Harm that occurs between two actors, with one person having significant influence over another’s sense of security, trust, and/or fulfillment of needs (Crooks & Wolfe, 2007).


Flexible accommodations of needs and preferences.

Actual Bias

Often exists where a decision-maker has a direct interest in the outcome or has publicly favoured one outcome over another.


A process whereby parties refer their dispute to a mutually acceptable, knowledgeable, independent person (an arbitrator) to determine a resolution.

Arbitration Legislation

Provincial or territorial legislation that governs private arbitration proceedings, including challenges to arbitration decisions. The Ontario Arbitration Act, 1991 is an example.


An individual who is a member, registrant, or license holder of a sport organization subject to the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS).

Athlete Empowerment

Athletes feeling understood, powerful, and present in the sport community with opportunities to feel safe and supported.

Athletes’ Voices

Listening to those involved in sport by asking their opinions and preferences while considering their rights as humans.


The power or right to make decisions and enforce rules.

Balance of Probabilities

Describes the way a judge makes decisions about some legal issues. It is more likely than not to happen.

Binding Precedent

Refers to a mandatory requirement to follow past decisions.

Board of Directors

A group of people who manage or direct a company or organization.

Broad Scope of Review

Involves the arbitrator conducting a whole new hearing of a matter without considering the original decision (known as a de novo hearing – which is Latin for “from the new”).


Maltreatment between peers.

Burden of Proof

A party’s responsibility to prove a particular fact or matter in a legal proceeding.

Civilizing Process

Norbert Elias’ term for the complex process by which societies reduced interpersonal violence, created public health and education and generally embraced democracy.

Comfortable Satisfaction

Lying in between the criminal 'beyond reasonable doubt' and the civil 'balance of probabilities'.


A group of individuals brought together to discuss, gather and evaluate information, monitor progress, or make recommendations on a particular topic.


The individual who reports or files a complaint about another person’s alleged violation of the UCCMS, including an individual who is the subject of alleged maltreatment.

Conflict of Interest

Where a party is involved in multiple interests and serving one of those interests could involve simultaneously working against one of the other interests.


Rules that refer to the internal logic of the sport and define the criteria that mark the relationship between competitors, equipment, as well as playing parameters (e.g. space, time).

Contested Terrain

People not only compete on the playing field but contend for opportunity and meaning, within the economic, political and social structures of society.


A formal and legally enforceable agreement between two or more persons.


Decision is the only right answer in light of the law and the facts.

Court Application

An option for challenging an arbitration decision, if permitted under arbitration legislation. It involves filing an application in court on the grounds that the arbitration process failed to meet certain minimum standards of fairness as set out in the arbitration legislation.

Critical Relationship

Harm that occurs between two actors, with one person having significant influence over another’s sense of security, trust, and/or fulfillment of needs.


A public disapproval of misconduct or a person who has committed misconduct; can be a purpose of publicly disclosing sanctions for misconduct.

Descriptive Rules

Subcategory of constitutive rules that define the structural aspects of competition.


The act of discouraging misconduct by instilling fear of punishment; can be a purpose of publicly disclosing sanctions for misconduct.


Sharing of an experience of maltreatment, perhaps to a friend, trusted confidant, sport organization or to a third party; can be distinguished from a formal report.

Discretionary Sanctions

Sanctions are those that may be issued where misconduct occurs; examples include a warning, remedial training or education, suspension, or expulsion.


The array of attributes that vary between individuals, groups or communities that makes them distinctive.

Duty to Report

A moral or legal duty to report suspicions of maltreatment to the police or child protection agencies.


Fair treatment and access to equal opportunity by removing barriers to ensure full participation.

Ethics Training

Works to prepare coaches to confidently and skillfully handle ethical and legal situations by utilizing a six-step process.


Evidence of maltreatment is required.

Evidentiary Burden

The burden to determine "whether an issue should be left to the trier of fact".


The determination of maltreatment and imposition of sanctions will be informed by those with expertise in such areas of sport, child abuse, and the law.

Formal Report

The process of formally filing a complaint of alleged maltreatment to authorities; can be distinguished from a disclosure.

Good Sport

Refers to positive sport environments and experiences that instill character, strengthen community, and increase opportunities for excellence.


Maltreatment that occurs outside of a critical relationship. There is typically a power imbalance that occurs between the two actors; however, the perpetrator does not have a direct influence on the others sense of safety or trust.


The consistent application of the UCCMS to all sport participants across Canada.

Horizontal Precendent

Occurs where a decision made by a decision-making body becomes a precedent for that decision-making body in future cases or for other decision-making bodies operating at the same level in a hierarchy.


Requires an arbitrator to decide a dispute with an objective and open mind, free from any actual or perceived bias.


Supporting, valuing, and respecting all individuals equally.

Inclusive Organizational Culture

Based on shared values, beliefs, etc., an inclusive culture acknowledges, respects, and values diversity.

Incorporation by Reference

A mechanism of including a second document within another document by only mentioning the second document.


Refers to an arbitrator’s freedom from the control or influence of others and it is related to the principle of impartiality as independence avoids the appearance of bias.

Independence and Impartiality

Principles to ensure that an investigator investigates a matter with an objective and open mind, free from any bias, control or influence.

Independent Safe Sport Body

An independent body appointed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage to oversee safe sport in Canada. Including, independent intake, investigation and resolution of safe sport issues.

Independent Third Party (ITP)

An individual or group that shares no connectedness with the complainant or the defendant.


“Institutional” refers to the structure and operations of an organization that provides arbitration services.

Internal Appeals

An option for challenging an arbitration decision, if agreed to by the parties. It involves appealing an arbitration decision to a different arbitrator or arbitration panel within the same institution as the arbitrator who made the decision being challenged.

International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)

The governing body for gymnastics worldwide, including 148 national member federations.

Interpretive Principles

The art or process of determining the intended meaning of a written document, such as a constitution, statute, contract, deed, or will.


A fact-finding process to determine whether something occurred that involves conducting interviews, asking questions, and collecting documentary evidence.


Jurisdiction refers to the territory or sphere of activity over which an organization or individual’s authority extends.

Legal Obligation

A duty to do something that arises from a statute, contract, or other legal instrument that usually results in consequences if the duty is not carried out; can be differentiated from a moral duty.


Volitional acts that result in or have the potential to result in physical or psychological harm. All types of "physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, negligence and commercial or other exploitation, which results in actual or potential harm to health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power” (World Health Organization, 2010).

Mandatory Sanctions

Sanctions automatically apply if certain misconduct occurs or the individual’s misconduct is accompanied by a prior history of proven misconduct.


A minor is an individual who has not reached the age of majority or is not considered of legal age under the laws applicable in that individual’s province or territory of residence (SDRCC, 2021a).


A sector or industry dominated by one corporation, firm or entity.

Multi-Sport Organization (MSO)

Organization that leads or coordinates the delivery of specific services to the national sport community.

Narrow Scope of Review

Involves the arbitrator reviewing the original decision on specific grounds or for specific errors, such as an error made in interpreting or applying the applicable code of conduct or the use of an unfair procedure.

National Independent Mechanism (NIM)

Independent body charged with overseeing operational aspects of the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS). In Canada, the SDRCC has been named as the NIM to oversee the UCCMS. A regulatory body with the authority to implement safe sport policies.

National Sport Organization (NSO)

The national governing bodies for sport in Canada.


The omission of care; failing to enact a duty of care; failing to provide the necessities of life.

Non-Binding Precedent

Describes an optional ability to follow follow past decisions.


Acceptance of harmful behaviours as normal.

Original Decision

A decision made by a decision-maker (the National Independent Mechanism [NIM] or the relevant sport organization) about whether a violation occurred and, if so, what the appropriate sanction is.

Overriding Error

A standard of appellate review, an error that must have altered the result or may well have altered the result.


Easily perceptible, plain, obvious, readily visible, noticeable.

Paradox of Play

Rick Gruneau’s term for the feeling when playing sports that society is distanced despite the simultaneous constraints on sports created by social structures.

Perceived Bias

The extent to which the relationship or other factor influences, or is perceived to influence, the decision-maker.

Perceived Organizational Support

The degree to which an individual generally believes their organization values their contributions, cares about their well-being, and is interested in supporting their socioeconomic needs.

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act

Federal privacy legislation that regulates the handling of personal information by federally regulated organizations and private organizations in certain circumstances, including WADA. The legislation requires an organization to obtain a person’s consent before handing their personal information, as well as comply with other information practices.

Physical Activity and Sport Act

“The Government of Canada’s policy regarding sport is founded on the highest ethical standards and values, including [...] the treatment of all persons with fairness and respect, the full and fair participation of all persons in sport and the fair, equitable, transparent and timely resolution of disputes in sport.” (Government of Canada, 2003)

Physical Harm

Infliction of physical pain or injury, which can be contact or non-contact behaviors.

Physical Harms

Contact or non-contact physical behaviours that result in or have the potential to result in harm.

Physical Maltreatment

Requires an act to be deliberate but requires an objective assessment of conduct, which may be challenging to interpret and apply in practice.


Practice whereby a decision-maker is guided by the past decisions of the same or other decision-makers.

Prescriptive Rules

A subcategory of constitutive rules that determine participants' acceptable actions, obligations, and rights withing the playing environment.

Presumptive Sanctions

Sanctions that are presumed to apply once a certain type of misconduct is proven, but that can be rebutted and replaced with a lesser sanction based on mitigating factors.


“Procedural” refers to rules that govern the process of an arbitration hearing, including the rules that the arbitrator and parties must follow.

Procedural Fairness

The procedures that protect the rights or interests of a complainant or respondent in an investigation.

Proscriptive Rules

This subcategory of constitutive rules define that is not allowed within the sport.

Provincial Sport / Multi-Sport Organizations (PSO/MSOs)

Not-for-profit organizations formally recognized by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries as the governing body of a particular amateur sport in Ontario. Their primary function is the development of athletes, coaches, and officials.


Non-physical interactions that result in or have the potential to result in harm.

Psychological Harm

A pattern of deliberate non-contact behaviours that have the potential to be harmful, including physical and verbal behaviours and denial of attention.

Psychological Safety

Promotes the notion that no one will be punished or humiliated for speaking up with their ideas, concerns, or mistakes.

Question of Fact

A question about whether a particular fact occurred.

Question of Law

Purely legal question, such as how a particular statute or regulation should be interpreted.

Question of Mixed Fact

Falls somewhere in the middle of a question of law and a question of fact as it involves factual and legal elements.


A “reasonable” decision is based on a logical chain of reasoning. It has to make sense in light of the law and the facts.


Rules relating to the external logic of the sport and enable the administration of competition.


When the diversity of an organization, in terms of its governance or membership, represents the diversity of the population it serves.


Refers to individual who is alleged to have violated the UCCMS.

Responsible Autonomy

Where organizations responsibly practice good governance ­­– transparency, accountability and democratic decision making.

Responsible Coaching Movement

A call to action for sport organizations, parents, and coaches to enact responsible coaching across Canada – on and off the field.

Rule of Two

A duty of care to ensure that all interactions between athletes and their coaches are open, observable, and justifiable.

Rules Taxonomy

Framework for grouping rules into meaningful categories.

Safe Sport

A collective responsibility to create, foster and preserve sport environments that ensure positive, healthy, and fulfilling experiences for all individuals. A safe sport environment is one in which all sport stakeholders recognize, and report acts of maltreatment and prioritize the welfare, safety and rights of every individual.

Scope of Review

The breadth of an arbitrator’s authority to resolve a dispute involving a decision made by another decision-maker; examples include conducting a new hearing or reviewing the other decision-maker’s decision for certain errors.

Sexual Harm

Any sexual interaction with person(s) of any age that is perpetrated against the victim’s will, without consent, or in an aggressive, exploitative, coercive, manipulative, or threatening manner (Ryan and Lane, 1997).

Sexual Harms

Contact or non-contact sexual behaviours that results in or has the potential to result in harm.

Social Diversity of Arbitrators

Arbitrators who represent the relevant social groups in Canadian society, especially those who have historically been excluded from positions of power, such as women, racialized persons, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTIQA community.

Sport Canada

Federal agency responsible for administering the Physical Activity and Sport Act of 2003.

Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC)

Independent agency to provide athletes and other participants in the national sports system with an opportunity to have independent arbitrators consider their appeals against decisions they feel were unfair. Now charged with the responsibility to provide an independent mechanism to address maltreatment in Canadian sports.

Sport Governing Bodies

A single sport organization that governs and administers a sport within a particular territory (e.g., international, national or provincial or territorial).

Standard of Proof

A standard for determining whether a party has met a burden of proof; examples include a balance of probabilities and a comfortable satisfaction.

Standards of Review

A standard for determining whether the original decision-maker made an error; examples include correctness, reasonableness, or palpable and overriding error.

Struggle for Access and Inclusion

The complex process by which those initially excluded from modern sports sought opportunities, by creating their own institutions, breaking down barriers to established sports, and creating public opportunities in schools and playgrounds.

Struggle for Safe Sport

The complex process by which reformers, manufacturers, scientists and others sought to make sport safer, and others resisted.


“Substantive” refers to the principles of law that an arbitrator applies to resolve a dispute, and which form the basis for the parties’ submissions or legal arguments for the arbitration hearing.

Supervised Autonomy

Where the autonomy of sport is monitored by, in this case, the European Union.

Terms of Reference

Define the purpose and structure of a project, meeting, committee, or other group of individuals who have agreed to work together to accomplish a shared goal.

The Pan American Gymnastics Union (UPAG)

Coordinating with the National Federations, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) and PanamSports, this official governing body of gymnastics carries out strategies for the development and promotion of the disciplines recognized by the FIG.


Acknowledgement of the physical, psychological and emotional effects of trauma, and he avoidance of re-traumatization.

True Sport

An approach to values-based sport that is underpinned by seven field of play principles. When “Go For It, Play Fair, Respect Others, Keep It Fun, Stay Healthy, Include Everyone, and Give Back” are activated, good sport happens.


Universal Code of Conduct to Address Maltreatment in Sport, promulgated in 2020.


Showing no prejudice for or against something; impartial.

Values-Based Sport

Places values at the heart of all policies, practices and programs in an effort to increase positive experiences and foster a culture of good sport that can lead to the many benefits associated with good sport.

Vertical Precedent

Occurs where a decision made by a decision-making body that is higher than others in a hierarchy acts as a precedent for lower level decision-makers.

Vulnerable Person

A vulnerable person is an individual who is not a minor whose ability to present evidence before the Safeguarding Tribunal is materially impaired by reason of, mental or physical illness, or sexual or physical abuse (SDRCC, 2021a).

Zero Tolerance

Reflects a refusal to accept inappropriate, prohibited, and undesirable behaviour (e.g. words, actions).


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Safe Sport: Critical issues and practices Copyright © 2022 by Julie Stevens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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