Play Safe BC
What is Safe Sport?
Safe sport environments are accessible, inclusive, respect their participants' personal goals, and are free from all forms of maltreatment.
Safety, in this context, includes physical safety and psychological safety. Where either or both of those are missing, there may be maltreatment happening that needs to be addressed.
Physical safety including things like:
- Prevention of injuries, including appropriate planning and use of equipment
- Concussion management
- Appropriate and progressive return to training and competition after injury
Psychological safety is "a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes" (Amy Edmondson, 1999). When people feel psychologically safe, they:
- Are empowered to raise issues that may help themselves, their team, or others improve
- Are not harassed or bullied
- Feel welcome in new environments and want to continue to participate
- Consent to appropriate physical touching (such as spotting)
- Are empowered to not attempt skills that they don't feel capable of doing safely
- Are aware of power dynamics and know appropriate boundaries
All provincially funded sports organizations in British Columbia have adopted the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct, which applies to all participants, which includes expectations related to appropriate and inappropriate behaviours relating to these types of safety.
viaSport Commitment to Safe Sport
In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, viaSport’s mission is to provide strategic leadership to the amateur sport ecosystem in B.C. so that all British Columbians have the opportunity to participate in sport and reach their full potential. viaSport is committed to supporting sport organizations to create environments that are accessible, inclusive, respect their participants personal goals and are free from all forms of maltreatment. Read our position statement here.
viaSport's Play Safe BC Program
The Play Safe Program outlines four pillars to addressing safety in sport.
|PREVENT||Increase awareness and understanding of sport conduct expectations among all B.C. participants, empowering individuals to act through education and communication|
|REPORT||Provide a trauma-informed and culturally-sensitive approach for reporting complaints|
|RESPOND||Establish an independent, professional, and accessible process with centralized resources|
|UPHOLD||Implement standardized policies and procedures, prioritize collaboration and alignment of resources|
The objectives of the Play Safe program are for:
- Communities and Individuals: Individual sport participants to recognize and speak up about maltreatment that they experience or witness;
- Organizations: Sport organizations to have the structure, knowledge, skills, and resources to support safe sport experiences; and
- The Sport System: The B.C. sport system to provide consistent safe sport knowledge, messaging and standards
We require funded organizations to
- Adopt the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct:
The Province of B.C., in partnership with viaSport have worked with provincial sport and multisport organizations, child protection experts and federal counterparts to build robust accountability frameworks to address incidents of misconduct in the province’s amateur sport sector and protect those participating in sport from harm. This includes the development of the BC Universal Code of Conduct (BC UCC). As of October 15, 2021 It is mandatory for all viaSport funded organizations to include the BC UCC language in their policies.
- Have a safe sport page on their website:
This page must include information on how to report any complaints to the organization, links to all relevant discpline policies, and support resources.
- Have decision-makers and board members complete Commit to Kids training
Commit to Kids (C2K) is a step-by-step program of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection that helps child-serving organizations create safe environments for the kids in their care. C2K Leader Training gives organizations the tools to create policies, procedures and employee codes of conduct to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse and create safe environments for children and youth in their care. viaSport covers the cost of the training.
We promote programs that support safe sport
A call to action for sport participants across Canada to keep sport fair, fun, and safe. This includes taking three steps to protect participants:
- The Rule of Two
- Background Screening
- Ethics training.
- Respect in Sport champions the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD) in sport. The Respect in Sport Activity Leader/ Coach Program educates youth leaders, coaches, officials and participants (14-years and up) to recognize, understand and respond to issues of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.
We promote educational opportunities for coaches and other staff
- The viaSport Learning Centre provides resources and training opportunities, including safe sport
- viaSport and our partners deliver coach training courses, including Making Ethical Decisions
- Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) Safe Sport training
The Safe Sport Training module, developed by CAC, helps anyone involved in sport identify and prevent situations of maltreatment. It is part of the Responsible Coaching Movement, a call to action for sport organizations and coaches to enact responsible coaching across Canada on and off the field.
NCCP Creating a Positive Sport Environment eLearning module describes the characteristics and benefits of participant-centered coaching, explains the types of harm that may occur when a coach misuses their power, how to respond to suspicions or knowledge of maltreatment, and how to use positive coaching strategies to create a positive sport environment, enhance safety, and improve learning and performance.
We offer access to dispute resolution services for federated sports organizations
- The Sport Law Connect program offers free access to alternative dispute resolution services such as facilitation, adjudication, and/or providing panel members for a hearing.
- We provide a Safeguarding Liaison to Executive Directors/CEOs of funded organizations to assist with conflict management.
We raise awareness and share best practice in injury prevention and management
- We share research, tools, and resources for concussion awareness and management
- viaSport is committed to increasing education and awareness that will assist in gaining the knowledge and skills required to ensure the safety of athletes.
How to Report Maltreatment by viaSport Staff or Board Members
- You can report a complaint about a violation of the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct by viaSport staff or Board members directly to the viaSport CEO (charlenek [at] viasport.ca).
- If you have concerns or complaints related to the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct about viaSport staff or Board members and are not comfortable reporting to the CEO, you can contact Lise Maclean at email@example.com or +1 (613) 404-2000. We have contracted her as an independent third party, to receive and investigate complaints.
You can report any concerns or complaints about any sport organization in B.C. or Canada to the National Sport Helpline (1-888-83SPORT, or www.abuse-free-sport.ca), who can provide you with advice and guidance.
As part of our commitment to safe sport, all of our employees and board members undergo a Criminal Record Check before they join the organization and every three years after that.
All of our staff are also required to complete Privacy Training to make sure that all data and information collected and stored at viaSport is handled correctly.
Our internal policies for staff and board members include the following policies that are relevant to safe sport:
Promote Play Safe BC
- Newsletter and email templates: Use this template to introduce your organization to the BC Universal Code of Conduct
- Social media templates: Help spread the word about the BC Universal Code of Conduct and your organization's commitment to safe sport
- Graphic elements: Download icons that best represent your activities