Responsible Coaching Movement
The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a multi-phase system-wide movement, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport that has the potential to affect all sport organizations and coaches. The RCM is a call to action for organizations to implement realistic change based on their individual state of readiness.
The RCM is the result of extensive ongoing consultation with the Canadian Sport Community. These consultations will guide the different phases of the RCM that will address the role coaches play with issues relating to the health and safety of athletes, both on and off the field of play.
Phase 1- Supporting best practice in Canada’s sport system
Minor Athletes: Vision 2020
Phase 1 of the RCM addresses the relationship between coach and athlete to ensure that athletes, especially minor athletes, are not subject to unethical behaviour by coaches. Although advances in athlete protection in the past twenty years have decreased instances of athlete maltreatment in amateur sport, incidents of athlete abuse, harassment by coaches, and risks to athlete safety have continued to occur.1
Gaps identified through consultation with stakeholders indicate that a lack of uniform policies, a lack of club capacity, a limited communication strategy, a lack of a tracking mechanism for coaches, and a lack of a coordinated approach by sport organizations to address responsible coaching practices have all contributed to permitting instances of unethical behaviour in sport.2 Sport stakeholders throughout Canada have also discussed new opportunities for closing these gaps, identified best practices, and considered the benefits of a cooperative, sustained approach to responsible coaching.3
1 Athlete protection and maltreatment in sport – Discussion paper (Commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, March 2015).
2 Athlete protection and maltreatment in sport – Discussion paper (Commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, March 2015).
3 Coaches of Canada and the Coaching Association of Canada collaborated to host twelve workshops between December 2013 and April 2014 and consulted with over 160 coaches and sport administrators across Canada.
Key areas of focus identified in Phase 1 of the Responsible Coaching Movement:
Rule of Two
This rule serves to protect minor athletes in potentially vulnerable situations by ensuring that more than one adult is present. Vulnerable situations can include closed doors meetings, travel, and training environments. Organizations are encouraged to create and implement policies and procedures that limit the instances where these situations are possible.
Ultimately, the Rule of Two states that there will always be two screened and NCCP trained or certified coaches with an athlete, especially a minor athlete, when in a potentially vulnerable situation. This means that any one-on-one interaction between a coach and an athlete must take place within earshot and view of the second coach, with the exception of medical emergencies. In the event where screened and NCCP trained or certified coaches are not available, a screened volunteer, parent, or adult can be recruited. In all instances, one coach/volunteer must reflect the genders of the athletes participating or be of an appropriate identity in relation to the athlete(s)*.
* Organizations are encouraged to ensure that those individuals in supervisory roles are appropriate for, and acceptable to, the individual athlete. Further information on creating a safe and inclusive environment can be found at http://cces.ca/gender-inclusivity.
Background Screening (Including Criminal Record Checks)
The background screening process involves using a number of different tools to ensure coaches meet the necessary security requirements to coach athletes. These tools include comprehensive job postings, criminal record checks, interviews, and reference checks. In addition, child and youth training with specific special needs populations may be required.
Respect and Ethics Training
Increasing coaches’ ethical conduct and ethical behaviour toward athletes requires that coaches be trained to understand what it means to act ethically. This training would include the Make Ethical Decisions module within the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), as well as training in abuse and harassment prevention, such as Respect in Sport, before and during their coaching career. Sport organizations may also determine their own additional standards of ethical behaviour for coaches.
How to get involved
Coaches play a vital role in the Canadian sport system serving as authority figure, mentor, teacher, and role model for athletes. Coaches are integral to the athlete experience. The RCM is a collaborative effort open to all NCCP partners and sanctioned sport organizations to ensure the impact of coaches is a positive one for athletes and for Canadian sport.
As a first step, sport organizations are encouraged to make a pledge to support the RCM and commit to achieving the Phase 1 objectives. It is recommended that organizations discuss the Responsible Coaching Movement and pledge with their Board of Directors and senior staff to ensure awareness and agreement in fulfilling this commitment.
By doing so, sport organizations commit to implement supportive policies and processes that adhere to the three key areas of focus in Phase 1, ensure the safety and protection of their athletes, and provide their coaches with the tools and training necessary to model ethical behaviour.
Organizations are encouraged to implement realistic change based on their individual state of readiness, in order for it to be successful in the long-term.
Moving from Pledge to Action
With a vision of creating change by 2020, sport organizations are encouraged to put their pledge into action and a recommended action plan and timeline has been developed for each sector of the Canadian Sport System. Each organization will need to determine a realistic process for creating change based on their individual state of readiness, in order for it to be successful in the long-term.
Responsible Coaching Resources
To assist organizations to implement the action plan, a toolkit of resources, templates and useful links has been created. This toolkit will be regularly updated with new information and tools.
- Rule of Two
- Background Screening
- Background Screening Matrix
- Enhanced Police Information Check (E-PIC) - CAC landing page
- E-PIC Info Sheet
- Template screening policy
- Template screening disclosure form
- Screening at Volunteer Canada
- Volunteer Canada screening handbook
- Sterling Talent Solutions
- Scouts Canada Volunteer Screening Policy
- Scouts Canada Screening Interview Guide
- Respect and Ethics Training
For more information, please email us at RCM@coach.ca.