Standards of Behaviour
viaSport and the Province of B.C. believe that standards of behaviour should be the same in all sports.
The B.C. Universal Code of Conduct (www.viasport.ca/bc-universal-code-of-conduct) sets the standards for acceptable behaviour by all participants in all accredited sports organizations in the province. It establishes common definitions, responsibilities, and prohibited behaviours.
If the Code of Conduct is breached, that means some level of maltreatment has occurred.
If you're not sure if a behaviour crossed the line or not, you can use our Flag Tool for Sport to help you assess the behaviour and get guidance on possible next steps.
Who is a "participant"?
Everyone who is a member of a provincially-funded sport organization (including athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, administrators, executives, board members, trainers, etc.) as well as anyone who has signed a participant code of conduct that cites the BC UCC; for example, a guardian of a minor who is registered in a federated sport and has signed an athlete code of conduct.
Everyone is responsible for contributing to create inclusive, accessible, and equitable environments in sport that provide healthy and enjoyable experiences.
Every participant has a responsibility to:
- Make sure their intentions, actions and efforts put priority on the safety of all participants.
- Treat others with respect and dignity.
- Promote sportsmanship, leadership, and ethical conduct.
- Respect the diversity of Participants and reject discrimination.
- Treat individuals fairly and reasonably.
- Follow the rules of the sport, and the spirit of the rules.
- Report any acts or suspicions of inappropriate behaviours or other maltreatment.
- Make sure all individuals feel included.
- Accept feedback about their own behaviours, and work to correct problems.
- Establish, respect, and maintain appropriate boundaries with participants.
- Make sure that interactions respect the role of every participant in the sport.
- Make sure that individual accountability is promoted during interactions.
- Make sure that interactions are transparent and easily understood by both participants and outside observers.
- Monitor their own behaviours, and the behaviours of others.
- Take seriously all reports, allegations, and suspicions of maltreatment.
- Identify and participate in conversations that lead to positive behaviour change.
- Do not take part in any prohibited behaviours
Additional Responsibilities for Participants in a Position of Trust or Authority
- Protect the health and well-being of all other participants.
- Prevent or reduce opportunities for maltreatment and other prohibited behaviours.
- Respond to any maltreatment involving minors and other vulnerable participants.
- Learn to recognize systemic bias, unconscious bias, and to respond quickly and effectively to discriminatory practices.
- Recognize when you are in a position of power imbalance
We all have the right to be secure, to not be subjected to cruel or degrading treatment, and to participate in sport without discrimination. To help protect these rights for everyone in sport, the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct prohibits the following behaviours:
- Psychological Maltreatment including Verbal Conduct such as yelling; Non-assaultive physical conduct such as throwing items; or behaviours restricting attention or support, such as abandoning an athlete as punishment for poor performance.
- Physical Maltreatment including Contact behaviours such as deliberately hitting someone; or Non-contact behaviours such as the use of exercise for the purposes of punishment.
- Sexual Maltreatment of Minors or Adult participants, including Criminal Code offenses; and any comment or conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome or that would be objectively perceived as unwelcome by an outside observer.
- Grooming which can include one or several acts that, viewed objectively, make it easier to either engage in Sexual Maltreatment or reduce the chance that Sexual Maltreatment will be reported.
- Boundary Transgressions which include a wide range of activities such as communicating privately with a Minor through social media or text; or one-on-one meetings that are not held in an open and observable environment.
- Neglect such as not providing an athlete recovery time and/or treatment for a sport injury
- Discrimination such as denying someone access to participating in sport or treating them unfairly.
- Subjecting a Participant to the Risk of Maltreatment such as putting Participants in situations that could obviously make them vulnerable to Maltreatment.
- Aiding and Abetting which includes any action intended to result in Maltreatment by or against a Participant.
- Failure to Report possible Maltreatment, Prohibited Behaviour, or Boundary Transgressions toward a Minor or an Adult Participant.
- Intentionally Filing a False Allegation or influencing someone else to file one. Making a False Allegation is different from an Unsubstantiated Allegation, which is where an allegation is made honestly but there’s not enough evidence to prove it. Honestly made Unsubstantiated Allegations are not prohibited actions.
- Interference with or Manipulation of Process such as knowingly falsifying, distorting, misrepresenting, concealing, or destroying information with the intent to influence the proceedings or outcome of the resolution process.
- Retaliation including threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, or any other behaviour that would discourage a reasonable person from participating in an investigation or disciplinary review processes at any point in the process, and regardless of outcome.
Adopting the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct
Any organization in sport in British Columbia can choose to adopt the B.C. Universal Code of Conduct. To do that, they need to add the following line to their existing Code of Conduct, and then have the change approved by whatever process is outlined in their bylaws:
- “<Organization name> accepts all language contained in the British Columbia Universal Code of Conduct (BC UCC). A copy of the code is hosted here.”
It is important to remove any conflicting responsibilities or definitions from the current code of conduct, so that there is no confusion. Additionally, your Code should link to a complaints procedure - a good template can be found within the Complaints Handling Guide from the BC Ombudsperson: https://bcombudsperson.ca/assets/media/OMB-ComplaintsGuide-Dec2020web.pdf
Download the BC Universal Code of Conduct
POLICY: The BC UCC outlines B.C.’s commitment to Safe Sport, responsibilities of sport participants and prohibited behaviours
SUMMARY DOCUMENT: A simple, clear tool to help everyone understand the behaviours that make sport safe, inclusive and welcoming
- The BC UCC Summary document
- The BC UCC Summary document: Accessible version
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- FAQs about the BC Universal Code of Conduct