What We're Watching in 2012

Published January 17, 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.

Rachel:  I continue to assist NSOs and MSOs prepare for compliance with the federal Not-for-Profit Corporations Act.  Many sport organizations have taken the opportunity to review their by-laws and governance structures and I believe that this will be a continuing trend in 2012.  As organizations take this Act more seriously, and learn more about it, we should also see a number of organizations voluntarily strengthening their other governing documents – including their mission, vision, and values statements. Plus let’s not forget that it’s an Olympic year, and I expect to be busy managing internal appeals of selection decisions. Remember that the best way to avoid these appeals is by properly following clear selection criteria!

Hilary: This year I am on sabbatical within the Department of Sport Management at Brock University and I am looking forward to doing a lot of reading and writing. I just finished writing a chapter about the women's ski jumping case (which occurred prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics) for a book on landmark sport law cases, and I am working on a piece about the legal issues surrounding the "Athlete Biological Passport" program in which athletes must now participate as part of anti-doping efforts. While new legal issues continually emerge in sport (and we work hard to stay on top of them), some of the old ones repeat but with new twists and turns. The day-to-day legal concerns (discrimination, social media, contract interpretation, policy application, human resources, and negotiation) all continue to engage and provide fodder for deeper thought and understanding. This is always interesting and on-going.

Dina: Coaching isn’t just on the field of play! The for-profit sector employs executive coaches to help valued employees gain important leadership skills. This year I’ve enrolled in a professional coaching certification program that will help me broaden my own knowledge in the area of human development, with a view of ‘sportifying’ professional coaching for sport leaders. Check back soon to see what I have to say about leadership, human performance, and sustainable change.

Steve:  Policy review!  The last couple of months have seen a sharp spike in the number of organizations (Provincial and National) coming to us with policy review questions.  If your organization's policies are over five years old, then it's time for a policy review. We've been asked to update and rewrite over 60 policies in the last three months - and this is a trend that we expect will continue in 2012. Also, like Rachel, I expect to be spending more time in the coming months helping organizations manage disputes relating to Olympic Team selection.

LeeAnn:  The Ontario Not-for-Profit Act (the province's version of the federal Act) is expected to come into force in mid-2012.  We've already given presentations on the subject to PSOs and we are excited to see that many organizations are taking compliance with the Act very seriously.  Since so many sport organizations are eager and ahead of the curve - we expect that 2012 will see a big focus on the Ontario NFP Act. Sport organizations based in Ontario will also be looking for assistance to become compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which came into force on January 1st.

Kevin:  I'm carefully watching the new Facebook. The Facebook 'timeline' dredges up all your past Facebook activity and presents it in the middle of your profile.  We are reminded that the 'past' doesn't stay buried on Facebook and I'm sure this will spur privacy-related calls for the permanent deletion of user-data.  Also, by now most organizations have started to get comfortable with social media, and this familiarity will likely be the basis for unique social media engagement by innovative sport organizations.

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