on the pain and suffering we witness when supporting sport organizations through difficult times and offers a few practical tips to create more time and space to allow for a more sustainable and meaningful future.…

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Updates from the SLSG

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) is pleased to share several updates that reflect our commitment to bringing strategic insight and exceptional services to the Canadian Sport sector since 1992.  We are delighted to announce the arrival of two new members to our team whose knowledge and skills will support the growing need by our clients for equity, diversity and inclusion expertise and for integral sport coaching to support holistic leadership development.…

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Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

I am incredibly excited to be joining the SLSG team and I look forward to connecting with so many of you in the near future.  With Fall around the corner, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on the past few months, re-energize, and prepare both mentally and physically to face September head on, mask and all.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Welcomes New Team Member

The Sport Law & Strategy Group is pleased to announce that lawyer Michelle Kropp has joined our existing team of eleven professionals located across the country working to provide exceptional sport management services to our clients.

As a former board member of a sport club and current professional advisor to various sport organizations, Michelle is familiar with the unique challenges they encounter.…

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Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution and New Beginnings

As the newest member of the SLSG, I am very excited to be joining a group of professional, dedicated, and knowledgeable sport consultants. I began my career in a full-service firm in Toronto, where I was fortunately exposed to various types of law.…

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Virtual Meeting Roadshow – What We Have Learned

Since posting our earlier blogs about hosting your AGM amidst COVID-19 and SLSG’s  Simply Voting subscription to support sport organizations, the response from the sport community for virtual meeting support has kept us on the ‘virtual’ move.  Over the past 12 weeks, we have supported more than 15 sport organizations in hosting their online meetings and there are more scheduled in the weeks and months ahead.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 12

The SLSG has been hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” spending an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group’s Integral Coaches Supporting a Healthy and Holistic Return to Sport

Throughout the pandemic, the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) has been supporting sport organizations in their Return to Sport plans by ensuring they are meeting legal and public health requirements. In response to the growing need to support leaders, coaches and athletes as they Return to Sport, the SLSG’s Integral Coaches are trained and certified to accompany people as they look to navigate some of the complexities associated with re-entry.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 10

The SLSG is cotinuing to host its weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” where we spend an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Zoomed Out? Try Something New!

In a pre-COVID-19 world, most of our clients did not know what the word ZOOM meant. Now it’s a verb as in “I’m zoomed out.” (Note: We don’t mean to pick on Zoom … we are using it here as a placeholder for any visual platform.)

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 9

The SLSG is hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” where we spend an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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SLSG Curated COVID-19 Information and Resources Available!

For more than 25 years the SLSG has been committed to providing current and relevant information to the Canadian sport community to help better manage the complexities facing sport today. COVID-19 is no exception. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the world at large and on the world of sport.…

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Strengthening Emotional Intelligence During Disruptive Times

In 2018 I became certified in using the EQ-i and the EQ 360 psychometric assessment tools that support a deepened understanding of how emotions influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, maintain relationships, and cope with challenge. As part of the certification, we were encouraged to practice with trusted clients who would be understanding and compassionate in our early attempts to master the tool.…

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Returning to Participation Under COVID-19: Updating Your Waivers and Forms

What if one of your participants exposes another participant to COVID-19? And that participant blames you?

We strongly recommend that sport organizations update their waivers and forms before permitting individuals to participate in the organization’s activities. This blogpost explains why.


BACKGROUND

The first part of this blogpost is a waiver backgrounder/primer.…

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Dynamic Planning

Strategic planning is one of the ways sport leaders can minimize uncertainty, create a galvanizing vision to rally the troops, express shared values that reflect a higher purpose, and set priorities of the most important goals the organization wants to achieve on behalf of its members and its membership.…

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Managing Your Sport Organization Through COVID-19 Updated!

As this is a rapidly changing environment, the information contained in this summary document may not be the most up to date and we have used best efforts to provide the most accurate information available at the time of writing.  Please follow the links provided to obtain the latest information.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 8

The SLSG is hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” where we spend an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Re-imagining Sport

I listened to author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek speak unedited to his team recently and he asked a powerful question: “What will we become?” This question immediately shifts energy, creating an upward spiral of positivity and possibility. It is different to some of the current energy that is being played out by those asking, “What will become of us?”

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 7

The SLSG is hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” where we spend an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Balancing Your Communications Approach During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed how we communicate. Face-to-face conversations are restricted. Conferences and annual meetings have moved to virtual spaces. Coaches and athletes are struggling to stay connected with each other.

In this uncertainty, different approaches have emerged that attempt to balance progressive attitudes to communication with the safety and privacy of individuals and minors.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 6

The SLSG is hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” where we spend an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Good Grief

As I wrote about earlier this week, helping others and expressing empathy releases the 'feel good' emotions that we need to thrive. Some of you might be wondering how talking about what scares us ... what makes us sad ... or what we have lost … helps us get to that 'feel good' state.…

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How Caring For Each Other Makes A Difference

I recently read a great opinion piece in the Globe and Mail on how altruism can help people overcome what appear to be insurmountable challenges. The author compares two different shipwrecked crews and how the one that shared food, nurtured sick members, were cooperative and caring, fared better “than those whose ethos was every man for himself.” …

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 5

The SLSG is hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” where we spend an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Maintaining Safe Sport During COVID-19

As the world continues to adjust to the “new normal” under COVID-19, sport leaders have been considering how best to encourage safe training environments for athletes and coaches. We appreciate that while sport organizations have been focusing on implementing  safe sport strategies to ensure they are meeting public and funding expectations, they are now faced with an increasingly volatile environment which may have shifted certain priorities.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 4

The SLSG is hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” where we spend an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 3

The SLSG is hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” where we spend an hour with sport leaders from across the country sharing information and responding to questions on employment, insurance, leadership, financial management, grief management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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SLSG Accesses Simply Voting Platform to Support Sport Organizations in Hosting Online Meetings

Earlier this week we blogged about the support that SLSG can provide for your meetings, as well as the latest federal and provincial updates on annual meetings. In our blog we shared that SLSG was investigating a potential subscription with the online voting platform Simply Voting, to assist sport organizations in properly conducting elections and voting on meeting motions in an electronic setting.…

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From Me to We – How Coaching With Compassion Can Shift Our Way of Being

These are uncertain times. We are faced with unprecedented complexity and a rapidly changing crisis. Some can adapt and focus on the positive. Others are barely managing. Clearly the pandemic is rocking our world. Yet amid it all, I am witnessing acts of kindness and compassion that can serve to disrupt the downward spiral of despair.…

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Hosting Your AGM Amidst COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, many organizations who have regularly hosted their annual general meeting (AGM) over the next few months now face uncertainty as to when they may do so in person. Although many sport leaders are adapting to the ban on public gatherings and utilizing technology to hold virtual and electronic meetings, there is still a great deal of uncertainty around what is considered to be a legal and constitutional AGM, and/or how to effectively host virtual AGMs and other member meetings.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19 – Update 2

Considering current world events, the SLSG is hosting weekly “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” and spent an hour sharing information and responding to questions from over 45 sport leaders on employment, employment insurance, leadership, financial management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Managing Your Sport Organization In The COVID-19 Environment

As this is a rapidly changing environment, the information contained in this summary document may not be the most up to date and we have used best efforts to provide the most accurate information available at the time of writing.  Please follow the links provided to obtain the latest information.…

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Finding Meaning Through Grief

In her beautiful poem that has been shared across the globe, Kitty O’Meara’s “And the people stayed home” has struck a chord with all those affected by COVID-19. As I reflected on the impact of her words, it felt like she was connecting to our deep desire for more time.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Shares Helpful Tips During COVID-19

Considering current world events, the SLSG moved up the launch of “Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share” and yesterday spent an hour sharing information and responding to questions from over 60 sport leaders on employment, employment insurance, leadership, financial management, and other matters related to managing through COVID-19.…

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Launch Update of Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share! Online Sessions

In light of current world events, the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) has updated the launch of Conversation Matters: You Ask, We Share! online sessions to support sport leaders during COVID-19. Our intention is to give back to the sport community that we have been serving since 1992 by sharing real time advice on what sport leaders can do to manage and lead during this world event.…

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The Gifts Of Coaching Conversations

As a caring and values-based company, the SLSG has been working alongside its sport community partners over the past several weeks to minimize risks related to postponing, cancelling or continuing with business activities. We empathize with administrators, volunteers, coaches and athletes who have had to cancel events.…

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Managing Risk Through Purposeful Communications

We recently published a blog on what organizations can do to mitigate travel related risks. As more and more events are being cancelled, we offer these words to help support sport leaders in making informed and science-based decisions that align with your mission and values.…

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Preparing for COVID-19 & Assessing Your Travel Risks

The impact of COVID-19 on sport is becoming increasingly worrisome and it has become THE story in 2020. Multiple world championship and Olympic qualification events, such as the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament, the Alpine Ski World Cup Finals, and the Women’s World Hockey Championships in Nova Scotia, have already been canceled or postponed and more will likely be announced soon.…

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Demystifying Integral Coaching™

Since 2014, the SLSG has been providing Integral Coaching™  services to a growing number of clients. This blog serves to demystify the services we provide and to educate the sport community on some of the exciting ways the SLSG is supporting our clients in their leadership development.…

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Sport Law and Strategy Group Offers Free Interactive Online Sessions for Sport Leaders

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) believes in giving back to the sport community that we have been serving since 1992. Last year we launched a survey among our clients to find out what you needed more of and we are proud to share that we are listening.…

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Conversations Matter

Increasingly we are looking at proactive approaches to help our clients prevent the issues that are keeping them up at night. One of the simplest ways to minimize interpersonal tensions is to be intentional about the conversations we are having, or not having, with each other.…

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Recruiting The Best Takes Effort

We are increasingly being asked for help to identify, vet, and select prospective employees, vendors and higher-level volunteers (like nominees for a Board of Directors) through a request-for-proposal (“RFP”) process and/or by other recruitment efforts. This blog is about sharing some of our practices so that sport leaders can benefit from our experience.…

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Travel Policy Suite for Managing Risks at Home and Abroad

Last year I blogged about the importance of preparing for team travel risks when travelling outside of Canada for competitions and training camps. I also co-hosted a webinar on this topic with my colleague Dina Bell-Laroche. When we polled participating sport leaders on the webinar to indicate their level of effectiveness in planning for team travel risks, 83% of participants felt that they were somewhat effective and still had room to improve, while 17% shared that they were not effective at all.…

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State of Flow - Fueling Meaningful Work

As we look back on the last decade, I can’t help but recognize the significant shifts in the sport sector. As someone who has been working, volunteering, and consulting in sport since 1991, I have also noticed that leaders are more depleted and overwhelmed than ever.…

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Two Sport Leaders Retreats Announced for 2020!

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) are proud to collaborate on the annual Sport Leaders Retreat, an innovative leadership development program to support sport leaders from across the country, and across all sports, to lead with values.…

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Finishing Strong

It struck me recently that we are masterful at initiating things as sport leaders, athletes, and coaches. We are forever looking to climb the next mountain and even as we reach our peak, we are already seeking the thrill of what’s next.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Offers Sport Leaders Two Opportunities for Growth

Parliamentary Workshop for Sport Leaders - Monday, January 20th from 9am-4pm at the House of Sport

After delivering their most recent webinar on Managing Meeting Challenges and Demystifying Parliamentary Procedure, Kathy Hare and Jason Robinson are bringing their expertise as certified Parliamentarians to Ottawa by offering a Parliamentary Workshop for Sport Leaders.…

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Stewarding Conflict - Part 2

A few weeks ago, I published Part 1 of Stewarding Conflict to explain different ways that people hold conflict. Our lawyers at SLSG are experienced at addressing conflict through the 'legal' lens by using policies and formal and informal dispute resolution techniques.…

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Another successful Sport Leaders Retreat!

Dina Bell-Laroche facilitated a 3 day Sport Leaders Retreat with 10 sport stewards from across the country and from 10 different sport. Together, they discovered new ways to lead from a place of values, vulnerability, and compassion. They learned about the NOVA Profile and how the tool can generate transformative results through shared language.…

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Stewarding Conflict - Part 1

This blog is about working through conflict in a deliberate and purposeful way. The word conflict derives from the Latin word conflictus which means to ‘strike together’. This ‘striking together’ has had me thinking differently about one of the most frequent reasons people call the SLSG.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Is Expanding

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) is a team of 11 professionals working exclusively in the Canadian sport sector helping sport organizations be the best they can be! Since 1992, we have served as a one stop shop for organizations, providing a full range of sport management services and solutions to hundreds of sport organizations from coast to coast and across all levels of sport.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group 'Walks' Its Values

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) is inviting sport leaders from across the country to take a few minutes to let us know what you think through our SLSG Client Feedback Survey. We believe in putting our values into action by inviting sport leaders to share their thoughts on what we can do to improve and empower organizations to create safe and thriving sport environments across Canada.…

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Rising Up

Last weekend I hosted the first Leading with Values Retreat for female leaders in partnership with Sport PEI. Their executive director Gemma Koughan had attended the Sport Leaders Retreat last November and was so inspired that she decided to collaborate with the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) to offer a leadership experience for females in her province.…

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Liberated

As I begin my new chapter with the Sport Law and Strategy Group (SLSG) as a leadership coach and consultant, I am reflecting on my time in sport.  So much of who I am today I attribute to my experiences as a competitive rhythmic gymnast and later as a national team coach.…

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SLSG Announces New Associate - Lauren Brett

The Sport Law & Strategy Group is pleased to announce that former national team rhythmic gymnast and national team coach Lauren Brett, has joined our team as an Associate. Lauren is a professionally certified coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and has led one of Canada’s most successful performing arts colleges for almost two decades.…

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Taking Coaches To The Next Level - What I Learned From Coaching the Coaches

Earlier this year I completed an eight-month coaching journey that completely transformed my coaching practice. As an Integral Master CoachTM, I have been longing to support sport leaders in their leadership development journeys and have been working since 2014 to offer an exciting menu of personal growth experiences including offering the Nova Profile, hosting the Enneagram workshop, partnering with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport in offering the Sport Leaders Retreat, and so much more.…

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New Certified Parliamentarian With The Sport Law & Strategy Group

The Sport Law & Strategy Group is pleased to announce that one of our associates, Jason Robinson, has successfully passed the exam to become a Certified Parliamentarian with the American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP).  The AIP is a not-for-profit educational organization founded in 1958 for the advancement of parliamentary procedure.…

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Lessons From The Mat - A Commitment By Wrestling Canada To Shape A World-Leading Culture

As part of its commitment to create a high performing, safe and respectful environment for high performance athletes and coaches, Wrestling Canada (WCL) was inspired to look beyond the compliance requirements to map out an innovative way forward that reflected its core values of respect, excellence, integrity and passion.…

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Inspired Governance - A Way Forward For Sport Leaders

I have been writing about governance gremlins and outdated sport systems over the past year and my hope with this blog is to share some of the highlights from an inspiring conversation with the CEO of the National Golf Owners Association Canada (NGCOA) Jeff Calderwood.…

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Governance Gremlins Threaten Sport's Ability To Thrive

Over the past 27 years, the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) has written hundreds of articles on topics related to the law, planning, leadership, and governance. Some of our articles have pushed boundaries and buttons. Our intention is always to serve in the best interest of the sport community.

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The Risk Of Not Reconciling Grief - A Different Way For Sport Leaders To Integrate Loss

This blog was written to share what I’ve come to learn about grieving (internal response to loss) and mourning (shared experience of loss or grief gone public) . I’m currently travelling towards Canmore, Alberta to facilitate a workshop on risk management and I’ve always found something powerfully healing about the mountain air; it offers me a fresh perspective on topics that have me weighted down and almost always renews my hope for what might be possible.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Advises Whitecaps FC on Safe Sport Practices

The Whitecaps FC announced today that the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) has been retained as the independent third party to conduct a thorough review of the Club’s current and past safe sport policies and procedures, and its management of those policies, to ensure the Club can learn from leading practices to best manage its national, provincial and local programs.…

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A Journey To Safe And Thriving Sport

By LJ Bartle and Tia Wintre

Two years ago, we made one of those big life decisions to leave an organization we both cared about deeply.  As leaders of HIGH FIVE, a national quality standard for sport and recreation, we both felt pulled to work differently, while still trying to make a difference in a sector we both loved.…

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Into The Deep - Accessing the 5th Dimension

Of late, I have been reflecting on the state of sport and our collective desire to ensure it supports a holistic, healthy and safe experience for participants. As a result, I have found myself gravitating to podcasts, literature and essays that are expanding my worldview and having me question … well pretty much everything.…

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Trust - The One Thing That Makes Anything Possible

Given the current landscape of sport, we have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the topic of trust. Without a doubt, trust is one of the most essential ingredients in the nurturing of healthy relationships. Without trust, processes and relationships take much longer to manage, and the costs to our time, energy and bank account all rise.…

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How An Ancient Greek Promise Could Unite Coaches

In the wake of a public dialogue on abuse in sport, I was reminded of the Latin phrase “primum nil nocere” which means “first, to do no harm” or the principle of non-maleficence. The Hippocratic Oath, named after the father of medicine in Western culture, is an ancient tribute to the Greek Gods that requires a new physician to swear, before the healing gods, to uphold specific ethical standards.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Offering E-Book on Managing Complaints

Never has it been more important for sport leaders to understand the management of complaints. Having recently launched its Sport Management Series 2.0 to support sport leaders in accessing relevant and timely information on a range of sport management topics, the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) is pleased to offer So you’ve still got a complaint e-book outlining leading practices in navigating the complaint management process from start to finish.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Partners with Spirit North

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) is proud to announce that it is continuing its commitment to give back to the sport community by offering pro-bono consulting services to Spirit North, an organization committed to improving the health and well-being of Indigenous children and youth through the transformative power of sport and play.…

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Investing in Leaders is Smart Risk Management Strategy

In SIRC's recent blog, Investing in Leaders is Smart Risk Management Strategy, Sport Leaders Retreat facilitator and the Sport Law and Strategy Group's (SLSG) Partner Dina Bell-Laroche shares her insight from previous participants about their experiences at the Sport Leaders Retreat.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group launches Sport Management Series 2.0!

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) is pleased to announce the launching of its Sport Management Series 2.0 which is now available via e-book on the SLSG Website. We are featuring one of our most popular books from SLSG Partner, Dina Bell-Laroche, whose book on Managing by Values ‘Values in Action: igniting passion and purpose in sport organizations” is more relevant today than ever-before.…

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Ontario Legislative Updates in 2019 (plus new PIPEDA reporting obligations)

In this blogpost we overview five pieces of new or upcoming Ontario legislation and discuss how they may impact your sport organization. There are also important new reporting obligations under the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”), which is federal legislation, and those obligations are highlighted at the end of the post.…

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Our 2019 Wish List for Safe, Respectful and Thriving Sport Environments

Since 2007, I have had the privilege to facilitate enterprise risk management workshops (ERM) with 56 National, Multi-Sport, Provincial/Territorial and Community Sport Organizations. In collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and funded by Sport Canada, the findings from a comprehensive evaluation conducted through an academic partnership with the Centre for Sport Capacity at Brock University have proven that risk management can strengthen the effectiveness of decision-making among individuals, their organization, and the sport system at large.…

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Values-in-Action: What Sport Leaders Are Saying

We are pleased to provide  Values-in-Action: Igniting Passion and Purpose in Sport Organizations in an e-book format so that more sport leaders can benefit from the valuable and practical insights and tools provided by long-time sport consultant Dina Bell-Laroche. Here is what some readers have to say about the book:

Karri Dawson, Executive Director of the True Sport Foundation shares:

“It is so great to see the launch of the Sport Management Series 2.0 and having the SLSG make their knowledge accessible to more sport leaders.

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2019 Sport Leaders Retreat - Register before Feb 15, 2019 to secure your spot!

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) are offering the Sport Leaders Retreat to help sport leaders from provincial/territorial, national and multi-sport organizations enhance their leadership skills. The retreat includes the Nova Profile personality assessment, two coaching conversations, and a 2.5-day retreat. …

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Hosting Purposeful Meetings

As an Integral Master Coach(TM), I am required to engage in meaningful practices to continuously hone my capacity to be in service of others. An additional benefit is that I am part of a generous community of world-leading coaches who are committed to sharing – it’s a gift that keeps on giving.…

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Evolving Challenges with Police Record Checks

We last wrote about Criminal Record Checks – a Discussion for Every Sport Organization in January 2016 and its time to update our knowledge in this area. This blogpost will review the new Ontario Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015, discuss some national best practices with regard to criminal record checks in different jurisdictions, and address whether minors can be asked to obtain a criminal record check.…

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Ensuring Fit: Tips to Create High-Trust Relationships with Service Providers

At the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG), one of our core values is professional integrity – acting fairly, ethically and with compassion. One way of ensuring that a high-trust relationship with clients is maintained is to ensure there is shared understanding of deliverables, costs, and timelines.…

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How Learning From Others Can Help to Ensure Safer Sport Practices

Over the past year, I’ve worked with several organizations on the topic of safety – helping them manage through crisis and supporting them through the healing process. Through my work, I discovered that the performing arts are turning to intimacy coaches for support.…

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The Sport Law & Strategy Group welcomes two new Associates

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) is pleased to announce that LJ Bartle and Tia Wintre, two experts in the areas of quality assurance, healthy human development, and community sport, have joined our team as Associates. The SLSG team now consists of eight Associates and two Partners who are all dedicated to providing exceptional bilingual sport management services to our clients.…

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Engaging Athletes – the value of involving your most underrated stakeholder

By Tia Wintre and LJ Bartle

In life, people want to shape their experiences and feel empowered to be part of the decision-making process. It makes people happy to feel connected, appreciated and valued - leading to a healthier way of being.…

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Auditing the Auditors

Over the past number of months, I have been working with several clients to realign their financial management systems, bring their daily financial management in-house, and conduct exhaustive reviews of their financial data.  It has been an interesting and challenging time to say the least.…

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Preparing Your Sport Organization for Legal Cannabis

With cannabis becoming legal on October 17th, many sport organizations have been asking themselves the following questions:

  • What do we have to know?
  • Is it the same for every province/territory?
  • What about medicinal marijuana?
  • Is marijuana use considered ‘doping’?
  • Do we need a “weed policy”?
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Aligning our sport system – A not so radical idea!

I have written numerous blogs on methods to advance the governance and leadership of Canadian sport. I, along with my colleagues at the Sport Law & Strategy Group, host hundreds of workshops, presentations, and webinars in boardrooms across the country and we feel privileged to do so.…

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International Team Travel and Preparing for Risks Across Borders

The number of travel policy related requests and questions has increased at the SLSG in recent months, and the importance of preparing for international team travel feels greater than ever.  Canadian sport organizations want to know how they can mitigate their risk for teams or delegations that are travelling outside of Canada for events and training camps.…

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Dina Bell-Laroche to host 'Women on Boards' feature webinar for CAAWS

Dina Bell-Laroche will host a feature webinar for CAAWS on October 31st at noon.

The webinar is titled 'Directing Change: Towards Gender Equitable Sport Boards' and includes content from the new CAAWS resource 'Guide to Creating Gender Equitable Boards', which was authored by Dina.…

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Making better decisions – Why having multiple perspectives reduces risks

My partner (and friend) Steve Indig is an avid basketball fan and sent me the link to the Silver Memo, which highlights the NBA Commissioner’s recent direction to "strongly" encourage all 30 teams to increase the number of women in their organizations, including in leadership roles.…

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Sport Disputes After #MeToo: Now What?

A problematic issue has emerged in some sport dispute cases in the #metoo aftermath. We are sharing this blogpost to remind sport leaders that every individual’s fundamental legal rights must be protected and that sport organizations must respect their legal duties and obligations.…

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SLSG and CCES to host Sport Leaders Retreat

The Sport Law & Strategy Group and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) are again offering a Sport Leaders Retreat to help sport executives from provincial, national and multi-sport organizations enhance their leadership skills. The program includes a Nova Profile personality assessment, two coaching conversations, and a two-day retreat that runs November 27-29 at a retreat-style venue in the Ottawa area.…

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National Training Centres: The Single vs. Multi Centre Challenge

I recently completed a project for Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) related to their existing National Training Centres (NTC) and the development of a long-term NTC strategy. The executive summary report from the project can be found here. The project included interviews with high performance funding partner Own The Podium (OTP) as well as eight National Sport Organizations (NSOs). …

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Transforming and Elevating the Consciousness of Humanity through Sport

There comes a time in your life when you are faced with a moral dilemma. In those moments, you might question your purpose; asking yourself “Why am I here? No really, why am I here?” Over my 26 years of working in, and on behalf of the sport sector, I have increasingly become more thoughtful as I question my own purpose and contribution to a sector we all feel passionate about.…

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Does a Commissioner’s Office make sense for your sport organization?

Dispute resolution and abuse in sport are intersecting issues that can be addressed by policies (the current approach) or by an independent dispute resolution officer (an exciting new approach).

The new “Commissioner’s Office” may be a good fit for your sport organization.…

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The Sport Law & Strategy Group Joins the House of Sport

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) has recently joined the House of Sport to better connect with and serve members of Canada’s sport community. The Sport Law & Strategy Group has been providing consulting services for the past 25 years to hundreds of Canadian national, provincial and community sport organizations and is thrilled to be working alongside sport leaders for the first time in its history.…

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Adam Klevinas Joins the SLSG as an Associate

The Sport Law & Strategy Group is pleased to announce that lawyer Adam Klevinas has joined our team as an associate. Adam, a former national team paddler, was a widely respected lawyer with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), serving as one of the organization’s in-house legal counsels on a variety of anti-doping matters for nearly four years.…

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Doing Law Differently, In the Best Interest of Sport

When I won my first case as a lawyer, I remember proudly announcing it to my then Director General. He immediately shot back with a question that would forever change my approach to law.

He asked: “Was justice done?”

Since I was expecting at least some form of congratulations, I looked at him with a bit of surprise, unable to respond.…

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Emotional Intelligence – The secret ingredient to a fulfilling life

A few years back I wrote about emotional intelligence (EI) in the context of leadership and shared ways that sport leaders can enhance their EI.

My interest in EI has continued to grow over the past few years as I expand my integral coaching practice and support clients who are keen to grow and expand their leadership capacity.…

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Rowan’s Law – Concussion Legislation Update

*This post was revised and updated on June 13th, 2018

The Ontario government recently passed ‘Rowan’s Law’, which is concussion management legislation that will affect every sport organization in Ontario. Importantly, however, although the law has received royal assent and one section has been proclaimed, the regulations have not yet been passed.…

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SLSG Team Updates

The SLSG believes that consistent, ongoing professional development can help us better serve the needs of our clients. To that end, we wanted to share our efforts over the past year that we hope will be helpful to you.

Dina Bell-Laroche (DBL@sportlaw.ca)…

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So you’ve got a Crisis, now what?

Increasingly I’ve been tempted to answer my phone with “You’ve got a crisis, how can I help?” As a result of helping sport organizations better manage the “things that are keeping you up at night” through the Risk Management Project we’ve been partnering on with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport for over a decade, I’ve written this blog to share what I’ve come to know about managing crisis proactively.…

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Once again Canada takes home more medals than any other country

Once again, we are pleased to share our analysis of the Medals Index for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. We know Canada won a record 29 medals, coming 3rd in total medals behind Norway (with 39) and Germany (with 31) and ahead of USA (with 23) and Netherlands (with 20).…

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Updates to Ontario Employment Standards: Impact for Sport Organizations

The increase to the Ontario minimum wage was not the only important employment-related change that has recently come into effect. Improved worker protections, changes to employment standards, and mandatory employee benefits also became law. Every sport organization with employees in Ontario will need to review their human resources policies and potentially make changes to their employment agreements in order to comply with the changes to the legislation.…

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SLSG Professional Development Workshop for Sport Leaders - March 6th

The SLSG is hosting a special professional development workshop for sport leaders on March 6th from 9am to 4pm in Toronto.

The workshop is geared toward PSO Executive Directors, Senior Management, and Board Members.

Led by SLSG partners Steve Indig and Dina Bell-Laroche, the workshop will overview governance issues, legal hot topics, how to manage harassment complaints, cultural transformation, and so much more.…

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ONCA Update – What’s New for Ontario Sport Organizations

The Ontario Not-for-profit Corporations Act (“ONCA”) has been stuck in legislative limbo since 2010 – but there have been recent developments that affect every Ontario not-for-profit corporation.

In November 2017 the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017 was passed by the Ontario legislature.…

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The Importance of Cybersecurity

Dom Chorafakis is the founder and principal technical consultant with Akouto, a cyber security consulting firm. Dom is actively engaged in cybersecurity research and development and has written this blog about how organizations can protect themselves from cyber attacks. Dom and I are co-presenting a webinar on cybersecurity on January 24th titled “Don’t Get Hacked and Stay Cyber Safe”.

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Is sport content with the glacial pace of change when it comes to diversity on Boards?

My business partner and good friend Steve Indig and I have been dreaming big these days. Fresh off a 25th anniversary which helped us launch a new website, welcome a new associate, and host a gathering in Ottawa to thank our National clients for their trust and business, we met recently to discuss the next big thing.…

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Automotive Insurance and Sport Organizations: Why You Need to be Informed

Tyler Matthews was a recent student of mine at Brock University. He completed a Bachelor of Sport Management (Honours) at Brock University and his sport management studies have inspired him to consider pursuing a law degree. To that end, he recently completed an internship with the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada. 

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Audit time is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Whether your organization’s year-end is December 31, March 31, or some other time during the year, the annual audit is always a source of stress for organizations. It’s that time of the year when your organization is put under a microscope and tested to ensure its financial affairs are in order.…

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Behind the Scenes at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

I recently had the pleasure of joining the leadership team for the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) at its Forward Command Centre prior to the event as well as during the race. The marathon, organized by the Canada Running Series, is Canada’s second largest marathon, host to approximately 25,000 runners and 50,000 spectators annually and it features a 42km marathon, 21km half-marathon, and a 5km run.…

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SLSG Celebrates Milestone 25th Year of Service to the Canadian Sport Community

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) celebrates its 25th anniversary this week and we would like to thank all of our clients, partners, friends, families and associates who have contributed to this important milestone.

Since 1992, the SLSG (formerly known as the Centre for Sport and Law) has provided consulting services to the broad Canadian sport community – local clubs, regional associations, and provincial/territorial and national sport organizations – and we can count over 800 different sport groups as clients over the past twenty-five years.…

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Happy 25th Anniversary and Farewell

This blog is about two big milestones for me – one to happen in a matter of days and one to happen in about six months. The first milestone is the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the little consulting partnership that Hilary Findlay and I started in 1992 (our incorporation papers are dated November 25, 1992 to be precise), and the second is my retirement from professional life, as I have known it.…

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Soul and Strategy – Both required to propel organizations to new heights

This weekend I achieved a personal milestone in spending time with the compassionate and dedicated members of Synchro BC. We weren’t there to do strategic planning, risk management or communications, which have been the bread and butter stuff that I’ve focused on over the past decade.…

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Rosanna Tomiuk Joins the SLSG as an Associate

We are pleased to announce that former national team water polo player and certified International Coach Federation (ICF) bilingual coach Rosanna Tomiuk has joined our team as an Associate. Rosanna has an impressive leadership development and coaching background that will respond to the growing needs of National and Multi-Sport Organizations interested in strengthening individual self-awareness, enhancing group dynamics and fostering high performance organizational cultures.…

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The Power of Self-Awareness

I took my first psychometric assessment when I was 19. A psychometric assessment measures psychological characteristics such as personality traits, behavioural styles, cognitive abilities, or motivations. I was excited to learn more about myself and how I could work better with others.…

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Emergency Preparedness Planning & Lessons from Recent Natural Disasters: Part 2

This is the second of a two-part blog. Read part one here.

I recently participated in several excellent webinars on the topic of emergency planning, including how the Calgary non-profit sector responded to the southern Alberta floods in 2013, and how the telecommunications company TELUS responded to the same event as well as the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016.…

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Emergency Preparedness Planning & Lessons from Recent Natural Disasters: Part 1

This is the first of a two-part blog. Read part two here.

Earlier this year I hosted a webinar on emergency preparedness planning for events and this topic continues to be a hot-button issue for sport leaders. We are working with several clients on event-specific risk management projects and as we head into the summer sport off-season (wait, there's an off-season?)…

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Calling all Sport Executives to Hone their Leadership Skills

Sport Leaders Program November 29 – December 1, 2017

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, the Sport Law & Strategy Group and Coaching for Excellence have launched a new initiative to help support sport executives looking to enhance their leadership skills through the offering of the Sport Leaders Program. 

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Join soccer legend Christine Sinclair and her iS4 partners to learn more about how they turned their failures into Olympic successes

The Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) is proud to partner with iS4 soccer legends, to host its next webinar on August 30 from 11:45 AM until 1:00 PM EST, titled Unstoppable: Turning failure into Olympic medals. The webinar is another way for the SLSG to showcase its support of iS4, a company launched in 2016 by former and current Canadian National Soccer team athletes Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson, Rhian Wilkinson and Karina LeBlanc.…

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Free Management-by-Values Workshop for Selected Organizations

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) is inviting expressions of interest from sport leaders who want to participate in a Management by Values workshop on building advanced ethical decision-making skills.

The workshop is open to Canadian sport organizations leaders who have completed the two-day “Introduction to Risk Management Workshop”.…

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Sport Organizations can access the Canada-Ontario Job Grant

Sport organizations located in Ontario can access thousands of dollars in funding to train and enhance the skills of their employees – and we can help! The Canada-Ontario Job Grant “provides an opportunity for employers to invest in their workforce, with help from the government”[1].…

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Leader! Know thyself

I recently became certified in the use of a psychometric self-awareness tool that I believe can have a profound impact on the development of sport leaders. The NOVA Profile is a comprehensive instrument that provides information about behaviours, skills, different psychological characteristics, and personal motivations.…

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What is a Parliamentarian and why sport organizations need one

Recently I completed a course on parliamentary procedure with the University of Wisconsin and proudly updated my LinkedIn profile to announce my status as a newly minted Parliamentarian and member of the National Association of Parliamentarians. Since then, I have had a number of people comment my LinkedIn post with quizzical expressions asking “So, just what is a Parliamentarian?”…

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Financial Literacy – What is it and Who needs it?

In sport, we often talk about physical literacy as “the mastering of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to read their environment and make appropriate decisions, allowing them to move confidently and with control in a wide range of physical activity situations”.…

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Applications being accepted for Risk Management Workshops

The CCES has announced that applications are being accepted for the next round of Risk Management Workshops for NSOs and MSOs. Expressions of interest are due April 21st.

About the Risk Management Project: Since 2007, the SLSG and Brock University have hosted risk management workshops with over 50 national, provincial and community sport organizations.…

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SLSG supports PSOs applying for the Ontario Amateur Sport Fund

On March 13, 2017, the Ontario government announced a new multiyear funding program to support recognized provincial sport organizations to develop and deliver programs aligned with the priorities of the province’s GAME ON Sport Plan.  The Ontario Amateur Sport Fund.…

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SLSG and Risk Management Project featured in SIRCuit

The newest edition of SIRCuit, published by the Sport Information Resource Centre, focused on Leadership. The e-publication contains a great article on the CCES Risk Management Workshops for national sport organizations that are being led by Dina Bell-Laroche and SLSG.…

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Cyber-attacks: The new risk on the block

A person would have to be on a deserted island to not be aware of the increasingly frequent occurrence of cyber-attacks in the world of politics and business. Whether it is Russians hacking into American elections and the World Anti-Doing Agency, activists disclosing secrets of the Central Intelligence Agency through Wiki-leaks, or internet-based businesses like Yahoo and Amazon experiencing the theft of millions of customer records – cyber risk is now very real.…

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What We're Watching in 2017

This blogpost is our annual ‘what to watch’ post where we review the important topics and issues we will be paying attention to in the coming year. We write a similar post ever year (2016, 2015) and earlier this month we hosted a free webinar on the subject.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - February 2017

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 13(1) - February 2017

This edition of our newsletter features posts about managing risks, transgender issues in sport, harassment, leadership, the BC Societies Act, the new Sport Recognition Policy in Ontario, and more. We're also presenting our annual 'What to Watch' webinar, at no charge, next week on February 8th.…

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Harassment in Sport – Eradicating Harassment in Your Sport Organization

In 2016, the SLSG partnered with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), and the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) to write a three-part Harassment in Sport blog series.…

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An Update on Transgender Issues in Sport

I have written in this space previously about the issue of gender and sport (2012, 2010, 2006), and given developments over the last year or so, I felt it was a good time to provide an update to our readers.…

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BC Societies Act – Practical Guidance for Transition

By now, most BC societies have received formal notice from BC Registry Services that the new BC Societies Act will come into force on November 28th, 2016 – less than two weeks. This blogpost will provide you with some practical guidance for transition.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group proudly supports the launch of iS4

The Sport Law & Strategy Group ("SLSG") is proud to support the launch of iS4, a new company formed by former and current Canadian National Soccer team athletes Christine Sinclair, Diana Matheson, Rhian Wilkinson and Karina LeBlanc that has a mission to empower youth and executives to dream big and strive high.…

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Managing Risks Makes Good Business Sense

Risk management has made front line news again over the past few weeks. Beyond politics and ethical considerations of medically assisted deaths to the striking of a Risk Management Committee by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in the wake of three deaths, both not-for-profit and for-profit businesses are noting the importance of upping their risk management game.…

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Avoid sticking your head in the sand … deal with human resource problems proactively

I read with interest an article in the Ottawa Citizen about the rising number of public service executives who are seeking counselling to deal with a wide range of issues including career management, difficult relationships with bosses, harassment, health concerns, retirement, performance management, legal advice and dismissals.  …

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Getting the most out of your insurance programs

In recent risk management workshops with National Sport Organizations (NSOs) as part of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport’s Risk Management Program that I have been facilitating over the past 9 years with over 50 sport organizations, I have noted that “the risk that our insurance program is not adequately providing the coverage we need” is consistently being noted as a very high risk among participants.…

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Game ON: Ontario’s New Sport Recognition Policy - 25-Point Checklist for PSOs

In our previous post about Game ON, we discussed the policies that Ontario Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) will need to have in order to be formally recognized by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Now that the Sport Recognition Policy has been finalized and released, we have a better idea of what PSOs will require.…

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Increasing Leadership Opportunities for Women

Increasingly I’m inspired to think of choices when tackling both every day and complex problems by approaching them as ‘and/with’ problems instead ‘either/or’. This connected duality had me thinking about the role of men and women in sport and how the sector would benefit if we approached it under much the same approach.…

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PSO Risk Management Workshops

Since 2007 the Sport Law & Strategy Group (SLSG) has partnered with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport to deliver the Risk Management Project, a series of risk assessment workshops for National and Multi-Sport organizations. These two-day workshops have enabled more than forty NSO’s and MSO’s to not only meet their sport support criteria (a corporate risk management plan is required by Sport Canada for base funding), but also to elevate their performance, achieve their objectives, and manage risk more effectively.…

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Game ON: What proposed updates to Ontario’s Sport Recognition Policy could mean for your Organization

One of the legacies of Toronto hosting the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games has been a renewed focus on sport in Ontario and the creation of Game ON: The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan.

Game ON represents the first major coordinated sport action plan in Ontario.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - April 2016

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 12(1) - April 2016

This edition of our newsletter features posts about Criminal Records Checks, our Harassment in Sport blog series, what we're watching in 2016, our upcoming webinars, PSO risk management workshops, and more.…

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The Silence of Our Friends

By Rachel Corbett.

I have been very impressed by the Harassment in Sport blog series presented by the Coaching Association of Canada, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity and the Sport Law & Strategy Group.…

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Harassment in Sport Blog Series - Blog Three: Looking Ahead

Our intention for this four-part blog series on harassment in sport is to review the past, assess where we are, and chart a course forward that addresses harassment both on and off the field of play. Recent major events in Canadian society – from inappropriate behaviour by Members of Parliament to shocking claims against the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi to Marcel Aubut and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) – have shown us that harassment is not only a field of play issue – it also still exists in our offices and boardrooms.…

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Governing Documents: Separating Constitution, Bylaws, Policies, and Rules

Recently, organizations in Ontario and BC have been asking us about transitioning to compliance with the upcoming Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) and the new BC Societies Act. For many organizations (especially local clubs) this is the first time in many years that their governing documents have come under such scrutiny.…

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What We’re Watching in 2016

This blogpost will review the topics and issues that we will be paying attention to in the upcoming year. We write a similar post every year (2015, 2014) and this year we even hosted a free webinar on the subject (attended by representatives from sport organizations across the country).…

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Resilience + Reach - Global Online Coaching Summit

We are proud that SLSG Partner Dina Bell-Laroche is one of the featured speakers on Resilience + Reach, a Global Online Coaching Summit that runs from Feb 25-29, 2016.

Join Dina and 29 of her fellow Integral Master Coaches™ in tackling a variety of themes and topics around what it takes to dynamically respond to this world we’re in.…

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Respectful work cultures – what sport organizations need to know about creating productive environments for staff and volunteers

On my way to Yellowknife, I printed off a dozen articles from the Non Profit Risk Management Center, a great source of risk management advice for those of us who like that kind of stuff! I absolutely love their monthly series and the vast amount of tools and programs they offer to their clients.…

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Harassment in Sport Blog Series - Blog Two: Current State

Our intention for this four-part blog series on harassment in sport is to review the past, assess where we are, and chart a course forward that addresses harassment both on and off the field of play. Recent major events in Canadian society – from inappropriate behaviour by Members of Parliament to shocking claims against the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi to Marcel Aubut and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) – have shown us that harassment is not only a field of play issue – it also still exists in our offices and boardrooms.…

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Criminal Record Checks – A Discussion For Every Sport Organization

Are Criminal Record Checks (CRCs) really necessary? Since they take time and effort for a volunteer to obtain, and they cost money, this is often the preliminary question that sport organizations discuss. Follow-up questions in the discussion are even more complex.…

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Harassment in Sport Blog Series - Blog One: Looking Back

Our intention for this four-part blog series on harassment in sport is to review the past, assess where we are, and chart a course forward that addresses harassment both on and off the field of play. Recent major events in Canadian society – from inappropriate behaviour by Members of Parliament to shocking claims against the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi to Marcel Aubut and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) – have shown us that harassment is not only a field of play issue – it also still exists in our offices and boardrooms.…

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BC Societies Act to come into force in November 2016!

Big news for BC sports organizations! The new not-for-profit corporations act – the BC Societies Act – has been announced to come into force on November 28th, 2016. Every BC-based sport organization currently incorporated under the BC Society Act will be required to transition in order to comply with the new Act within two years of that date.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - October 2015

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 11(2) - October 2015

This edition of our newsletter features news about the new BC Societies Act, updates to important Ontario legislation, recommendations for organizations that are considering an HR review, improving personal development, how to develop a sponsorship package, and more.…

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Sport Events & Risk Management – More Than Just a Broken Arm

Hosting a successful sport event involves many factors, some of which involve taking risks or exposing your organization to potential risks. Minimizing risk during the hosting of your events helps to avoid possible injuries, legal consequences, and a negative participant experience.…

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Manage your Risks by Managing by Values

Risk management is a concept that more and more sport leaders are embracing. In part, this shift towards proactive, integrated and system-wide management of risks is due to the changing expectations of members and the requirement of funders to have more evidence of good business practice.…

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Emotionally intelligent leaders - ways to unleash your organization’s full leadership potential

I was reading a great article in the December 2001 edition of the Harvard Business Review on leadership that is worth sharing. Written by Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee, the article discussed their research on primal leadership as being the hidden driver of great performance.…

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Compliance Issues for 2015 - Ontario Employers Take Note!

There have been several recent changes in Ontario law that have come into effect, or will soon, that impact amateur sport organizations in Ontario that have paid employees (including most NSOs located in this province).

Employment Standards Act (ESA)

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has prepared and published a poster titled “Employment Standards in Ontario”.…

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Growth or Fixed: How your Mindset impacts your performance

In her groundbreaking book Mindset: the new psychology of success, world renowned psychologist Carol Dweck shared years of research on the power of our mindset. She explained why it’s not just our abilities and talent that brings us success – but also whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset.…

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Developing a Sponsorship Package

With the recent successes and the rising popularity of Canadian Olympic athletes, more and more sponsorship dollars are gravitating towards amateur sport. A few statistics from the 2013 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study are shared below that highlight this reality (see footnote [1]).…

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Accountability in Appeals Management: Who Watches the Watcher?

The Sport Law & Strategy Group has been handling internal appeals for sport organizations for over twenty years. Our task is to ensure procedural fairness during the process. This task typically involves the SLSG acting as a Case Manager to perform the following functions, per the organization’s policy for appeals:

  • Determine if an appeal is based on appealable grounds;
  • Determine if the appeal has been submitted within the proper timelines;
  • Appoint a neutral and qualified Adjudicator;
  • Facilitate the exchange of documents and prepare for the hearing; and
  • Ensure the decision is delivered smoothly and without incident.
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Management by Values: A new way of doing business in Canadian sport - A discussion paper

[An updated blogpost relating to Management by Values was posted in August 2015 and is accessible here]

 

by Dina Bell-Laroche and Rachel Corbett

(originally written March 2008)

A French version of this paper is provided here.

The authors are grateful to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport and the True Sport Secretariat for supporting the ideas that inspired this article.

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Coaches' Liability and Responsibilities to Athletes

Regardless of their certification level, experience, employment or volunteer status, sport discipline, or location, coaches have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment for their athletes at all times.

This obligation extends to ensuring that coaches have met the standard of care that is expected of them in the following areas:

  • Facilities and organization – Coaches have a duty to select premises and equipment that are reasonably safe and suitable for the intended purpose and to ensure that the event or activity is safely organized.
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BC Societies Act – Big Changes Ahead for BC sport organizations

The new BC Societies Act is expected to come into force within 18 months (by November 2016) and will replace the existing BC Society Act – the legislation under which sport organizations in BC are incorporated. The new Act is expected to introduce many changes to how sport organizations in BC operate.…

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Ontario Fitness & Recreation Organizations targeted in upcoming government blitz

Are you prepared?  The Ontario government recently announced that they will be conducting a targeted Employment Standards Act enforcement blitz. The first phase of this blitz will include fitness and recreation organizations and facilities in the province. The focus of this initiative is to ensure that organizations are adhering to legislated employment standards.…

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Measuring workplace happiness … it makes good business sense

I recently read an article in the Ottawa Citizen that ranked Ottawa among the top 10 happiest out of 33 metropolitan areas across the country. The survey asked 340,000 people across Canada to rate their life satisfaction on a scale of one to 10.…

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Human Resources – Challenges and Pitfalls in Managing this Vital Resource

People are the lifeblood of any organization whether they are paid staff, Directors, or volunteers. Without their passion and commitment, many of the best-laid plans would go to waste. These vital resources constitute a key area of many organizations that frequently gets short changed when it comes to planning and development and can take up large amounts of time and energy to manage properly.…

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Athlete Appeals: Should You Help?

Athlete appeals: Should you help? How to determine when to go to bat for your athlete and when to step aside

Appeals by athletes are most often on selection decisions made by the organization. The athlete launches an appeal because he or she feels that selection criteria were improperly applied, thereby denying the athlete a spot on a team, an entry in a competition, or a nomination for the athlete assistance program.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - March 2015

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 11(1) - March 2015

This edition of our newsletter features news about our new webinar series, coaching-by-values, and hosting successful events. We have also written about the SLSG's new Associate Jason Robinson, the proven value of a social media policy, the NFP Act, and the trends we're watching in sport in 2015.…

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What We're Watching in 2015

This is our annual ‘What We’re Watching’ post that describes our success of the past year and looks forward to our plans and hopes for 2015. We wrote about 2014 in this post. The previous year has seen many changes in Canadian amateur sport as well as many changes in our company – including two new additions to our team.…

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Coaching by Values

Inspired by my book on Values-in-Action: Igniting Passion and Purpose in Sport Organizations and my certification in 2014 as an Integral Master CoachTM, I’m writing this blog to show how values can enhance the coaching experience. I was also recently certified as an Associated Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coaching Federation (see press release here), thereby bringing multiple perspectives to the broader field of coaching.…

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Tales from the Ivory Tower Six Months In

By Rachel Corbett

Many readers of this blog may know that I took a leave of absence from the Sport Law & Strategy Group in the summer of 2014 to begin a temporary, full time teaching position at Brock University. Half-way through this life-altering experience, I thought I would provide an update.…

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Hosting Successful Sport Events in Your Own Backyard

Is your organization looking to host a championship event? Whether your proposed event is international, national, provincial, or local the decision to host an event should be given serious consideration. Hosting a successful sporting event in your own backyard is not that simple and is often underestimated in terms of its scope and impact.…

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We Are Expanding Our Team!

The Sport Law & Strategy Group is thrilled to announce that sport professional Jason Robinson has joined our team as our latest associate. Jason joins an impressive cast of leaders who serve to support the sport community and the many organizational challenges that leaders face in an ever-changing sport environment.…

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Event Management, Marketing Services and Beyond

I am excited and very honoured to join the Sport Law & Strategy Group.  My first introduction to the organization came in 2003 when I met Rachel Corbett and she assisted the PSO that I was working for at the time.…

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The Proven Value of a Social Media Policy

For a few years I’ve been recommending that sport organizations develop their own social media policy. In the most comprehensive blogpost - ‘Does your organization need a social media policy?’ - I explained the five components necessary for an organization to safely and effectively involve itself with, and handle fallout from, social media activity.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group assists 75 sport organizations in their NFP Act transition

Midnight on Friday, October 17 was the deadline for federally incorporated not-for-profit organizations to transition from old legislation (Canada Corporations Act) to new legislation (Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, or NFP Act). This date concluded the 3-year window given to all organizations to make the shift to the more modern legislation.…

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Resources for Not-For-Profit Organizations

Service Ontario has launched a new section for not-for-profits in Ontario making it faster and easier for organizations to get the services and information they need to start, operate and grow their NFPs.  The new site features information on government open call programs for funding, ideas on how to start and manage a not-for-profit organization, a section to help organizations understand the laws that affect the sector, research about the sector, government initiatives that support the sector, and much more.…

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Lessons in Leading

What does it mean to lead an organization? Research and business leaders will tell you it comes down to culture. High performing organizations are driven by leaders who invest in creating stimulating, values-driven, responsive and dynamic environments where people feel motivated to contribute.…

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NFP Act transition… down to the wire… only two months left!

Four months ago in a blogpost we counted the remaining National Sport Organizations (NSOs) that had not yet transitioned to compliance with the new federal NFP Act. At the time, of the 59 organizations that are recognized as NSOs there were only 24 that had completed the continuance process.…

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Coaching isn’t just for athletes…

Recently I became certified as an Integral Master CoachTM with Integral Coaching Canada. The certification process took fourteen months and is recognized by the International Coaching Federation. I’m one of only a few Canadians involved in sport who has been certified in this comprehensive human development learning program and I’ve been actively coaching sport and other professionals since 2012 when I began the program.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - July 2014

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 10(2) - July 2014

This edition of our newsletter features important updates about the NFP Act (four months to go!) and after-care tasks post-transition, the ONCA (delayed until 2015), and the new anti-spam law.…

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What's New at the Sport Law & Strategy Group

We would like to provide our readers with an update on some personnel changes and other activities at the Sport Law & Strategy Group.

Co-Founder Rachel Corbett is pleased to announce that she has been hired for a 12 month, full-time teaching position in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University.…

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ONCA updates and current duties for Ontario-based organizations

We last wrote about the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) in September 2013 and unfortunately not much has changed. The legislation is expected to come into force in 2015 but there may still be some wrinkles to that plan. This blogpost outlines what we know about the ONCA, what we do not know, and what incorporated sport organizations in Ontario should be doing in preparation for the new legislation.…

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Under the Microscope in More Ways than One!

It seems that everywhere we turn, not for profits and charities are being put under more and more scrutiny. Whether this is warranted or not remains up for debate but rest assured, this level of oversight is not about to let up any time soon.…

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CASL Part II - What it Means for RCAAAs

Building on the March 25 posting by LeeAnn Cupidio, we wanted to delve a little further into the somewhat confusing situation faced by Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations (RCAAAs) regarding the applicability of the Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL). Of particular interest is whether or not the exception of implied consent is applicable to RCAAAs.…

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NFP Act After-Care – Tasks after Transitioning to Compliance

With 24 National Sport Organizations (NSOs) having transitioned to compliance with the new NFP Act, and more organizations in the process of completing the final steps of transition, now is a good time to review some of the tasks to which an NFP Act-compliant organization should turn its focus.…

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NFP Act transition… only six months left… are you on track?

On October 17th 2011 the NFP Act (also known as the CNCA) came into force and required that every federally-incorporated not-for-profit organization transition to compliance with the new law – or face dissolution. With only six months to go, Carters (Canada's leading charity law firm) is reporting that of the approximately 17000 affected organizations, only 2900 have successfully transitioned.…

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The Ins and Outs of Unpaid Intern Positions

With the summer intern recruitment push now upon us, this might be a good time to get some clarification on the status of unpaid internships.

An internship position is meant to provide practical on-the-job training by the employer for the benefit of the intern, not for the benefit of the employer.…

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New Anti-Spam Legislation - What Does it Mean for Sport Organizations?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law* (CASL) was passed in December 2010 and is expected to come into force on July 1, 2014. Once in effect, the CASL is intended to protect Canadians from receiving unwanted communications while ensuring that businesses can continue to operate and compete in the marketplace.…

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In Camera Meetings and Minutes of In Camera Meetings

There are times within meetings, particularly executive meetings, when discussions must be kept confidential. Such discussions are considered to be “in camera” meetings.

In camera meetings have a legitimate purpose but because they restrict the normal information reported to the membership of an organization, their use should be limited to those occasions when they are absolutely necessary.…

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Update on the Use of Religious Headwear during Soccer Matches

We have been following this issue since it first arose in 2012, when the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) issued a rule prohibiting its players from wearing turbans and other religious headgear.  This discriminatory ban prompted the Canadian Soccer Association to suspend the QSF’s membership with the national body in April, 2013, thereby denying them the ability to compete at, participate in, or host competitions either provincially or nationally.…

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What Goes Around, Comes Around

I have been blogging about the Sochi Olympic disputes that went to the Ad Hoc Court of Arbitration (CAS), which heard disputes during the course of the Olympic Games. There were four disputes, including one a Canadian matter filed by Alpine Canada Alpin (ACA) and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).…

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With 63 gold medals Canada owned the podium again

Four years ago I wrote an article about the different ways to count Olympic medals. One of the issues I wanted to raise was that in individual sports (like Biathlon or Speed Skating) there are multiple chances for a single athlete to medal but in team sports (like Hockey and Curling) there is only a single chance for multiple athletes to medal.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - February 2014

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 10(1) - February 2014

This edition of our newsletter features tips for sport leaders in the areas of work-life balance and risk management. We have also written interesting articles about dispute and appeals management, governance reform, and a new standard of care for sport organizations.…

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SDRCC Arbitrator Rejects Another Case for Being Out of Time

Last month, a third decision was reached in a SDRCC (Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada) case on the issue of lack of jurisdiction due to a claimant moving their case forward too slowly. We think "three" (see postscript) makes a trend and it is important to share this trend with the sport community, for the benefit of both claimants and respondents engaged in disputes before the SDRCC.…

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When Rough Play Becomes Assault

The use of criminal law to regulate the conduct of sport participants has a long history, within which Canada is noted as being unique in using criminal law as a means of governing player behaviour.

Indeed, Canadian case law has provided the basis for judicial reasoning in such cases across a number of jurisdictions.…

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Following Olympic Disputes: 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are underway and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is on-site hearing all matters that arise.  The decisions and reasoning behind those decisions signal to the sport community and, more specifically, to sport decision makers (including our own SDRCC adjudicators) important trends and principles underlying sport disputes. …

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What We’re Watching in 2014

Last year in February we wrote about what we were watching in 2013 and this year we thought we would do the same. But this year we also wanted to highlight some of what we accomplished over the past twelve months.…

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Smart Tips for Risk Management

I stumbled on this recently while reviewing our publication "Risk Management Guide for Community Sport Organizations" that we wrote for 2010 Legacies Now. I was reminded how simpler is always better, and this is especially true when we are communicating about risk management.…

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Not Just Lip Service Anymore … Creating Space for People to Unwind and Unplug

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. What is the impact on professionals who feel they are ‘on call’ 24-7 but aren’t being paid to render this service? Turns out, others have been asking the same question. Recognizing that anxiety, burnout, and being overworked leads to poor productivity, loss of quality employees, and poor decision-making, a growing number of smart companies are demanding that their employees not only unplug after hours but check-out completely – yup, that means creating blackout periods where the entire shop, other than customer relations, shuts down.

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Athletics Canada – One Organization’s Experience with Dispute Management

This post features an interview I did with Scott MacDonald and Rachel Corbett. Scott is the High Performance Director for Athletics Canada (AC), a post he moved into this year following about eight years as Director of National Teams. Rachel is the Designated Official under AC's rules for appeals, and also manages discipline hearings for AC.…

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Managing Risks - Where Do I Start?

Dina Bell-Laroche and I have just completed the 30th risk assessment workshop in the multi-year Risk Management Project funded by Sport Canada and the True Sport Foundation, and delivered by the Sport Law & Strategy Group. Twenty-eight of those assessments have involved NSOs or MSOs.…

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Thinking About Governance Reform? Here are Some Questions to Get You Started

These questions are intended to promote reflection on the concept of governance. They are by no means complete or comprehensive, but they arise from many years of helping sport organizations to understand governance better, and to promote better governance practices.

The bare-bones definition of governance that we have used at the Sport Law & Strategy Group over the years is this:

Governance = the systems and structures an organization uses to control its general operations, programs and activities.

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - October 2013

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 9(2) - October 2013

This edition of our newsletter features tips for sport leaders in the areas of leadership and absentee voting, provides updates on the Federal NFP Act (and our interpretation of some of the clauses), and big news on the Ontario NFP Act (ONCA). …

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The More We Learn the Less We Know?

I have been deeply immersed in the Canada Not-for Profit Corporations Act for over two years now, and so have many of Canada's national sport organizations. I am indebted to those sport leaders who have engaged with me in lively discussions about the general policy goals of the Act, whether it is good or bad for sport, are the various 'workarounds' moral or ethical (even if they are legal), what is really truly the best size for an elected board, and how much should we tell the members in the bylaws....…

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ONCA News

It’s been nearly a year since we dedicated a blogpost to the Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA). During that time the implementation date of the ONCA has been delayed twice and new details have been revealed about what type of changes Ontario corporations will need to make in order to comply with the legislation.…

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Absentee Voting Survey Results

Back in June of this year, in collaboration with Rowing Canada Aviron, we asked sport organizations to complete a survey related to absentee voting. Absentee voting has recently become more topical as organizations continue their transition to the new not-for-profit legislation – the NFP Act (for national corporations) and the ONCA (for Ontario corporations).…

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Instagram and Vine: New Social Media Has Same Risks for Sport Organizations

The speed at which young people use and discard social mediums (plural: media) often outpaces the speed at which adults understand those same social media. Adults, and by extension sport organizations, are now very familiar with Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Sport organizations know how to use these media successfully for the promotion of the organization and also know of the dangers and benefits of athletes and other participants using these media.…

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Dependent Contractors: A Third Employment Relationship with Legal Concerns for Sport Organizations

"Dependent contractor" - this is a third category of employment relationships that we rarely discuss, and most organizations have never heard of, but which is probably one of the more relevant to sport and certainly an increasing way in which contracts are being structured (often unwittingly).…

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Lessons on Leadership

As a leader in Canadian sport, I have had the opportunity to experience many moments of greatness. Many of these early moments are related to my involvement in Olympic Games where I worked as a media attaché and press chief in support of our Canadian teams.…

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Record Keeping Checklist Under the NFP Act

What Documents Your Organization Needs to Keep and Who Can Access Them

The new NFP Act requires that organizations maintain specific records and keep this information available at the Registered Office for easy access. Here are some checklists of what information an NFP-compliant organization needs to keep and some options for easy maintenance of this material:

  • Articles
  • Bylaws
  • Amendments to Bylaws and Articles

An organization’s Articles are submitted to Industry Canada in Form 4031 – the Articles of Continuance.…

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Jurisdiction, Turbans, and Soccer in Quebec

Since last year, the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) has prohibited its players from wearing turbans and other religious headgear. This April, the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) reminded all provinces to permit the religious headgear and warned the QSF to comply with this directive.…

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Who’s the Piper: Dual Loyalties of Directors?

The Situation

A director of a sport organization is appointed to the board because of his or her position in another organization or because that organization has voted the person to be its representative. These organizations are typically stakeholders in the organization (e.g.,…

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Values in Action: Questions about the e-book

Dina answers questions about the e-book:

How can this e-book make me a better sport leader?
"This e-book was written with sport leaders in mind. Based on the insights of 12 Canadian sport leaders and their experience in having lead nine of Canada’s premier National Sport Organizations, I have come to understand that our sector attracts people who are passionate about the product (sport); committed to its people (athletes, coaches, volunteers, officials, administrators); and exceptionally resourceful.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - May 2013

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vol 9(1) - May 2013

This edition of our newsletter features tips for sport leaders in the areas of risk management and policy development, and also provides updates on the Federal NFP Act and the Ontario NFP Act (ONCA). …

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Discipline Decisions – To Disclose or Not to Disclose?

Should organizations make discipline decisions and sanctions public knowledge? We often act as a neutral third party to handle an organization’s internal disputes, such as appeals or discipline decisions. After a tribunal (either a single decision-maker or a panel of decision-makers) hears both sides and reaches a decision, the written decision is communicated to the parties (the individual and the organization, and any affected third party), a remedy may be enacted and sanctions, where ordered, are imposed, and the dispute ends. …

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It's a Good Idea to Check with Industry Canada as Part of Your Transition Strategy!

As most readers know, we are working with a great many NSOs and MSOs on transition to the new Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. Recently, we have discovered that not all sport organizations are up to date on their filing of bylaws with Industry Canada.…

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The Accidental Leader … Why Sport Organizations Need to Pay Attention to a Growing Gap

Carleton business professor Linda Druxbury researches and writes about the pending shortage of a skilled workforce. She puts it quite clearly … with baby boomers set to retire large numbers over the next decade, organizations that are not prepared for the leadership gap, are doomed to fail.…

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Some Emerging Issues with Transition to the NFP Act

The NFP Act came into law in October 2011, with a 3-year window for corporations to become compliant (by October 2014). That window is now almost half-closed, meaning that there are only about 18 full months remaining for sport organizations to complete the transition to the new legislation.…

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What We're Watching in 2013

Last year we celebrated our 20th Anniversary of service in the Canadian sport industry and we are looking forward to big things in the coming year! We wrote about what we were watching in 2012 and we again wanted to outline some of the trends, issues, and developments that we’ll be watching this year.…

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Risk Management Questions for Directors

Melanie Herman, of the Nonprofit Risk Manager Center, recently published her RISK eNewsletter and I wanted to share a great little excerpt. I hope you find it as helpful as I did.  In essence, it’s a reminder to not allow your discomfort with uncertainty to dampen your commitment to engage the Board in a discussion on the crucial strategic risks facing your NSO.…

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What policies does my sport organization need?

At the Sport Law & Strategy Group, we regularly receive requests from sport organizations asking for assistance writing policies. These are the policies, procedures, and rules that the organization’s sport leaders believe are necessary to govern the organization and its members.…

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The Myths and Realities of Conflict of Interest in Sport

Late in 2011, Marie-Claude Asselin of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) wrote an informative and practical article on conflict of interest in sport. It is a great summary of the myths and realities/truths and falsehoods of the tricky business of managing conflict and bias in the sport community.…

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Less Than 2 Years Left for Compliance with the NFP Act - Some Thoughts on Plans and Timing

NSOs and MSOs in Canada have less than two years to make a successful transition from the Canada Corporations Act to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporation Act. So what is the best plan for becoming compliant? There is no easy answer to this beyond a strong suggestion that organizations should start thinking about it now.…

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Idea for Annual Calendar of Board Meetings

Ken Davies, President of Alberta Biathlon and Chair of Biathlon Canada, recently shared with me a simple model for board leadership that he uses in the private sector. I immediately thought it could have application in sport, especially as some National Sport Organizations move to more policy-oriented, competency-based boards as part of their transition under the new not-for-profit act.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - November 2012

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vol 8(3) - November 2012

This edition of our newsletter features updates on the Federal NFP Act and the Ontario NFP Act (ONCA) and addresses frequent questions about social media policies. We have also included tips for sport leaders in the areas of leadership, member misconduct, and transgender inclusion in sport.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Celebrates its 20th Anniversary!

The Sport Law & Strategy Group turns 20 years old this month. I still find this somewhat shocking. In 1992 Hilary Findlay and I had no idea that this little organization (which started life as the Alberta Institute of Sport and Law, became the Centre for Sport and Law, and is now the Sport Law & Strategy Group) would persist, grow and even thrive.…

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CCES Publishes Exploratory Paper on Gender Inclusivity

In late October 2012 the CCES (Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport) released its report, Sport in Transition: Making Sport in Canada More Responsible for Gender Inclusivity. The report documents an exploratory conversation among a select group of experts on how sport in Canada can be more inclusive of gender-diverse athletes.
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Transition Requires That You Dance the Two-Step

At the Sport Law & Strategy Group we have been working with almost 40 national level sport organizations on their transition from the Canada Corporations Act to the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act. We are learning lots in the process but wanted, at this time, to share a critical but not well-understood aspect of the transition process - namely, that if your organization has a complicated membership structure and many non-voting members, then you need to proceed in two steps.…

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Does Your Organization Need a Social Media Policy?

The recent Olympic Games were the ‘Socialympics’ and, as our colleagues at arnoldi mcpherson illustrated in their excellent report, there were more than a handful of social media issues that sport organizations needed to address.  Though National and Provincial Sport Organizations (NSOs and PSOs) and even local sport organizations generally will not face social media issues of that magnitude – certainly social media issues are not uncommon ‘fires’ that sport organizations regularly need to put out.…

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Socialympics - How Sports Organizations and Athletes Used Social Media at London 2012

Guest post by Janice Arnoldi, Arnoldi McPherson.

Canadian sports organizations and athletes should keep the social media momentum coming out of the London 2012 Olympics. These Games were truly the "Socialympics". A record setting four billion people worldwide tuned-in to watch the Olympics on TV but an astounding 306 billion items were shared on the internet, including 100 billion posts on Facebook and five billion tweets on Twitter.…

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Ontario NFP Act to Come Into Force

[Edit September 2013 - there have been new changes to the proclamation date since this post was written]

Two days after we wrote about whether there were problems with the Ontario Not-for-Profits Corporations Act (ONCA), we received a memo from the Ministry of Consumer Services informing us that the proclamation date for the ONCA has been extended from January 2013 to July 2013.…

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Are There Problems with the Ontario Not-For-Profit Act?

The Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) is expected to come into force on January 1st, 2013 and organizations will have three years to comply with the new legislation. We have been following the developments around the ONCA very closely and we have noticed substantial pushback from other (mostly non-sport) areas of the not-for-profit sector in Ontario.…

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Your Organization’s Response to Hazing and Member Misconduct

There have been a few recent member misconduct incidents making the news lately and we wanted to comment on how sports organizations should approach responding to hazing incidents involving their members.

The most high-profile incident occurred in professional sport, with Toronto Blue Jays’ shortstop Yunel Escobar displaying an anti-gay message in Spanish written on stickers under his eyes.…

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Gender Identity in Sport

LawNow magazine has just published my recent article on gender identity and sport. Here is a link to the full article.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Now Offers Integral Coaching Services

We are pleased to announce that one of our partners, Dina Bell-Laroche, has successfully completed an intensive 5 month executive coaching program with Integral Coaching Canada. Integral Coaching is a holistic and powerful human development methodology that is based on the rich research of Ken Wilbur, the brilliant mind behind integral theory.…

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Timing of Annual Meetings under the NFP Act

We wanted to share with our readers what we have learned about the requirements of the Not-For-Profit Corporations Act in relation to the timing of annual meetings of members.

By way of background, the Act says at Section 160(1)(b) that the annual meeting must be held within a prescribed period from the fiscal year-end which in Section 61(2) of the NFP Regulation is set at 6 months.…

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Including Transgender Athletes in Sport

I would like to heartily congratulate the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) for creating an inclusive policy at their most recent annual meeting that will enable transgender student-athletes to participate in college sports.  The policy (which we have excerpted here) provides valuable background information that includes definitions related to gender identity as well as a rationale for why the CCAA has chosen to address transgender issues in its athletic programs.…

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Thoughts on Leadership

In December 2011, I was appointed a True Sport Fellow by the True Sport Foundation. The Foundation is committed to ensuring that sport makes a positive contribution to Canadian society, to our athletes, and to the physical and moral development of Canada’s youth.…

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Risk Management Update

This post provides an update on some exciting risk management initiatives that have occurred over the past year.

Risk Management Impact on Performance

Please see this briefing document which outlines the results of Brock University’s research into the impact of the risk management workshop on participants’ performance.…

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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.

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Guns, Athlete Behaviour, and Social Media

A recent story involving two Australian athletes underscores the difficulty that some Canadian National Sport Organizations (NSOs) may face leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

One Australian swimmer posted a picture, on his private Facebook account, of himself and another National Team teammate holding guns at a California shooting range.…

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Snapshot of Membership Fees of National Sport Organizations

By Kevin Lawrie and Rachel Corbett.

We recently published a snapshot on the voting structures of National Sports Organizations (NSOs) and we found some interesting results. As part of the governance restructuring that many NSOs are undergoing in their transition to compliance under the new Not-For-Profit Corporations Act, we thought it would be valuable to look at NSOs’ membership fees to find commonalities.…

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Snapshot of Voting Structures of National Sport Organizations

By Rachel Corbett and Kevin Lawrie.

We continue to help National Sport Organizations (NSOs) comply with the new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and, as part of the governance restructuring that some NSOs are undergoing, we thought it would be valuable to review the current voting structure of ALL NSOs.…

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Off-Side: Additional Penalties for Doping Infractions Struck Down

We have confirmation... for a second time the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has struck down additional penalties for doping infractions that fall outside the WADA Code. The decision was rendered on Monday, April 30th 2012.

Even though the WADA Code prohibits penalties beyond those specified in the Code itself, a number of sport organizations, operating under the WADA Code, do impose such penalties.…

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Olympic Team Selection – What Your NSO Needs to Know to Be Dispute-Ready!

By Rachel Corbett and Kevin Lawrie.

The 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games are fewer than 90 days away and many NSOs are preparing to select, or are in the middle of selecting, the teams and athletes that will represent Canada in London.…

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Flying High… What Sport Leaders Can Learn from a Canadian Success Story

My colleagues and I have been thinking a lot about what it takes to create a high performing sport organization. Traditionally, assumptions were made about the efficiency and effectiveness of a National Sport Organization based on podium results or participation numbers.…

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Strategic Management + Good Governance = High Performing Sport Organization

By Dina Bell-Laroche and Rachel Corbett.

Okay, so Dina and Rachel got to thinking about what it takes for organizations to perform at a high level. Most of us working in sport have a good idea of what athletes and coaches need to be their best – these are our prescriptions for what sport organizations need to excel.…

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Income Tax Act Revisions Impose New Requirements on NSO Directors

We last wrote about RCAAAs (Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations) in February 2012, noting that recent changes to the Income Tax Act have placed RCAAAs on the same footing as mainstream charities in terms of their legal obligations. As we learn more about the legislative changes, new wrinkles continue to emerge that will impact NSOs in Canada.…

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Defamation 2.0

In April 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada published a significant new ruling related to defamation and hyperlinks.  In the ruling, the Court decided that posting an article or story on your website that includes a hyperlink to defamatory material on someone else's website is not re-publication, and therefore is not defamation.…

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - March 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.…

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Lessons from the Ottawa Rapidz Case: Contracts that Help and Contracts that Don't

Introduction

An interesting sport case has been playing itself out in the Supreme Court of Canada. The case highlights the importance of seemingly innocuous contract clauses which, in this case, can leave several parties vulnerable to a number of lawsuits. But the astute use of the same clauses saved another party from the same fate.…

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Why the new federal NFP Act is important to PSOs

Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) may be hearing about the “NFP Act” or the new not-for-profit corporations’ legislation that every nationally-incorporated sport organization is currently addressing. Just because this is a federal law doesn’t mean that Provincial organizations can simply ignore it.…

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The Permanency of Social Media

Organizations and individuals are frequently re-learning that posting something on social media ensures the near-permanent existence of that material.  A tweet that is posted six months ago can be easily found by an intrepid researcher.  A picture that is posted to Facebook never really goes away.…

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Dina Bell-Laroche appointed True Sport Fellow

The True Sport Foundation announced today that Dina Bell-Laroche has been named the second ever True Sport Fellow.  The first True Sport Fellow was Ian Bird, who completed a True Sport Fellowship on Innovation.

The True Sport Fellowship offers an opportunity for an accomplished sport leader in the Canadian sport community to engage other sector leaders in exploring how we can better use sport and physical activity to address emerging opportunities and challenges.…

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Harassment Issues in Sport – from 1994 to 2012

In 1994, Rachel Corbett wrote a handbook on Harassment in Sport that was distributed to NSOs and other amateur sport organizations around the country. As part of our 20th anniversary of service to the Canadian amateur sport industry, we thought it might be interesting to post the handbook and ask Rachel about the evolutionary changes she has seen in on this topic since 1994.…

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Don't Overlook Some Financial Impacts of the NFP Act

To date we have written extensively about the impacts that the NFP Act will have on membership classes and board structures. These are the main issues that NSOs and MSOs will need to address in order to become compliant with the NFP Act by 2014.…

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Tripped Up By Tape

Sometimes the most innocuous situations create the biggest problems. This was true in a recent case that took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Thanks to Andre Gallant, CEO of the YMCA of Cape Breton, for sending along the details of the case and the comment.…

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What We're Watching in 2012

This year marks our 20th Anniversary of service in the Canadian sport industry.  We have been advising sport organizations since 1992!  We'll soon have a couple of formal announcements but we first wanted to outline some of the trends, issues, and developments that we'll be watching in the new year.…

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Reflections on Penn State, Scouts Canada and Graham James

I have just finished reading Theo Fleury's book, Playing With Fire. I have owned this book for two years, but never took it off my shelf. However, in the wake of the Penn State sex abuse scandal, and the revelation that Scouts Canada has been quietly keeping it's own registry of pedophiles, I pulled Fleury's book down and started to read.…

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Simplifying Risk Management

In recent months I have been following a blog on risk management written by Melanie Lockwood-Herman. She is the Executive Director of an American non-profit dedicated to helping non-profit organizations manage risks. Funded primarily by insurance companies (don’t hold this against them!),…

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Authentic Leadership – Tips for Becoming the Leader You Want to Be

Becoming a leader that others look up to is a goal worth pursuing. Authentic leadership is a form of leadership that transforms people, organizations, communities, and the world. Think about the great leaders you admire most. Chances are, these leaders maintain key positions within organizations because they are trusted, respected, and admired.…

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Sport Leaders For Life? Supporting the Development of Individuals Working in Sport

One of our collective objectives is to enhance the capacity of sport professionals and volunteers so that they can handle recurring issues, challenges and opportunities. Through our ongoing partnership with True Sport, the Sport Law & Strategy Group along with the Centre for Sport Capacity at Brock University have been evaluating the impact of the Risk Management Workshop on the performance of individual sport leaders and the resulting impact on their organization.  …

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Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter - November 2011

Sportlaw Logo

Sport Law & Strategy Group Newsletter

vol 7(1) - November 2011

We sent you our last newsletter back in December 2010 when we were still known as the Centre for Sport and Law.  Click here for the announcement describing our brand renewal to the Sport Law & Strategy Group. …

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Sport Canada Introduces Governance Principles for Sport Organizations

Along with some other governance experts, I have been working with Sport Canada for some time on creating a prescriptive set of "good governance principles" for the Canadian sport community.

This is a topic dear to my heart, and I have spent over a decade trying to impress upon sport leaders the importance of improving governance practices in our sector (Conflict of Interest - The Sport Organization''s Achilles Heel is one of my 'rants'). …

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Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) - Compliance

Beginning January 1, 2012, all providers of goods and services within the province of Ontario, including charities and not-for-profit organizations will be required to comply with parts of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).  This legislation affects every Ontario PSO, as well as MSOs and NSOs that have offices in Ontario.…

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Violence and Harassment in the Workplace - Compliance

Last month we gave a presentation to the membership of the Sport Alliance of Ontario (SAO) relating to the requirements of the newly legislated provincial Bill 168 – Workplace Violence and Harassment.  This topic generated numerous questions and made us realize that many NSOs, PSOs and MSOs may have not yet taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the legislation. …

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Proposed Changes to the Income Tax Act to Affect RCAAAs

The federal government is in the final stages of reviewing changes to the Income Tax Act that will affect Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations (RCAAAs). The impetus for these changes is the revocation of charitable status from a number of NSOs in recent years (see Football Canada and the Tax Man).…

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Important Lessons for NSOs in Recent CAS Decision

What can Canadian sport organizations learn from a recent decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)? As it turns out, a lot, at least from one of its most recent decisions rendered on October 4, 2011 (CAS 2011/0/2422 USOC v.…

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Wait and Hurry Up! New Corporations Act to Take Effect October 17, 2011

Industry Canada has very recently published their transition guide (HTML) for the new Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (NPCA) that will take effect in a few short days. They have also published all sorts of materials on their web site about the new Act, how to transition, and all the various forms and documents you will  need.…

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Simplifying the Social Media Discussion

It is easy to get lost in social media guidelines and policies.  Every organization has their own informed (and sometimes uninformed) views and ideas for how its employees and members should, could, or must engage with social media. But there is no standard practice and no legal regulation.…

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Embracing Risks – How Values-Based Decisions Can Help Sport Leaders Take Risks and Uncover Possibilities

Sport is full of risks. This we know well. We expect coaches and athletes to take risks daily in pursuit of performance excellence, and yet more often than not, those responsible for managing sport organizations can be described as risk-averse. The irony is not lost on the partners of the Sport Law & Strategy Group.…

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Renewal … It’s Not Just the Sport Policy That Needs It!

Some of you may be aware that we are undergoing a renewal of the Canadian Sport Policy (CSP). Fondly spoken of as CSP 2.0, this renewal process has been unparalleled in terms of engaging Canadians in what they believe should be the focus of the renewed sport policy (you can read more about the national survey, the findings, and submissions from governments by visiting sirc.ca.)…

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Reflections from Two Years with the Sport Law & Strategy Group

by Kevin Lawrie.   Two years ago, in July 2009, I started my first contract with the Sport Law & Strategy Group.  We were working for a coalition of team sport NSOs to develop a position paper explaining the unique value of team sports. …

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Avoiding Uncertainty in Policies and Contracts

We know ... writing and reading policy documents and contracts can be boring and tedious. I can attest to this as I have spent the last several months as a member of a team negotiating a collective bargaining agreement at a Canadian University.…

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International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Paves the Way in Creating a More Inclusive Sport Environment

I am in Ottawa this weekend participating in the centennial celebrations of the Canadian PGA, and I had the opportunity to have lunch with my friend and colleague Moira Lassen, who is an international official with the sport of weightlifting and a member of the IWF’s Technical Committee.…

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PIPEDA Review Should Focus on "Networked Publics"

Recently the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released its annual report to Parliament on the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  PIPEDA sets the ground rules for the management of personal information in the private sector - and the Privacy Commissioner (Jennifer Stoddart) oversees its application and determines corporations' level of compliance.…

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Is the New Federal Corporations Legislation on Your Radar?

On June 22, 2011 I had the opportunity to make a presentation on the Canada Not-for Profit Corporations Act (NPCA) [1] at the 1st National Sport Federation Leadership Summit, organized by the Canadian Olympic Committee in collaboration with Sport Canada.…

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Are We Ready to Lead from Behind?

As sport management consultants, it is our responsibility to scour the literature to translate latest trends into meaningful knowledge for our clients. One such trend that has entrenched itself into the business domain is the idea of 'leading from behind' or 'servant leadership'.…

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The Role of Values in the Performance of National Sport Organizations

There are countless articles, research, and management books that suggest the positive impact of having a set of enduring values is well understood and documented by some of the world’s best organizations. In sport, this proved not to be the case.…

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Sport Governance - Some Thoughts on the Eve of a New Government

Lately it seems our website postings are preoccupied with governance and social media - whatever happened to the sport and the law? The reality is, the law remains at the root of almost everything we do as sport administrators and sport leaders.…

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Strategic Options in Social Media - Addressing Member Negativity

Through social media, information can reach a greater number of people more quickly and more directly and this has consequences for sport organizations. A  side effect of the pervasiveness of social media is the requirement for greater organizational transparency. Understand that communicating through social media (like Twitter and Facebook) is different than communicating through more traditional media like email and face-to-face interactions.…

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Determining Notice Periods: Length of Service is Only ONE Consideration

We are often asked to help sport organizations determine appropriate notice periods where employees are being released without cause. This can be a tricky task. While there are a number of factors that should be considered, most are very difficult to quantify.…

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Values ... Let's Get Personal

We have written here before about the role that values can play in helping organizations improve their performance. But I am inspired to blog about a slightly different orientation based on a conversation we had last week with participants from Cross Country Canada, who were participating in the Risk Management Project (this project is being funded by the True Sport Secretariat and Sport Canada and coordinated by the Sport Law & Strategy Group).…

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OFSAA Eligibility Policy Discriminatory? Or Just a Poor Fit With Organization's Mandate

https://sportlaw.ca/wp-content/uploads/towle.jpg

Direct discrimination on well-known prohibited grounds is typically easily discerned. For example, it is well-known, if not always accepted, that girls may try out for boys' teams - whether or not there is a girls' team available to them.  Discrimination on other prohibited grounds has not been as well discussed or clarified, even though the same underlying principles apply.…

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Criticism, Reputation, Free Speech - Does Social Media Need to be Integrated into Codes of Conduct and Athlete Agreements?

Sport organizations are wondering if it is really necessary to address social media within their organizational policies and codes of conduct.  After all, isn’t it enough that the organization has a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account?   Doesn’t that count as social media engagement?…

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Private Information on Work Computers and the Need for Clear Policies and Procedures

By LeeAnn Cupidio and Steven Indig

If your organization does not have a technology policy in place to deal with the use of electronic devices such as work-issued computers, Blackberrys and cell phones, now is the time to get one. For those organizations savvy enough to have one, it no doubt needs updating.…

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New Corporations Act Creates Opportunities for NSOs

In this space we have written previously about the imminent Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (NPCA), due to take effect soon in Canada.

Back in 2009, our newsletter contained a footnote that the Act had received Royal Assent and was going to come into effect  ...…

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Saskatoon Blades (and Blades' Fans) Get It Wrong on Facebook

Recently there was outrage in Saskatchewan when a fake Facebook account purportedly belonging to Saskatoon Blades' hockey star Brayden Schenn posted racist comments demeaning Aboriginals.  The Saskatoon Blades responded to the public outcry by banning its players from having Facebook accounts.…

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Raising the Bar - Questions Directors Should Ask

We ask our athletes and coaches to pursue excellence every day, and a recent article in National Post by Shaun Francis and John Kelleher (10 questions every director should ask: Time to raise the bar for non-profits, March 22, 2001 Page FP12) calls upon directors of non-profit boards to also do more.…

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Strategic Planning - A Better Way for Sport Leaders

Recently, I have come across a number of interesting articles (both research-based and mainstream) that might be of interest to those leading strategic planning processes within their sport organization. I am intrigued with the concept of simplifying strategic planning so that it does what it is supposed to do … help organizations plan better and prepare for the short and intermediate future.…

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We're Changing Our Name!

Ottawa – March 23, 2011 – The Partners at the Centre for Sport and Law are pleased to share with friends, colleagues and clients our new name: Sport Law & Strategy Group.

The Canadian sport system has evolved over the last two decades – and so have we.…

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Case Comment: Voorhorst v. Canadian Soccer Association - A Bylaw That Went Too Far

The Alberta Court of Appeal has reminded us in no uncertain terms that sport organizations cannot, through their bylaws or policies, or through threats of disciplinary action, stop individuals from seeking recourse in the courts. Getting to this nugget of knowledge has been a bit of a convoluted journey, and no doubt an expensive one, for all involved.…

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On Facebook - the “Coach Profile”

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the amazing Ontario Coaches Conference 2011 in London, Ontario.  I spoke about communication in the coach-athlete relationship and highlighted the areas of law that could affect these interactions.  We also discussed one of the most troubling questions among prudent coaches – can/should athletes and coaches be friends on Facebook?…

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Interesting Snapshot of NSO Board Structures

Over the years I have worked with many National Sport Organizations (NSOs) on governance projects. These have ranged from small reviews and bylaw tinkering to massive organizational changes. Equine Canada, Swimming Natation Canada and Golf Canada are some larger NSOs that have made big changes in recent years, with my help.…

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Some Thoughts on Governance Reform

It's a new year! And many sport organizations are considering making changes to their governance structure. These are the ingredients for success as we see them (based on our experience doing this type of change work with many NSOs, most recently RCGA/Golf Canada, Canadian PGA and Gymnastics Canada, and more distantly, Swimming Natation Canada, Athletics Canada and Equine Canada):

  • To succeed, the project requires a significant educational component.
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Discussion Paper on Abuse, Harassment and Bullying in Sport

This position paper was prepared by the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM) Women's Issues in Sport Medicine Committee. It proposes that as supporters of safe and healthy performance environments, the Canadian sport medicine community plays an important role in the prevention of maltreatment.…

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The Transgender Athlete - A New Resource

Conversations about gender identity and transgender athletes are definitely going mainstream these days. Just recently there have been two high profile stories: the first openly transgender athlete competing in the NCAA, and the change to the constitution of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) to remove a requirement that members be “female at birth”. …

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Case Comment: Alberta Soccer Association v. Charpentier (2010)

It is quite exciting to learn of a case that touches on so many important principles of administrative law as it applies to the governance of sport associations. This recent ruling documents the nightmare that can happen when leaders of sport associations don’t get along and resort to convoluted legal remedies to try to solve their interpersonal problems.…

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Why and When You Are Required to Re-Incorporate Your Organization

A lot of sport organizations are hearing buzz about a major government law that will affect their operations and possibly their bylaws.  Organizations are coming to us, concerned, and wondering if the new “corporations law” affects them, when they have act, and what they have to do.…

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Hallmarks of Good Governance

An organization I have worked with for many years recently asked me if I could identify the hallmarks of good governance - the indicators of a sound organization if you will. After spending over 15 years of helping sport organizations to understand and practice good governance, the list of indicators came easily.…

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Your Guide to the Updated Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

In our last newsletter, we started looking into the new forthcoming OHSA.  We have done more investigation here and it is important to highlight that the OHSA affects all employers in Ontario, including amateur sport organizations from all levels.  Many organizations are not aware of their legal obligations and responsibilities with respect to health and safety in the workplace.…

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The Most Recent Buzz About Police Records Checks

[NOTE: An updated post on Criminal Records Checks was published in January 2016]

In many service sectors, some form of police record check is now common. Obtaining police record checks for volunteers is part of an organization’s due diligence and part of their standard of care to ensure that risks within the organization are reasonably managed.…

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Coaches - Not Just Organizations - Should Have a Social Media Strategy

I attended the Sport Leadership conference on November 18th-20th and was treated to some great presentations about social media.  One of the main themes was the position, and I share it, that organizations need a plan before they jump into social media. …

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Reflections from the Team Canada Ombudsperson

Rachel Corbett was appointed as the Commonwealth Games Team Ombudsperson in June 2010. Unlike in prior years, for these games the position was a joint appointment of AthletesCAN, Coaches of Canada and the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada. And instead of being only an athlete advocate, the Ombudsman was available to be an advocate for any team member, including coaches and mission staff.…

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Rachel Corbett's XIX Commonwealth Games Ombudsblog

In the fall of 2010, Rachel Corbett (co-founder of the Sport Law & Strategy Group) spent about a month in Delhi, India as a member of Team Canada at the Commonwealth Games. Appointed as Team Ombudsperson, her role was to be available to any team member who might need help or support because of doping, team member discipline, a sport-related protest or dispute, or any other problem that could arise from being a team member at a major international games.…

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Some Thoughts About Sport's Future

Over the last year as I have been consulting with sport organizations on governance and organizational change, I have encouraged people to make the effort to divorce themselves from their immediate daily worries and to think more long-term about the future.…

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Living Your Organization's Values

Recently, I held a workshop at Skate Canada’s Annual Congress and General Meeting in Toronto and shared my views on how sport organizations can benefit from identifying their values and using them intentionally. My research on nine National Sport Organizations (NSOs) showed me that a sport organization demonstrates evidence of a strong and resilient culture when it states its values and embeds those values within the organization’s communications.…

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Risk Management Guide for Community Sport Organizations

This guide is intended to help volunteers and staff of local sport organizations make better decisions. Designed for leaders, administrators and volunteers within sport organizations and sport clubs, the Risk Management Guide explains current risk management processes and how they can be applied within your organization.…

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Case Comment - Clifford v. Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System (2009)

This is not a sport case but is helpful nonetheless in providing guidance to tribunals writing decisions. This occurs often in the sport context – panels and committees are often called upon to make decision on selection, eligibility, carding or discipline issues, or to make hear appeals of these decisions.…

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Taking the Lead: Strategies and Solutions for Female Coaches

Hilary Findlay recently wrote a chapter on contracts for coaches in an edited book about women in sport called “Taking the Lead: Strategies and Solutions from Female coaches”. The book has been described as “ground-breaking” by the Coaches Association of Canada.…

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Perceptions of Fairness – the Case of the University of Waterloo Football Program

The actions of the University of Waterloo in suspending its 2010 football season provide an opportunity to think about issues of 'fairness'. We can think of fairness as it relates to the use of performance enhancing substances and "fair play". We can also think of fairness in a legal sense.…

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Parents sue Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) after sons cut from team

This story has been has been the subject of ridicule by many major media outlets, sportscasters, and internet bloggers. At our first glance at the headline, we also had to give our heads a shake. Certainly, it is too early to comment on the merits of the case because we do not know all the facts.…

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Sport Organizations and the New Occupational Health and Safety Act

On June 15th 2010, an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act was signed into Ontario law which focuses on workplace harassment and violence. The new changes are important for all workplaces, including sport organizations. It is also notable that the vast majority of National Sport Organizations are incorporated under Ontario law, and have offices in Ontario, and are thus affected by this new law.…

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Defamation and Social Media - He's the Worst Coach Ever!

What would you do if a coach in your organization showed you a player-created Facebook group that insulted the coach?  There are many of these groups in existence.

One group, when this article was originally posted, was titled “Larry Thornburg is the worst coach ever!”. …

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Moving from Values Inaction to Values-in-Action: An Exploration of How Values Can be Managed Intentionally by National Sport Organizations (NSOs)

The study examined the intentional use of NSOs' stated values. Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) was applied to an Appreciative Inquiry approach of interviewing NSO senior leadership. Data were collected from nine NSOs through multiple-case studies analysis of interview transcripts, websites, and policy statements.…

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The Power of Social Networking and Social Media

By Rachel Corbett

They used to say the sword was mighty, then it was the pen, but now it is the mouse! This piece contains notes and speaking points for a "hot stove" session provided by the Centre for Sport and Law to the members of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association.…

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NFP Act is on the Way

In 2009, the federal Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (NFP Act) received Royal Assent. We wrote about the NFP Actin a previous newsletter and there is now more information about the nature of the Act and the timing of its implementation.

With perhaps one or two exceptions, national sport organizations in Canada are incorporated under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act (CCA).…

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When a Deadline is a Deadline

Back in 2005, we wrote about a procedural fairness case (Clegg, Albert, Ciaramidaro & Biathlon Canada v. Canadian Olympic Association, 2002) involving an athlete being selected to an Olympic team even though he had missed a selection deadline.  The athlete, Clegg, had achieved a result that would have qualified him for the Olympic Biathlon team – but his accomplishment occurred 12 days after the application deadline for selection. …

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The Complicated Jurisdictional World of Sport

Jurisdiction is an interesting concept – particularly in practice. Jurisdiction simply gives one the authority to act within a certain domain; however, while it has legal roots, it is also about power and persuasion. The omission of female ski jumpers from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games was, according to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, discriminatory. …

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Intentionally Managing Your Organizational Values

Over the past 18 months, I have been working towards my Master's Degree in the Applied Health Sciences (Sport Management) at Brock University.  I am  pleased to share with you that I successfully defended my thesis on April 5th, 2010.

My thesis is titled Moving from values inaction to values-in-action: An exploration of how values can be intentionally managed by National Sport Organizations. …

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Olympic Success - when 24 athletes = 1 medal

One of the goals of Canada’s Own the Podium funding program was to ‘Place first in the total medal count at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games’.  Canada received some criticism for baldly stating that goal.  But it is common for host countries to increase their sport funding in advance of the Olympic Games. …

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The Tragic Death of Georgian Luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili Reminds Us of Some Important Legal Lessons

The 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver/Whistler received high praise indeed. And although these winter Olympics were one of the best, any evaluation cannot (and will not) forget the tragedy of the Games. John Furlong, VANOC chairman, in a recent talk with the Vancouver Board of Trade said, "I don't think you can talk about the Games without talking about Nodar [Kumaritashvili].…

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Hilary Findlay and Colleague Publish Several Articles

Hilary Findlay, along with her colleague Marcus Mazzucco from the University of Victoria, have recently had a couple of articles accepted for publication in American law journals. One article, titled Degrees of Intervention in Sport-Specific Arbitration: Are We Moving Towards a Universal Model of Decision-Making?

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Degrees of Intervention in Sport-Specific Arbitration: Are We Moving Towards a Universal Model of Decision-Making?

Independent and specialized dispute resolution is an accepted and integral part of the sport bureaucracy internationally and, increasingly so, within national sport systems. Independent arbitration has been operating in the United States since 1978 and in the People’s Republic of China since 1995.…

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Girls Playing on Boys' Teams

Girls wanting to play on boys' teams.... This human rights issue has cropped up again, several times in fact, in the past short while. This timely column is about what the law actually says about girls trying out for boys' teams and addresses some of the issues that are often raised around the issue - and which deserve serious thought.…

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Employee or Contractor? A New Perspective

The recent Ontario court decision of McKee v Reids Heritage Homes Ltd (RHH) has created yet another installment of the already confusing definition between who is an employee and who is a contractor.

Specifically, this case distinguished between an employee and a contractor and what significance the true nature of the relationship between the two terms can have on the status of the worker. …

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Olympic Reflections

I write this column the day after the close of the 2010 Paralympic Games. The months of February and March have been quite extraordinary for people like me who make a living in the amateur sport sector. Risks and legalities aside, I am convinced that these Games changed our country.…

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A Tale of Two Schools - Reflections on Risk Management

The St. John’s School Lake Temiskaming Canoe Tragedy (1978)
The Strathcona Tweedsmuir School Rogers Pass Avalanche Tragedy (2003)

As a consultant working in the sport and recreation sector, these two school-based tragedies, occurring 25 years apart, have enlightened my thinking about what is important in risk management.…

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Coaching in the Age of New Media

Ozzie Sawicki’s excellent Technology Solutions columns in this publication help us understand how new technologies are being adapted for use in coach-athlete interactions. Some of the new technologies he has featured are instructional tools, while others are media (plural of medium) that facilitate communication between the coach and the athlete.…

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Defamation Update - Grant v. Torstar Corp

The Supreme Court decision in Grant v. Torstar Corp gives insight into the ongoing legal tussle between freedom of expression vs. protection of reputation afforded by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Until now the balance had tilted in favour of protection of reputation, and against the media making assumptions and expressing opinions about a person’s character or conduct.…

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The Mini-Trial: A Concept Whose Time Has Come?

If you google “mini-trial’ you will get several hundred thousand 'hits' telling you that a mini-trial is a form of alternative dispute resolution that promotes the resolution of disputes in ways that are less costly, time-consuming and acrimonious.

The British Columbia Attorney General’s office describes a mini-trial as follows:

“A mini-trial is a private meeting between you and the defendant (and your lawyers, if you have them) and a judge or master where you both will present, briefly and without witnesses, the facts of your case.

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Case Comment - Sagen v. VANOC Appeal (2009)

Bruce Kidd (sport historian, Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education & Health at the University of Toronto and a former Olympian) describes the ski jumping feats of the Wurtle twins of Montreal back in the 1930's [1]. Seventy-seven years later, women will not be part of the ski jumping competition at the 2010 Canadian Winter Olympic Games.…

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Social Media Deserves More of Your Attention

Social media has graduated into the lives of adults and professionals. Skype is not just for webcamming teenagers, but also for business people on conference calls. Google Wave took the best parts of social media like Facebook, and combined them into a massive collaborative workspace.…

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Changes to Monetary Limits in Ontario Small Claims Court

On January 1, 2010 a number of changes to Ontario rules of civil procedure took effect, including a change to the monetary limit for awards in small claims court. Previously the maximum award that could be won in small claims was $10,000, but this amount has now been raised to $25,000.…

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Linking Sport4Life with Management by Values: How Values Can Improve the Performance of Sport Organizations

A force for good – that is what most not-for-profit sport organizations set out to become. For that very reason, sport often attracts dynamic, passionate and dedicated people who are as driven to succeed as the coaches and athletes their organization supports.…

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Coaches' Duty of Care Revisited

Previously in this column we have written about the duty of care of coaches towards athletes. A new case from British Columbia (Hussack v. School District No. 33 (Chilliwack)) involving a physical education teacher sends a strong message, and we think it is worth providing an update on the duty of care coaches owe to their athletes.…

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Procedural Fairness in Sport - The Flip Side of the Risk Management Coin

Question:
My son is active in club sports. He would like to switch to a different team to join his friends, but a representative of the league says he cannot unless we get a release, which is highly unlikely. He’s only a kid wanting to have fun – are these rules for real?

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Full Team Ahead: The Benefits of Team Sport to Canadian Sport

We know that sport and physical activity produce positive health effects in individuals. However, until now the particular value of team sports to Canadian sport has not been explored. The first order of business of the Canadian Team Sport Coalition (made up of the organizing bodies of 19 Canadian team sports) was to complete this exploration.…

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Human Resources Guide for Community Sport: Managing Employees

This Guide, authored by Barb Schimnowsky, is a human resources handbook to support the professional development of local sport clubs and associations. Designed for club executive members and administrators to assist in the management of paid employees, the Guide offers best practices, employment resources and numerous templates that may be adapted to suit any organization.…

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What is the Standard of Care of Coaches Towards Athletes?

Or for that matter, what is the standard of care of teachers to students, or instructors to participants? A recent court case of British Columbia involving a junior high school teacher and a student in a physical education class provides a good reminder of this standard (Hussack v.

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Strategic Planning - Let's Try Something New!

We had the opportunity to attend an interesting session on strategic planning at the Sport Leadership Conference in Vancouver earlier this month, involving presentations by Richard Way, Carolyn Trono of Rowing Canada Aviron and Peter Montopoli of the Canadian Soccer Association.…

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Ontario Bans Use of Handheld Devices While Driving

The Ontario government recently passed Bill 118 – Countering Distracted Driving and Promoting Green Transportation Act. While Ontario is not the first jurisdiction in Canada to do this, it is the largest province to impose such a ban. The result of the new law is that drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices (cell phones, pagers, Blackberrys, GPSs and even MP3 players such as I-pods) while driving.…

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Coaches of Canada and CCES Roll Out National Code of Conduct and Canadian Policy on Prohibited Conduct

Coaches of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) recently distributed the above two policy documents to sports administrators throughout Canada. The Code and Policy seek to create a national, coordinated mechanism whereby organizations can discipline those who engage in prohibited conduct in sport.…

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Case Comment - Hussack v. School District No. 33 (Chilliwack), (2009)

Devon Hussack was a Grade 7 student when he was injured by a field hockey stick in a physical education class. Devon had not attended school for the first few weeks of the field hockey unit. He had a chronic history of school absences.…

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Case Comment - Wong v. Lok’s Martial Arts Centre Inc. (2009)

Victor Wong, a 12-year-old boy, was injured after being thrown to the floor during a sparring session at Lok’s Martial Arts Centre.  Wong’s mother, Yen To, had previously attended the class and decided to enroll her sons as well. Before enrolling her sons, Michael Lok (the owner and operator of the Centre) required Yen To sign the following document on behalf of her children:

It is expressly agreed that all exercises and treatments, and use of all facilities shall be undertaken by the student’s sole risk.

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Tapping the Performance Potential of Your Organization's Values

Organizational values are often described as the glue that connects your mission to your vision. What we know to be true, however, is that in the absence of stated, agreed-to, and lived values, people default to their own set of personal values to make decisions, prioritize, or resolve conflicts.…

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Is Your Organization Ready for a Crisis?

The adage “failing to plan means planning to fail” applies to risk management in sport. Many sport organizations have learned the hard way that they might have benefited enormously from having planned ahead to deal with a sudden incident, emergency, scandal or crisis.…

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Including Transitioning and Transitioned Athletes in Sport: Issues, Facts and Perspectives

The purpose of this discussion paper is to promote respectful dialogue, consultation and action concerning the participation of transitioning and transitioned athletes in sport. As is evident in this paper, it is not possible or useful to view this complex topic through a lens that separates societal and sport performance expectations.…

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Balancing the Responsibilities of Multiple Roles

Question:

I am a member of a board of directors of a sport organization – my daughter is an athlete member of this organization. I sometimes hear people say that I am in a “conflict of interest position” and should not participate in some decisions the Board makes.

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Looking Forward - 2009

For this column, we thought each of us from the Centre for Sport and Law would pitch in, sharing our thoughts on some recent legal events and looking forward to some new developments in Canadian sport.

Earlier this spring, we listened with interest to the news stories about the trial following the death of Manny Castillo, a teenage high school rugby player.…

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Using Waiver Agreements in Sports

Question:

When I register my child for a sport program, we are asked to sign a waiver form. Do these have any legal meaning?

Answer:

Any adult who is physically active, or who is a parent with children involved in sports, has signed waivers at one time or another.…

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Ontario Passes Apology Act

Earlier this year, Ontario passed the Apology Act, which now allows an individual or organization to offer an apology as part of a dispute resolution process without concern over legal liability. The Apology Act provides that an apology made in relation to a civil matter does not constitute an admission of fault or liability and would not be admissible in a civil proceeding.…

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Sport Canada Establishes a New Policy on Women and Sport

It only took 23 years, but Canada has a new policy on Women and Sport. Actively Engaged: a Policy on Sport for Women and Girls and the accompanying Action Plan, 2009-2012, were launched at the Canada Summer Games in PEI in August, but are back-dated to take effect January 1, 2009.The…

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Case Law Comment - Sagen v. VANOC (2009)

On July 10, 2009, the 15 women ski jumpers (the Skiers) suing the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) lost their bid for inclusion in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver/Whistler. Madame Justice Fenlon, of the BC Supreme Court, did however find that the omission of female ski jumpers is discriminatory but that control over which events are part of the Olympic Games rests with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), not VANOC.…

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It's Just How I Feel: Lessons in Procedural Justice

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you were treated unfairly? Most of us have at one time or another. Certainly we have heard others complain that a selection process was not fair or that someone hearing a dispute did not decide the matter fairly.…

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Overtime: A Ticking Time Bomb?

Curiously, we have been approached three times in the last month by sport organizations confronted with requests from employees to be paid out for significant accumulated overtime hours.  In all cases, these claims have proved legitimate. A warning bell is ringing here!…

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Harassment - Some Definitions and Guidelines for Coaches and Athletes

The harm of harassment
Harassment has been a “hot” issue in sport for many years. It’s not that harassment in the sport environment is new – it’s just that it is now more visible and is receiving more attention and discussion.…

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Some Thoughts on the Rapid Growth of Social Media

by Rachel Corbett.

If you have been reading the newspapers lately you will know that the world is a-twitter about Twitter and that Facebook long ago ceased to be the idle pursuit of university students. If you have teenage children you might have also noticed that they don’t use e-mail and in fact, they don’t even watch TV anymore.…

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Sex Discrimination in Sport: An Update

By Hilary Findlay

In one legal ruling, an all female fitness club is not required to provide membership to a man, yet in another, a scholastic hockey league is required to allow a female player onto a boy’s team. Such seemingly contradictory decisions can leave sport leaders scratching their heads about what might, and might not, constitute sex discrimination in sport.…

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Book Review - The Great Traits of Champions: Fundamentals for Achievers, Leaders and Legacy Leavers (2008)

Readers of this website will likely know of both Mark Tewksbury and Debbie Muir, authors of the recently released book, The Great Traits of Champions: Fundamentals for Achievers, Leaders and Legacy Leavers. Mark is a former swimmer, winner of three Olympic medals and holder of seven world records, while Debbie is a former synchronized swimming coach, who coached Canadian teams to seven world championships and four Olympic medals.…

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Conflict of Interest - The Sport Organization's 'Achilles Heel'

Many times in this column we have written about a dimension of fairness – a concept that is central to the integrity of sport and also central to how individuals ought to act and interact in sport. What does fairness mean in the context of athlete selection?…

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Keynote Address - Royal Canadian Golf Association

by Rachel Corbett.

Thank you very much Scott. Good evening ladies and gentlemen, Directors and Governors, members of the Provincial Council, members of Committees, voting delegates, Branch representatives, staff of Branches and of the RCGA, and invited guests.

When I was first invited to be your speaker this evening, I immediately had three concerns: one, I will have to tell a golf joke!…

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Renewal of Your Organization Through a Value-Based Governance Audit

For many national sport bodies, this is the time to debrief on the Olympic and Paralympic experience, take stock and begin planning for the next four or eight years. This is a time when there are opportunities for renewal of employees, employment relationships and volunteer opportunities.…

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The Seven Sins of Board Dysfunction

Practicing a Trade Without a License

This describes the board director who has done no preparation to become better informed about his/her role as a director. The most common manifestations are the director who wears so many 'hats' that he has lost sight of his 'duty of loyalty'.…

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Risk Management Revisited ... or, Values Matter

We started writing this column 15 years ago. Our inaugural column was titled ‘personal risk management’. Written in 1994, we compared the then-new Coaching Code of Ethics to a survival guide which, if properly understood and acted upon, could form a part of every coach’s personal risk management program.…

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Case Law Comment - Football Canada and the Taxman

Registered Canadian amateur athletic associations (also termed RCAAAs) are non-profit organizations that were established for the primary purpose of promoting amateur athletics in Canada on a nationwide basis.  These organizations are registered as such under the Income Tax Act (the Act) and have the authority to issue official donation receipts for income tax purposes.…

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From Blainey to Pasternak: Are We Making Progress?

Today, as a general rule, girls will be permitted to play on boys’ teams unless there is a reasonable justification for segregating activity on the basis of their sex. The question at the root of this paper is whether the judicial consideration of gender discrimination cases in sport has actually enhanced opportunities for girls and women to participate in sport in this country.…

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Canada Raises Legal Age of Consent

The term “age of consent” is the age at which one is legally allowed to engage in sexual activity. In June 2006, the Harper government introduced Bill C-15, the Tackling Violent Crime Act, to raise the legal age of consent in Canada from 14 to 16.…

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Do You Know Who Your Members Are?

During the last several months, the Centre for Sport and Law has been asked by sport organizations to help in the implementation of their discipline and appeal policies, specifically as they relate to member behaviour that is in violation of the organization’s code of conduct or code of ethics.…

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Preparing for Beijing: Are You Dispute-Ready?

At the Sport Law & Strategy Group we often say that the months leading up to an Olympic Games are our "legal Olympics". This is a time when we get very busy helping sport organizations manage the disputes that arise when athletes are named to, or left off, Olympic teams.…

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Management by Values

The time has never been better for sport organizations to consider the important role of values in their mandate and activities, and the contribution that ‘management by values’ can make in their operations. It is our view that the major challenge facing sport in Canada today is creating and sustaining fundamental, strong connections between and among the different and disparate elements of the sport system.…

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Improving Your Selection Policies

Selection issues are important any time of the year and in any year. In the past six months we were very occupied with selection disputes relating to the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sport bodies are also involved in developing selection criteria for Quest For Gold, Canada Summer Games and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympics.…

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Case Law Comment: CURIE v. CGU Insurance Company of Canada (2007)

By Rachel Corbett

This Ontario Court of Appeal decision from the fall of 2007 created quite a stir among sport organizations in Ontario. Although the case was entirely a dispute between two insurers about who should bear the cost of an insurance claim, the case went to the heart of a sport organization’s bylaws – that obscure policy document that few people understand or pay attention to.…

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Case Law Comment - Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association v. Pasternak et al. (2008)

Recently, there have been a number of situations that have raised questions about whether females can participate in all-male sport activities and, conversely, whether males can participate in all-female sport activities – and if so, under what circumstances. In our Fall 2006 Newsletter we reviewed the case of Pasternak v.…

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Seeing the Invisible, Speaking about the Unspoken - A Position Paper on Homophobia in Sport

Canada is a global leader in promoting sport environments and experiences that are safe and inclusive. Harassment, bullying, violence and homophobia undermine the powerful potential of sport to contribute to personal, social and community development. This position paper prepared by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) is designed to initiate a discussion among Canadian sport leaders on homophobia in sport.…

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Book Review - Legal Issues in Sport: Tools and Techniques for the Sport Manager (2007)

In a brilliantly straight-forward and understandable way, authors Rachel Corbett, Hilary Findlay and David Lech have identified and elucidated the “must know” components from years of experience in legal and risk management issues in the publishing of this book. The three individuals comprise the consulting firm, Centre for Sport and Law, and their expertise in understanding the Canadian legal system and applying it to the context of sport is clearly apparent in Legal Issues in Sport.…

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What We Have Learned From Managing Appeals

Fifteen years ago the Centre for Sport and Law began writing appeal policies for sport organizations. In 1995 we published a handbook on the topic (Administrative Appeals - A Handbook for Sport Organizations) and in 2000 we did a second handbook (So You’ve Got a Complaint – The Hearing Process from Start to Finish).…

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It's an Olympic Year - What Coaches Need to Know About Selection Disputes

Canada is like many other countries that have, in recent years, created third-party dispute resolution mechanisms to deal with sport-related disputes. The earliest such system was created in the United States in 1978, when the Amateur Sports Act directed certain types of amateur sports disputes to the American Arbitration Association.…

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Case Comment: AYSA v. Canada Revenue Agency (2007)

Can Sport Organizations Register as a Charity?

It is not often the Supreme Court of Canada hears a case involving sport. Yet on 16 May 2007 it heard an appeal in the case of Amateur Youth Soccer Association (AYSA) v. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).…

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What is Fair? B.C. Schools Case Fails to Meet the Required Threshold

We are often asked to help sport organizations administer internal hearings to ensure procedures are carried out properly, thus reducing the chance of a complaint or dispute being appealed or brought to court for judicial review. In this column, we report on a recent case from BC involving school sports that turned on the issue of what is ‘fair’ in internal proceedings that do not involve lawyers.…

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What to Do When 1% of Your Members Cause 99% of Your Problems?

Sound familiar? Although this topic has very little to do with the law, we are nonetheless often called upon by client organizations for help. Over the years we have encountered scenarios such as:

  • A parent, volunteer or member having issue with a staff person and continually harassing them or complaining about them to others, to the point of malicious defamation
  • A vocal and high-profile athlete repeatedly challenging every decision of the organization through complaints and appeals
  • A volunteer going to great lengths to seek redress for some perceived former ill-treatment
  • A newly-elected president having interpersonal conflicts with others and appearing to be on a push to force them from their positions
  • The volunteer, director or committee chair who is a ‘bully’ that no one will stand up to
  • A suspended or expelled member seeking reinstatement through a campaign of threats and defamation

These sound like extreme examples but they’re really not.…

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When Music is Played at Your Event, Who Pays the Piper?

Think of the last time you attended a sporting event in an arena, gym or stadium – chances are you heard music played for the warm-up, during the intermission or between periods, and thought nothing of the legal ramifications of that.…

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Staying on the Lookout for Fraud - Some Risk Management Advice

In the last 6 months we have helped two of our client organizations, PSOs in two different provinces, deal with the aftermath of employee theft. For one organization, the outcome was the loss of tens of thousands of dollars, none of which is likely recoverable from the former executive director.…

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Encourage Good Sports for Better Sports

By Rachel Corbett

Fourteen years ago in this space I wrote an article about injury prevention and liability in recreation (Could This Happen to You? Recreation Workers Can Take Steps to Prevent Injuries and Avoid Liability, Law Now 17:8.

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A Little Knowledge Can Go A Long Way - Understanding The Principles Behind Doping Decisions

Arbitration decisions from the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) are always interesting to read – there is a compelling story in each one. Their importance, however, lies in the guidance they give. In this column we examine doping decisions that have been rendered since 2005, when doping matters first came under the jurisdiction of the SDRCC.…

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Case Law Comment - R. v. AFC Soccer

This case pertains to sentencing for a charge under Sec. 42(1)(a) of the Copyright Act. This Section states, in part, that ‘Every person who knowingly …makes for sale or rental an infringing copy of a work or other subject-matter in which copyright subsists ….is

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IOC Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport

On 8 February 2007, the IOC Executive Board adopted a Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport (PDF: IOC Consensus Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport). The document flows out of an October 2006 conference on the topic convened by the IOC Medical Commission.…

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Changes to Ontario Human Rights Act

On 20 December 2006, the revisions to the Ontario Human Rights Act came into effect (Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2006). In the past, the Ontario Human Rights Commission engaged in investigations, among other matters, and acted as a sort of gatekeeper for complaints going forward to hearings before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.…

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Case Law Comment – Resurface Corp v. Hanke (2007)

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled in the case of Resurfice Corp. v Hanke (2007 SCC 7) and shed new light on one of the four elements of negligence. Ralph Hanke operated an ice-resurfacing machine at an Edmonton rink, and was horribly injured when an explosion occurred, after Hanke put water into the gas tank.…

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Case Law Comment - Ceccol v. Ontario Gymnastics Federation (1999)

A fundamental principle in employment law is that when terminating a contract without cause, an employer must give reasonable notice. This principle is not absolute however, as it does not apply to fixed-term contracts, as these contracts simply run their course and then cease.…

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So you want to be a contractor?

by Rachel Corbett.

Most working relationships in sport organizations are relationships of employment, governed by employment standards legislation. In some cases, however, individuals such as coaches may perform services for a sport organization under an independent contract, and these relationships are governed by contract law.…

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Workplace Law Quiz!

Are you up to speed on employment law issues in your workplace?  Take this quiz to test your knowledge!

1.        An employment contract for an indefinite term provides notice periods for termination that match the statutory minimum in employment standards legislation but no more.…

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Copyright Quiz!

QUESTION 1: Your organization hires a person to write a technical manual. It now wishes to allow affiliated clubs use and copy the manual. Can they do this?

QUESTION 2: Can a website be copyrighted?

QUESTION 3: Is it essential to register a copyright with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)?…

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To Coach or to Direct - Is There a Conflict?

Increasingly, we are seeing coaches become members of Boards of Directors of sport organizations with which they coach. Perhaps this is part of the move by many sport organizations to select board members on the basis of expertise as opposed to representation based on regional affiliation.…

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Maintaining 'Fairness' in Investigations and Hearings

Occasionally in this column we are able to write about actual sport cases. This is a treat, as normally we draw from general cases, extracting their principles and interpreting them in the sporting context. In this column, we will write about lessons learned from the 2004 Alberta case, Paterson v.…

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Increased Commercialization of Athletics Requires Sophisticated Athlete Agreements

From an international sport perspective, the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games are just around the corner. These imminent Games will have an enormous policy, sport funding and commercial impact on the Canadian sport system. Some might say that the commercial aspect of an Olympics now rivals the athletic spectacle of the event.…

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Case Comment - Pasternak v. Manitoba High School Sports Association (2006)

Most people have now heard about the Pasternak twins, who complained to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission when the Manitoba High School Sports Association (MHSSA) would not let them play on their high school boys’ ice hockey team. The Manitoba Human Rights Tribunal found that the Pasternak girls had been discriminated against on the basis of their sex.…

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Form Follows Function - A Governance Discussion Paper for National and Provincial Sport Organization

It has been my observation that the business of amateur sport in Canada has become increasingly complex and sophisticated in recent years, yet the governance structures in place to lead amateur sport bodies have lagged behind.

Over the past several years, I have been invited by many national and provincial sport organizations in Canada to assist with governance reform efforts, in order to overcome this gap between governance and operations.…

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A New View of Athlete Agreements

In a recent issue of the newsmagazine The Lawyer's Weekly, we wrote about the changing landscape of sport as we move rapidly toward the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. We observed that sport in Canada has taken a decidedly commercial turn as the Canadian Olympic Committee, the local Olympic organizing Committee, national sport federations and Canadian corporations jockey for sponsorship, marketing and advertising turf relating to these games.…

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Scope of Review, Standard of Review and Authority to Grant a Remedy: An Analysis of Three Policy-Based Rules in a Sport-Specific Arbitration Process

The purpose of this paper is to examine how certain prescribed rules of an arbitration process can serve as instruments of sport policy. Three rules of the arbitration process (scope of review of the adjudicator, standard of review to define an error, and the adjudicator's scope of authority to grant a remedy) are closely examined.…

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Transgendered and Transitioned Athletes in the Sport System

This short piece is a challenge to the prevailing belief that transgendered and transitioned athletes will always have an unfair competitive advantage. The science is very slim on this topic and the purpose of this brief is to open readers' minds to the possibility that athletes who undergo gender transition can be fairly and justly accommodated in sport.…

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Suspending a Coach Before a Hearing

Unfortunately, there are times when coaches are the subject of serious complaints of misconduct. Most organizations have in place a discipline process for dealing with such complaints (and if they do not have a discipline policy, they certainly should have). Regardless of the type of process, or how well it works, or how efficient the organization might be in pursuing a discipline matter, it still takes some time.…

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The Coach-Athlete Relationship: A Legal View

Recently, we were asked to investigate cases of alleged coach misconduct that raise the question, is this specific coach in a position of trust with regard to this specific athlete? There is no debate that coaches play an extremely important role in the development of an athlete.…

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Centre for Sport and Law Assists Amateur Athletes Across Canada

With a few exceptions, clients organizations come to the Centre for Sport and Law without a clear ideas of what they want or need. All they know is that they have a problem.

The Centre for Sport and Law is a small company of four professionals who work exclusively in the Canadian amateur sport community.…

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When Is a Deadline Not a Deadline?

We have spent the last 15 years urging sport organizations to follow their rules, and at every opportunity doing our best to convey the message that the organization that deviates from their rules does so at their peril.

Now, there is a new twist to this subject.…

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Police Records Checks

[NOTE: An updated post on Criminal Records Checks was published in January 2016]

Some years ago in this column we wrote about volunteer screening and police records checks, shortly on the heels of Sheldon Kennedy’s 1997 disclosure about sexual abuse by his minor hockey coach.…

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Information Package on Legal Issues for Coaches

More than ever before, coaches are aware of the risks and responsibilities they assume when they coach. These risks and responsibilities include those that are legal in nature. No matter what their certification level, experience, employment or volunteer status, sport discipline, or location of residence, coaches at all times have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment for participants.…

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The Future is Bright - LGBT Sport

When I began to work for the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association, I had no idea what to expect. As a seasoned professional from the mainstream sports world, I anticipated the usual challenges that come with the task of building sport.…

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A Reason for Coaches to Know the Rules and Stay Engaged

It is not often that there is a case coming from the Canadian courts dealing explicitly with a coach. So, when there is one, it is important that we report on it. While it is unfortunate that this case occurred at all, there are lessons that can be drawn from it.…

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Centre for Sport and Law Newsletter - Inaugural Issue

Here is our first on-line newsletter, published in 2004. In it we review new Industry Canada requirements for corporations, PIPEDA (privacy laws) compliance, and lessons from Olympic selection disputes (Athens).

Read more  (PDF): Centre for Sport and Law Newsletter vol. 1(1)

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Privacy Rights - It's a New Age

On January 1, 2004, all sport organizations in much of Canada, including national bodies, provincial bodies, and local clubs became subject to a new piece of federal legislation relating to privacy rights. The statute is called Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA, and it has come into force in all but the three provinces – British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec – which recently passed their own, similar privacy legislation.…

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Case Law Comment: McKay v. Flin Flon Junior Bomber Hockey Club, Inc. (1999) Man. QB

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.

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Case Comment: Michaud v. Grand Falls Golf Club (1990) 50 CCLI 264 (NBCA)

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.

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Coaching Contracts - Do You Know What Yours Says?

It doesn’t matter whether you are a volunteer coach or a paid coach, or whether, as a paid coach, you are an employee of a sport organization or an independent contractor – there are always terms and conditions attached to your position.…

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Coaches as Innovators

In the Spring 1999 issue of Coaches Report we discussed intellectual property when we wrote about the right of personality. Given that intellectual property, or ‘IP’ as it is known in marketing and legal circles, has become increasingly important as a source of revenue for sport organizations, we think it’s time to revisit the topic.…

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Backgrounder on "PIPEDA" - Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

As of January 1, 2004 the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) applies to all organizations during the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the course of any commercial activity within a province, as well as inter-provincial and international transactions.…

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The Collection, Use and Disclosure of Pictures and Images: A Discussion Paper

by Steve Indig.

It is common practice for organizations to post images and pictures of athletes and members of their organization on web sites or in other publications for the purpose of marketing or providing information about the organization. It is important to be familiar with Canadian case law and the Protection of Personal Information and Electronics Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) to understand the risks and liabilities associated with publicly displaying pictures when consent to do so has not been obtained.…

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Case Comment: R. v. Gollan (2000)

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.

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Diagnosing Disputes

This winter we have been teaching a new course at Brock University on negotiation skills for sport managers. We have structured the course around two themes: negotiating the dispute and negotiating the deal. The same techniques are used in both pursuits, and we think that these skills are critical for all sport leaders, including coaches.…

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A Guide to Employment Contracts for Coaches

This handbook is written for the paid coach who works part-time or full-time in a coaching position for a sport organization, club, educational institution, and/or a combination of these employers. The purpose of this handbook is three-fold: 1. to explain the critical distinction between an employee relationship and a contractor relationship; 2.…

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Case Comment - Kettunen v. Sicamous Fireman's Club (1999) British Columbia Supreme Court

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.…

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Defamation.com

In July 2002, an Ontario court issued one of the largest Canadian defamation awards for Internet libel - $400,000. The court found that the defendant had threatened to publish, and had in fact published, a number of allegations and lies on at least seven web sites.…

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Provincial Laws and Screening

Screening in Canada is subject to a complex set of criminal, civil, constitutional and administrative statutes, combined with a substantial body of common law. Taken together, these laws form a regulatory regime that applies to those organizations and individuals, both paid and volunteer, who work with children, youth and other vulnerable persons.…

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Resolving Disputes Through Negotiation

Over the years of writing this column, it is clear that nearly every aspect of a coach's work has some underlying legal element. We have written about the coach's obligations to maintain a safe environment and to make decisions fairly, and in more recent years, we have touched on a broad range of topics including volunteer screening, nutritional supplements, publicity rights, restraint of trade, bullies, job descriptions, performance evaluation and professionalism in coaching.…

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Book Review - Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (1999)

In the Knowing the Law column in the last issue of Coaches Report , we observed that the most pressing issue that coaches appear to be facing today are related to their communications, conflicts and negotiations with others. If this observation is accurate, then this is a must-read book for all coaches.…

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Violence in Sport Part II - Dealing With Violence as a Legal Issue

In the last issue, we discussed the topic of violence in sport from the criminal law perspective, specifically in the context of a charge of assault. An increasing number of violent acts occurring during competitive sport events are being addressed using "tort law."…

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Case Comment - Bazley v. Curry (The Children's Foundation) 1999, 2 SCR 534

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.

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Lessons From a Decade of Selection Disputes

Anticipating that there might be some disputes over selection to the Canadian team competing at the Salt Lake City Olympics, the Centre for Sport and Law compiled a background binder of legal cases. We collected and reviewed about 30 cases taken from the courts as well as from private tribunals such as internal appeal panels and external arbitration panels.…

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Violence in Sport Part I - It's Your Responsibility Too

This is the first of a two-part column on the legal parameters of violence in sport. Part one focuses on a criminal law perspective. Part two will look at the issue from a civil (or tort) law perspective.

Why might this information be useful and important to the coach?…

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The Key Components of a Profession

This fall we attended a two-day workshop on professional discipline and regulation. Organized for professional associations such as those governing dentists, nurses, architects, accountants and veterinarians, we participated with a view to learning more about how the sport community in general, and the profession of coaching in particular, could improve their disciplinary mechanisms.…

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Legal Liability and Risk Management: A Handbook for Directors

By Rachel Corbett.

According to the 2000 National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, over 40 percent of Canadian volunteers hold positions on boards and committees. These hundreds of thousands of leaders in the voluntary sector are to be applauded and supported for their willingness to take on the responsibilities associated with such directorships, and the corresponding risks.…

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Principles Underlying the Adjudication of Selection Disputes Preceding the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games: Notes for Adjudicators

Selection disputes inevitably arise prior to any major games such as an Olympics. Prior to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, some 25 team selection disputes were heard in Canada. In anticipation of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, an ad-hoc arbitration system was put in place in Canada to deal with these disputes.…

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Risk Management for Sport Organizations and Sport Facilities

INTRODUCTION

Risk is an integral element of sport. Sport without risk would cease to be sport. This unique aspect of sport must be factored into any discussion of risk management within sport facilities, programs and events. A second unique aspect of risk management in sport is that the overwhelming majority of opportunities to participate in sport in Canada arise out of the efforts of private, voluntary organizations.…

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Violence in Sport: Policy Considerations for the Amateur Sport Organization

Reports of violent sport incidents are becoming startlingly frequent. In 1996, members of the University of Moncton hockey team (including players and an assistant coach) attacked the official over what they perceived to be a controversial goal at the end of the game.…

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Book Review - Performance Appraisal for Sport and Recreation Managers

Performance appraisal of coaches. We talk about it a great deal, but all too often don't do it. When we do evaluate coaches, we often don't do it well.

Coach performance appraisals are critical, as they form the basis upon which major decisions are made, including decisions to reward or terminate coaches.…

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Doing Something About Bad Coaches

For over a decade part of our business has been helping sport organizations, coaches and athletes resolve their differences. In an average week we receive one or two telephone inquiries seeking advice on how to deal with situations of perceived coach misconduct.…

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Case Comment: Pritchard v. Ontario Human Rights Commission, Ontario Divisional Court (1999)

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.

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Case Comment: Robinson v. Fraser Wharves Limited (2000), British Columbia Supreme Court

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.

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The Responsibilities of Supervision

Many coaches engage in instructional activities as part of their coaching position. No one will dispute that part of the responsibility of the coach/instructor is to supervise athletes and activities going on within sport facilities. The safety of athletes and other participants must always be a paramount consideration.…

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The Bully Problem

The bully has been around sport for quite some time.

While the topics of harassment and abuse have received considerable attention (and are certainly problems about which we need to be vigilant), bullying is a much more pervasive and insidious behaviour in sport.…

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Federal Law and Social Policy

There is no single source of law in Canada that governs screening. Criminal, civil, constitutional and administrative statutes are all relevant to those organizations and individuals who carry out screening. As well, the common law has clearly established that organizations providing programs and services to people in the community have a legal duty to ensure the safety and well-being of those persons whom they serve.…

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New studies shed light on nandrolone

Nandrolone is a banned substance under the IOC Anti-Doping Code when it is found at levels exceeding 2 ng/ml in men and 5 ng/ml in women. Unlike most banned steroids, nandrolone occurs naturally in the human body. In a 1999 study, it was found that approximately half of the test subjects produced nandrolone metabolites at trace levels (on average, 6 ng/ml).

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Defamation Part II - You Can't Say That!!

In the last edition of Coaches Report, we wrote about defamation (Part I); that is, comments or statements that tarnish or destroy a person's reputation in the minds of others. We identified the three elements that make a communication defamatory:

  • A written or spoken communication must be made to a third person;
  • The communication must convey a defamatory meaning or be capable of being interpreted in a defamatory manner.
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Job Descriptions

A coach is a coach. Right? Wrong. We often think of coaching as a single job. But in fact, there are many different tasks that can go into the job of being a coach. These tasks might include recruiting athletes, liaising with parents, planning training regimes, monitoring fitness levels, designing strength and conditioning programs, supervising training and competition schedules, assisting individual athletes with personal goal-setting, organizing facilities and equipment, developing team selection criteria, selecting teams, and doing all the administrative work that accompanies a competitive schedule.…

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Playing Russian Roulette with Supplements: Coaches Need to Know

Getting that extra edge. Vitamin, mineral, herbal and other nutritional supplements are becoming an increasingly important part of the athlete's quest to achieve peak athletic performance. Yet recently we have witnessed a rash of positive doping tests and in many cases nutritional supplements are being pinpointed as the culprit.…

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Defamation Part I - You Can't Say That!!

Defamation! The threat of libel and slander is being heard more often these days. We may think we know what defamation is and how far we can go in making comments about another person. But sometimes we step over the line of what is legally acceptable unwittingly or simply because we are caught up in an emotionally charged and unfortunate situation.…

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Keeping Canadian Sport Drug-Free: Anti-Drug Programs in Canada are the Strictest to be Found Anywhere

First, an independent adjudicator decides to reinstate Eric Lamaze from a lifetime sports ban. Then the Canadian Olympic Association decides to deny him a spot on the Canadian Olympic team competing in Sydney.

These two rulings have created a swirl of controversy.…

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Case Comment: Szecket v. Huang (1998) Ontario Court of Appeal

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.

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The Rights of Athletes, Coaches and Participants in Sport

This is a chapter prepared for, and excerpted from a sport and law textbook published by Canadian Scholars Press. Its focus is the sport organization's duty to be fair in its dealings with athletes, coaches and other members. Citing abundant case law examples and written in plain language, this chapter illustrates procedural fairness and explains the application of legal principles to the rules of fairness, including matters of disclosure and bias.…

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Waivers - A How-To Guide

Waivers of liability are commonplace in sport, fitness and outdoor programs. Most active people have at one time or another signed a waiver. Most organizers of sport programs have at one time or another asked their participants to sign waivers, and insurance brokers frequently recommend or insist that waivers be used.…

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Case Comment: Mediated Agreement Between David Morrison, the City of Coquitlam, and the Deputy Chief Commissioner, British Columbia Human Rights Commission (1999)

Why This Case May Interest You

This case involved a settlement reached by the parties in a human rights complaint. The complaint alleged gender discrimination in municipal subsidies to sport and recreation facilities and programs. Although the case is not precedent-setting as a court case would be, the case has made it clear that complaints about municipal subsidies disproportionately favouring male-dominated sports over female-dominated sports will likely be heard by human rights tribunals.…

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More Coaches Being Sued

Another selection matter, and two more coaches are named in a lawsuit. But this one is a bit different. No matter what the outcome of a selection exercise, there is always going to be someone who is somewhat deflated. After all, the objective is to be selected to the team and anything less is going to carry with it some disappointment.…

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Policy Planning and Dispute Management in the Non-Profit Sector

The Charitable and Non-profit sector in Canada has experienced unprecedented changes in the 1990's. As senior levels of government spend less and transfer more responsibilities downwards to municipalities and community agencies, Canadian charities and non-profit organizations have been left with fewer resources to meet rising demand for services.…

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Vicarious Liability: Two New Supreme Court Decisions

In almost every newsletter and law update we have read recently, two new Supreme Court of Canada decisions have been written up. So, not to be left out in the cold, we will write about them, too. In reality, these two decisions are very important to any sport organization.…

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Whose Public Persona? - The Common Law Right of Publicity

The corporate message was clear - use this service associated with the successful coach and athlete, and you too will be successful. There was no doubt that the sporting image was powerful, and that the credibility of the coach and athlete duo reinforced the sponsor's image as a committed provider of quality services.…

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The Coach's "Discretion" in Making Selection Decisions

How much discretion should a coach have in selection decisions? How much discretion can a coach have? In the period leading up to the Pan Am Games we dealt with a flurry of appeals about selection decisions, many involving the issue of discretion.…

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About Criminal Records

What can you ask, or be asked, about criminal records? Questions about criminal records are increasingly common in volunteer and employment application forms with sport organizations -- and rightly so. But the way these questions are phrased can mean the difference between revealing important information and a wasted effort.…

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What The Johnson Decision Means to Canadian Sport

In a 60-page decision rendered on April 19, 1999, sprinter Ben Johnson was reinstated to sport eligibility in Canada. Independent adjudicator Graeme Mew concluded that the lifetime ban imposed on Johnson by Athletics Canada was excessive in the circumstances, a decision that has important ramifications for sport in Canada.…

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From Little League to Ben Johnson: Alternatives for Resolving Sports Disputes

By Graeme Mew

A constant challenge in any system of dispute resolution involves balancing the desirability of having fair procedures for the resolution of disputes against the availability of resources to administer dispute resolution programs. The quest for fairness is particularly challenging when dealing with organizations whose participants are volunteers and whose resources are dependent upon membership fees, local fundraising and donations.…

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This Sporting Life: Lawyers in Amateur Sports

It sure isn't the money that lures some of Canada's top legal practitioners to lend their time handling the legal affairs of penniless amateur sporting organizations, coaches and athletes. Sure, there's some referral business but mostly they do it because the clients really need the help, and the work is a lot of fun, too.…

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References - Risks and Responsibilities

At first glance, the issue of providing employment references - or asking for them - would seem straightforward: employees request a reference because they presume it will be positive; employers provide a reference because they want to assist employees in their job search.…

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Coach Handed Lifetime Penalty

In the first case review under the Canadian Policy on Penalties for Doping in Sport, heard last November, the Doping Control Review Panel found that a doping-related infraction had occurred and imposed a life-time penalty on Cecil Russell, the coach involved.…

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Harassment - What We are Learning About What We are Doing

Harassment has been a "hot" issue in sport over the past year. The high profile Sheldon Kennedy incident involving the sexual abuse of an athlete by a coach forced the sport community to forge a collective response to this new scrutiny of its activities and relationships.…

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Screening - It's a Fact of Sporting Life

Screening of coaches, whether paid or volunteer, is now an everyday occurrence. In fact, the sport organization that does not implement some form of screening probably runs a risk of failing to meet the standard of care now required by law.…

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Case Comment: Wallace v. United Grain Growers Ltd. (1997), 3 SCR 701

Court decisions are a critical source of information about the proper interpretation of the laws and rules that govern so many of our actions. Our goal with comments on case law is to provide you with an accurate summary of the main issues in the case, and to comment on the case's possible relevance.

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Restraint of Trade: Breathing New Life Into an Old Legal Doctrine

Can a sport organization stop, or limit a coach or athlete from earning a living through sport? This is the essence of the legal doctrine known as "restraint of trade". It is a doctrine that has been around for some time but has recently attracted new attention.…

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Responsibilities of the Coach/Director

Our column this issue is not about coaches. Instead, it is about directors, and we've chosen this topic because a good number of coaches also happen to be elected or appointed directors of sport organizations or clubs.

Wearing several hats is not uncommon in the sport realm, and remembering which hat you're wearing can be confusing!…

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Coaches and General Liability Insurance

Having general liability insurance coverage is something every coach should seriously consider. Apart from insurance being a sensible risk management tool, it is clear that in our increasingly litigious climate, the coach is not immune to lawsuits. There are many examples in case law where coaches have been included in the initial documents of a lawsuit even though they may later be absolved of allegations of negligence.…

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What Makes a Dispute Situation Fair - or Unfair?

Two recent situations involving the termination of coaches may shed some light on this question.

The first situation involves the termination of the Simon Fraser University (SFU) head swim coach. Liam Donnelly was dismissed from his full-time position after a campus committee found he had sexually harassed a former swimmer.…

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Employment Contracts for Coaches

In the Fall 1996 issue we made general comments relating to contracts. In this issue we will focus on employment contracts for coaches. The Canadian Professional Coaches Association will soon publish a compact handbook prepared by the Centre for Sport and Law and entitled "A Guide to Employment Contracts for Coaches".…

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What is the Standard in the Standard of Care?

The Supreme Court of Canada in April of this year quashed a decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal which had ordered a whole new trial in Mark Hamstra's suit against the B.C. Rugby Union, his former coach and the Langley School Board.…

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Getting Your Policies in Order

by Rachel Corbett.

I have been asked by the organizers of this symposium to provide a session on how to translate the many legal principles which are being discussed today into practical policies and procedures for you to use in your daily work with your sport organizations.…

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Fair Treatment

In the last five columns, we have focused on issues relating to negligence and liability of coaches. In this issue, we make a switch to the other side of risk management.

Organizers of sport programs (including coaches) have two obligations: one, to ensure a safe environment and two, to ensure fair treatment.…

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Some Basics on Contracts

Sport associations are using contracts more and more frequently, not only in business affairs but also in areas of employment and programming. For example, coaches sign employment contracts; athletes sign participation contracts with the sport association as well as with major Games organizations; organizations, suppliers and athletes sign sponsorship agreements; and participants in recreational sport sign waivers (a form of contract).…

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The Coach and the Selection Process

How much freedom does a coach have in the selection process? Should the coach even be making selection decisions? The natural inclination is to say the coach should be intimately involved in the selection of athletes and should have great discretion in making selection decisions.…

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Waivers - A Risk Management Technique

In the last issue we explained how contributory negligence was one defense against liability for negligence. "Waiver of liability agreements" (commonly referred to as "waivers") are another type of defense. Waivers are common in sport programs and facilities. Like insurance, waivers are a risk management technique which involves transferring liability for injuries from one party to another by means of a written contract.…

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The Standard of Care of Coaches Towards Athletes

This column is about the basics. It talks about the standard of care of coaches towards athletes. When coaches fail to meet this standard, they may be negligent, and when coaches are negligent, they may also be liable. An awareness of this standard, which the law imposes on coaches, is a powerful tool in minimizing your legal risks.…

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Contributory Negligence

When a coach fails to meet the standard of care toward athletes, he or she may be negligent. But negligence does not equate with liability. Whether or not a negligent coach is held liable, or responsible, for the injury or damages is another matter entirely.…

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The Legal Implications of Employment Status

In the last issue of Coaches Report, the Business Bulletin column carried an item by Ian Hendry about the implications of self-employment for coaches. Many coaches are in fact self-employed and should be aware not only of the financial implications but also the important legal implications arising from their employment status.…

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Using Waivers in University Programs and Facilities

Waivers of liability are commonplace in sport, fitness and outdoor programs. Most active people have at one time or another signed a waiver. Most organizers of sport programs have, at certain times, asked their participants to sign waivers. At a typical university or college waivers may be used in athletic facilities, campus recreation programs, outdoor pursuits, special events, student clubs and trips and tours.…

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Personal Risk Management

More than ever before, coaches are aware of the risks and responsibilities they assume when they coach. These risks and responsibilities include those that are legal in nature. No matter what their certification level, career status, place or type of employment, or location of residence, coaches at all times have a legal obligation to provide a safe environment for participants, and to respect the individual rights of their athletes.

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Parents can Help to Cut Risk of Sexual Abuse by Coaches

by Rachel Corbett.

In arguing for a light sentence for convicted sex offender George Smith, defence counsel noted that the stigma from this conviction would make it difficult for his client to continue as a track coach.

I could not believe I was hearing this.…

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Could This Happen to You? Recreation Workers Can Take Steps to Prevent Injury and Avoid Liability

Preventing injuries in sport and recreation and avoiding liability requires more than a first aid kit, a waiver or an insurance policy. Nor are checklists of safety reminders a guarantee that participants will be safe from harm, and that an organization or facility will be safe from liability claims.…

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Risk Management for the Recreation Professional

Recreation is an inherently risky business. In Canada, injury statistics show nearly thirty percent of all injuries to adults result from sport and recreation activities. This figure rises to 40 percent for injuries in the 15 to 24 age group. In Ontario, where sports-related injuries have at times been documented, fully half of these injuries could have been prevented through careful attention to risk management.…

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