Sport Law Connect Program

Jul 18, 2023

This program is for sport organizations to request access to dispute resolution services to support the implementation of their policies. If you are looking to file a complaint related to a dispute or violation of a Code of Conduct please contact your Provincial Sport Organization or the Canadian Sport Helpline.

The Sport Law Connect Program (SLCP) was created by the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) to increase access to dispute resolution resources and services for the sport community. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) includes processes and techniques that bring disputing parties to a resolution outside of the court system. By submitting a dispute, sport organizations access a free resource that connects them with law students or ADR professionals, known as the SLCP Participants. Trained in the resolution of sport disputes, the SLCP Participants are free from conflict of interest and able to lead a fair and timely process. They are able to handle sports-related cases including, but not limited to, team selection, resource allocation (e.g. funding, facility sharing), governance, policy application, field-of-play protests, disciplinary issues (excluding cases of maltreatment, abuse or discrimination), etc.

The SLCP is being offered in our province in partnership with viaSport BC, the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of BC (ADRBC).

Program Guidelines


What services are available? 

1) Facilitating a discussion that allows the parties to communicate more effectively and work towards an accepted agreement

2) Act as an adjudicator or panel member(s) for a sport dispute hearing 

Is my sport organization eligible?

You must fulfill all the requirements below to submit a dispute. 

1) Your organization is a Provincial Sport Organization (PSO) in British Columbia

At this time, only PSOs and DSOs can access the services. However, PSOs and DSOs may access the services on behalf of their local sport organizations.

2) The dispute at hand is eligible

If your PSO or DSO has a dispute resolution or an appeal policy in place, any matter that is deemed admissible under such policy (excluding cases of matlreatment, abuse or discrimination) could be referred to the SLCP. Submitted disputes generally fall under one of the following categories: 

  • Discipline: An individual is accused of breaching the organization’s Code of Conduct, such as missing curfew or violating uniform rules, and the organization wishes to determine whether a violation did occur and, if so, what would be the applicable sanction.
  • Team Selection: An individual who is not selected to a provincial team wishes to dispute the decision.
  • Governance: A disagreement regarding the way in which the by-laws or other governance policies have been adopted or applied to reach a certain decision, such as challenges to the Board election process, changes enacted by the Board that affect the members, etc.

Other types of disputes may also be considered at viaSport’s sole discretion. Ineligible disputes include those in which a specialized adjudication or dispute resolution process already exists under governing policies or laws such as, but not limited to, doping, criminal behavior, child protection, employment standards or workers’ compensation, consumer protection or human rights.

3) Your PSO/DSO has Directors and Officers’ Liability Insurance

The individuals in the SLCP will be acting as volunteers on behalf of your PSO/DSO. It is required that your Directors and Officers Liability Insurance covers them when acting as such.

4) Your PSO/DSO agrees to the rules, terms and conditions of the program

If the services requested are for a dispute in which the parties wish to attempt to resolve amicably by way of settlement but a neutral third party is needed to assist the process, the Facilitation Rules are applicable.

If the services requested are for a dispute in which the parties wish to present their case to an independent decision-making panel who will conduct a hearing process and render a decision on the dispute, the Hearing Rules are applicable. These Hearing Rules will supersede the PSO’s dispute resolution or appeal policy.