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PlaySafe BC

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Safety in Sport

Safety in sport isn't just about preventing harm. It's about changing sport culture for the better - promoting equality, respect and inclusion so everyone can do their best, grow, and have fun. Safety in sport affects everyone. We all have a role to play in making sports safer, from athletes to coaches, parents, staff, and board members. It all starts with you.


What does safety in sport mean?

Safety in sport means environments on the field, off the field, in locker rooms, in offices, and in boardrooms are all physically safe and accessible, as well as psychologically and culturally safe and inclusive. Injury prevention and management, as well as the creation of positive cultures is as much a part of safety in sport as is addressing maltreatment when it occurs.


Why does safety in sport matter?

All of the incredible benefits of sport can only truly be realized when the experience is safe and free from harm.


Physical Safety

Physical safety includes (but is not limited to): prevention of injuries, including appropriate use of equipment and emergency planning, concussion management, and appropriate and progressive return to training and competition after injury.

Sport and exercise are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Physical safety encompasses creating safe physical environments that are designed for all types of participants, as well as preventing, recognizing, and managing injuries and illnesses.


Psychological Safety

Psychological safety focuses on creating a healthy atmosphere that allows participants to thrive and become the best they can be.

Sport can create a sense of belonging and improve self-esteem if it is psychologically safe.

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 feeel capable or doing safely;  and are aware of power dynamics and know appropriate boundaries.

A psychologically safe sport environment is one that promotes mental well=being and does not harm mental health through negligent, reckless, or intentional ways.



A behaviour is classed as maltreatment if it was done on purpose and if it resulted or had the potential to result in physical or psychological harm. This can include behaviours that are acts of omission, such as neglect. It is important to understand that maltreatment is determined by the behaviour viewed objectively, not by whether harm is intended or results from the behaviour.

Maltreatment in all its forms is a serious issue that undermines the health, well-being, performance and security of individuals, communities, and society.

Maltreatment is unacceptable and fundamentally incompatible with the core values that lie at the heart of Canadian sport. Individuals should have the reasonable expectation when they participate in sport in B.C. that it will be in an environment that is accessible, inclusive, respects their personal goals, and is free from all forms of maltreatment.

All provincially funded sports organizations in British Columbia have adopted the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct, which applies to all participants and includes expectations related to appropriate and inappropriate behaviours relating to these types of safety.


viaSport's PlaySafe BC Program

PlaySafe BC is a program designed to advance viaSport's mission to build trust and confidence in sport through education and awareness of safe sport practices, contributing to the elevation of sector capacity. It is based of four pillars; prevent, report, respond, and uphold.


Education and awareness about safety in sport


How to report an incident


How incidents are managed


Ongoing responsibility to create and implement safe practices in sport


PlaySafe BC Objectives

The PlaySafe BC program empower individuals and communities to recognize and speak up about behaviour they see or experience; provides sports organizations with the structure, knowledge, skills, and resources to support safe sport experiences; and encourages everyone involved in the amateur sport system to enable and promote behaviour change to all sport participants.


PlaySafe BC Tools

For Organizations

  • Training on using the Flag Tool for checking behaviour
  • Organizational safety in sport education through Commit to Kids
  • Complaint management resources and mediation services
  • Conflict management and effective communication training
  • Community Safe Sport Summits for athletes, coaches, and clubs

For Coaches and Officials

  • Flag Tool for checking if behaviour is appropriate and what to do next
  • Bystander intervention training and resources
  • Complaint handling guidance for complainants and respondents
  • Community Safe Sport Summits for coaches and clubs

For Participants

  • Flag Tool for checking if behaviour is appropriate and what to do next
  • Bystander intervention training and resources
  • Complaint handling guidance for complainants and respondents
  • Community Safe Sport Summits for athletes
  • Athlete safe sport education videos


PlaySafe BC Requirements for Organizations

Sport organizations in British Columbia are committed to creating a sport environment that is accessible, inclusive, respects their participants personal goals and is free from all forms of maltreatment. 

Adopt the BC Universal Code of Conduct

The Province of British Columbia, in partnership with viaSport, has worked with provincial, disability, 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 to protect those participating in sport from harm. This includes the development of the BC Universal Code of Conduct (BC UCC). It is mandatory for all viaSport funded organizations to include the BC UCC language in their policies.

Complete Commit to Kids Training

Commit to Kids (C2K) is a Canadian Centre for Child Protection program that helps child-serving organizations create safe environments for kids in their care. C2K leader training gives organizations the tools to create policies, procedures, and employee codes of conduct to reduct the risk of maltreatment and create safe environments for children and youth in their care. viaSport covers the cost of the training.

Have a Safe Sport Page on their Website

This must include information on how to report any complaints to the organization, links to all relevent discipline and volunteer screening policies and procedures, and support resources.


Recommendations for Coaches, Officials, and Staff

Coaches, officials, and staff members are on the front lines when it comes to safety in sport. viaSport, the Coaches Association of Canada, and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection provide training opportunities and resources.

Complete Make Ethical Decisions Module

Make Ethical Decisions (MED) is the most popular multi-sport module in the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), and is a mandatory first step in coaching education. Successful completion of the MED online evaluation is necessary for certification in all NCCP pathways.

Complete Commit to Kids Training

The Commit to Kids online Foundational training module is part of the Commit to Kids program and is designed for individuals who are working with children, either through employment or on a volunteer basis. It is offered for free, and takes only 23 minutes.

Complete Creating a Positive Sport Environment Module

NCCP Creating a Positive Sport Environment eLearning module describes the characterists and benefits of participant-centered coaching, explains the types of harm that may occur when a coach misuses their power, and describes how to respond to suspicions or knowledge of maltreatment. It also covers how to use positive coaching strategies to create a positive sport environemnt, enhance safety, and improve learning and performance. 

Complete the Safe Sport Training Module

The Safe Sport Training module, developed by the Coaching Association of Canada, helps anyone involved in sport identify and prevent situations of maltreatment. It is part of the Responsible Coaching Movements, a call to action for sport organizations and coaches to enact responsible coaching across Canada on and off the field.


Recommendations for Participants

Participants are responsible for following the BC Code of Conduct, which includes expectations related to appropriate and inappropriate behaviours regarding physical and psychological safety.

Follow the BC Universal Code of Conduct

The BC UCC applies to all Participants active in Federated Sport. Participants, especially those in positions of trust or authority, are responsible for know what constitutes a Prohibited Behaviour.

Know How to Raise a Concern

It is common for people to feel uncomfortable making a complaint or raising an issue, and to be concerned that it won't be taken seriously. The viaSport Flag Tool can help you assess how serious a behaviour was that you saw or experienced, and will provide you with guidance on how to respond based on the level of seriousness.  

Learn about Bystander Intervention

We all have a responsibility to do something when we see maltreatment happening, but too often we freeze. We don't know what to do. Bystander intervention training gives us tools to intervene without compromising our own safety. When we intervene, we don't just reduce trauma for the person being maltreated, we also start to chip away at the culture that allows maltreatment to exist.


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.


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]
  • 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 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, who can provide you with advice and guidance.


viaSport Policies

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: