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DISCIPLINE AND COMPLAINTS POLICY

DEFINITIONS

1. The following terms have these meanings in this Policy:

a) “Case Manager” – The person or organization appointed by Softball Canada to oversee management and administration of complaints.
b) “Complainant” – The party alleging an infraction.
c) “Days” – Days including weekends and holidays.
d) “In writing”- A letter, fax or email sent directly to the Association.
e) “Member”- All categories of membership defined in the Softball Canada Bylaws, as well as all individuals employed by or engaged in activities with Softball Canada, including but not limited to, athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, directors, officers, team managers, team captains, medical and paramedical personnel, administrators and employees.
f) “Respondent” – The alleged infracting party.

PREAMBLE

2. Softball Canada is committed to providing a sport environment which is athlete-centered, and which is characterized by open and clear communication, honesty, fairness and mutual respect.

3. Membership in Softball Canada brings with it many benefits and privileges. At the same time, members are expected to fulfill certain responsibilities and obligations, including but not limited to, complying with the Code of Conduct, policies, rules and regulations of Softball Canada.

4. The Softball Canada Code of Conduct (Appendix A) identifies the standard of behaviour which is expected of members of Softball Canada. Members who fail to meet this standard will be subject to the disciplinary sanctions identified within this policy.

APPLICATION

5. This Policy applies to all Members as defined in the Definitions.

6. It applies to discipline matters which may occur during the course of all Softball Canada business, activities and events, including but not limited to, tournaments, training camps, exhibitions, meetings and travel associated with these activities.

7. Discipline matters arising within the business, activities or events of provincial/territorial softball associations, teams, or affiliated organizations of Softball Canada shall be dealt with using the discipline policies and mechanisms of such organizations.

8. This Policy also applies to Individuals’ conduct outside of Softball Canada’s business, activities, and events when such conduct adversely affects relationships within Softball Canada (its work and/or sport environment) or is detrimental to the image and reputation of Softball Canada. The jurisdiction of this Policy will be determined by Softball Canada at its sole discretion.

9. This Policy does not prevent an appropriate person having authority from taking immediate, informal or corrective action. Further sanctions may be applied in accordance with the procedures set out in this Policy.

REPORTING A COMPLAINT

10. Any Member may report to Softball Canada’s Head Office any complaint of an infraction by a Member. Such a complaint must be signed and in writing, and must be filed within fourteen (14) days of the alleged incident. Anonymous complaints may be accepted upon the sole discretion of the Case Manager.

11. A Complainant wishing to file a complaint beyond the fourteen (14) days must provide a written statement giving reasons for an exemption to this limitation. The decision to accept, or not accept, the notice of complaint outside the fourteen (14) day period will be at the sole discretion of the Case Manager. This decision may not be appealed.

12. At Softball Canada’s discretion, Softball Canada may act as the complainant and initiate the complaint process under the terms of this Policy. In such cases, Softball Canada will identify an individual to represent Softball Canada.

CASE MANAGER

13. Upon receipt of a complaint, Softball Canada will assign a Case Manager to oversee management and administration of complaints submitted in accordance with this Policy and such appointment is not appealable.

14. The Case Manager has a responsibility to:

a) Determine whether the complaint is frivolous or vexatious and within the jurisdiction of this Policy;
b) Propose the use of mediation;
c) Appoint a Panel, if necessary, in accordance with this Policy;
d) Determine the format of the hearing, in cooperation with the Panel;
e) Coordinate all administrative aspects of the complaint;
f) Provide administrative assistance and logistical support to the Panel as required; and
g) Provide any other service or support that may be necessary to ensure a fair and timely proceeding.

DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

15. If the Case Manager determines the complaint is:

a) Frivolous or outside the jurisdiction of this Policy, the complaint will be dismissed immediately.
b) Not frivolous and within the jurisdiction of this Policy, the Case Manager will notify the Parties the complaint is accepted and the applicable next steps.

16. The Case Manager’s decision to accept or dismiss the complaint may not be appealed.

17. The Case Manager will establish and adhere to timeframes that ensure procedural fairness and that the matter is heard in a timely fashion.

18. After notifying the Parties that the complaint has been accepted, the Case Manager will first, propose mediation with the objective of resolving the dispute. If the dispute is not resolved or the parties refuse mediation, the Case Manager will appoint a Discipline Panel, which shall consist of a single Adjudicator, to hear the complaint. In extraordinary circumstances, and at the discretion of the Case Manager, a Panel of three persons may be appointed to hear the complaint. In this event, the Case Manager will appoint one of the Panel’s members to serve as the Chair.

19. The Case Manager, in cooperation with the Discipline Panel, will then decide the format under which the complaint will be heard. This decision may not be appealed. The format of the hearing, may involve direct communications with the Parties, an oral in-person hearing, an oral hearing by telephone or other telecommunications, a hearing based on a review of documentary evidence submitted in advance of the hearing, or a combination of these methods. The hearing will be governed by the procedures that the Case Manager and the Discipline Panel deem appropriate in the circumstances, provided that:

a) The Parties will be given appropriate notice of the day, time, and place of the hearing, in the case of an oral in-person hearing, an oral hearing by telephone or other telecommunications
b) Copies of any written documents which the parties wish to have the Panel consider will be provided to all Parties, through the Case Manager, in advance of the hearing and/or decision rendered
c) The Parties may be accompanied by a representative, advisor, or legal counsel at their own expense
d) The Discipline Panel may request that any other individual participate and give evidence at the hearing
e) The Discipline Panel may allow as evidence at the hearing any oral evidence and document or thing relevant to the subject matter of the complaint, but may exclude such evidence that is unduly repetitious and shall place such weight on the evidence as it deems appropriate
f) The decision will be by a majority vote of the Discipline Panel

20. If a decision affects a 3rd party to the extent that the 3rd party would have recourse to a complaint or an appeal in their own right, that 3rd party will become a party and apart of the complaint procedure to the complaint in question and will be bound by the decision.

21. The preceding provisions may be modified, or added to, as required by the provisions of any other pertinent Softball Canada policy, such as those dealing with harassment, doping, personnel or event-specific matters.

22. Where the Respondent acknowledges the facts of the incident, he or she may waive the hearing, in which case the Panel will determine the appropriate disciplinary sanction. The Panel may hold a hearing for the purpose of determining an appropriate sanction.

23. If the Respondent chooses not to participate in the hearing, the hearing will proceed in any event.

24. In fulfilling its duties, the Panel may obtain independent advice.

DECISION

25. After hearing and/or reviewing the matter, the Panel will determine whether an infraction has occurred and if so what appropriate sanction will be imposed. The Panel's written decision, with reasons, will be distributed to all parties, the Case Manager and Softball Canada within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the hearing. The decision will be considered a matter of public record unless decided otherwise by the Panel. In extraordinary circumstances, the Discipline Panel may first issue a verbal or summary decision soon after the hearing’s conclusion, with the full written decision to be issued thereafter.

SANCTIONS

26. The Discipline Panel may apply the following disciplinary sanctions singly or in combination;

a) Written reprimand to be placed in individual’s file;
b) Hand-delivered written apology;
c) Forfeiture of certain games;
d) Suspension from certain Softball Canada events which may include suspension from the current competition or from future teams or competitions;
e) Payment of a financial fine, amount to be determined by the Disciplinary Panel;
f) Suspension of Softball Canada funding or, with the consent of Sport Canada, Sport Canada funding;
g) Suspension from certain Softball Canada activities (i.e. competing, coaching or officiating) for a designated period of time;
h) Suspension from all Softball Canada activities for a designated period of time;
i) Expulsion from Softball Canada;
j) Withholding of prize money or awards;
k) Payment of the cost of repairs for property damage;
l) Service or other contribution to Softball Canada;
m) Other sanctions as may be considered appropriate for the offense.

27. The preceding sanctions may be modified, or added to, as required by the provisions of any other pertinent Softball Canada policy, such as those dealing with harassment, doping, personnel or event-specific matters.

28. Unless the Discipline Panel decides otherwise, any disciplinary sanctions shall commence immediately. Failure to comply with a sanction as determined by the Panel will result in automatic suspension of membership in Softball Canada until such time as compliance occurs.

29. A written record will be maintained by Softball Canada at their head office for infractions that result in a sanction.

30. In applying sanctions, the Disciplinary Panel may have regard to the following aggravating or mitigating circumstances:

a) The nature and severity of the offense,
b) Whether the incident is a first offense or has occurred repeatedly,
c) The individual’s acknowledgment of responsibility,
d) The individual’s extent of remorse,
e) The age, maturity or experience of the individual, and
f) The individual’s prospects for rehabilitation.

31. Notwithstanding the procedures set out in this policy, any member who is convicted of a criminal offense may face automatic suspension from Softball Canada for a period of time corresponding to the length of the criminal sentence imposed by the Court, and may face further disciplinary action by Softball Canada in accordance with this policy.

SERIOUS INFRACTIONS

32. Softball Canada may determine that an alleged incident is of such seriousness as to warrant suspension of the Respondent pending a hearing and a decision of the Panel and/or completion of the criminal process.

CONFIDENTIALITY

33. The discipline and complaints process is confidential involving only the Parties, the Case Manager and the Panel. Once initiated and until a decision is released, none of the Parties will disclose confidential information relating to the discipline or complaint to any person not involved in the proceedings.

APPEALS

34. Except where otherwise provided, an appeal of any disciplinary matter will be done according to the Appeals Policy of Softball Canada.

APPENDIX A
SOFTBALL CANADA CODE OF CONDUCT

DEFINITIONS

1. The following terms have these meanings in this Code:

a) “Association” – Softball Canada
b) “Individuals” –All categories of membership defined in the Softball Canada Bylaws, as well as to all individuals engaged in activities with or employed by Softball Canada, including, but not limited to, athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, directors, officers, team managers, team captains, medical and paramedical personnel, administrators and employees (including contract personnel).
c) “Workplace” - Any place where business or work-related activities are conducted. Workplaces include but are not limited to, the Association’s office, work-related social functions, work assignments outside the Association’s offices, work-related travel, and work-related conferences or training sessions

PURPOSE

2. The purpose of this Code is to ensure a safe and positive environment (within the Association’s programs, activities, and events) by making Individuals aware that there is an expectation, at all times, of appropriate behaviour consistent with the Association’s core values. The Association supports equal opportunity, prohibits discriminatory practices, and is committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and fairness.

APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY

3. This policy applies to Individuals relating to conduct that that may arise during the course of Softball Canada’s business, activities and events, including but not limited to, office environment, competitions, practices, tournaments, training camps, travel, and any meetings.

4. This policy applies to conduct that may occur outside of Softball Canada’s business and events when such conduct adversely affects relationships within Softball Canada and its work and sport environment and is detrimental to the image and reputation of Softball Canada.

5. An Individual who violates this Code may be subject to sanctions pursuant to the Association’s Discipline and Complaints Policy. In addition to facing possible sanction pursuant to the Association’s Discipline and Complaints Policy, an Individual who violates this Code during a competition may be ejected from the competition or the playing area, the official may delay the competition until the Individual complies with the ejection, and the Individual may be subject to any additional discipline.

6. An employee of the Association found to have engaged in acts of violence or harassment against any other employee, worker, contractor, member, customer, supplier, client or other third party during business hours, or at any Association event, will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

RESPONSIBILITIES

7. Individuals have a responsibility to:

a) Maintain and enhance the dignity and self-esteem of the Association members and other individuals by:

i. Demonstrating respect to individuals regardless of body type, physical characteristics, athletic ability, age, ancestry, colour, race, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, disability, family status, marital status, gender identity, gender expression, sex, and sexual orientation
ii. Focusing comments or criticism appropriately and avoiding public criticism of athletes, coaches, officials, organizers, volunteers, employees, or members
iii. Consistently demonstrating the spirit of sportsmanship, sport leadership, and ethical conduct
iv. Acting, when appropriate, to correct or prevent practices that are unjustly discriminatory
v. Consistently treating individuals fairly and reasonably
vi. Ensuring adherence to the rules of the sport and the spirit of those rules

b) Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes harassment, where harassment is defined as comment or conduct directed towards an individual or group, which is offensive, abusive, racist, sexist, degrading, or malicious. Types of behaviour that constitute harassment include, but are not limited to:

i. Written or verbal abuse, threats, or outbursts
ii. Persistent unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments, innuendo, or taunts
iii. Leering or other suggestive or obscene gestures
iv. Condescending or patronizing behaviour which is intended to undermine self-esteem, diminish performance or adversely affect working conditions
v. Practical jokes which endanger a person’s safety, or negatively affect performance
vi. Any form of hazing
vii. Unwanted physical contact including, but not limited to, touching, petting, pinching, or kissing
viii. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, requests, or invitations
ix. Physical or sexual assault
x. Behaviours such as those described above that are not directed towards a specific individual or group but have the same effect of creating a negative or hostile environment
xi. Retaliation or threats of retaliation against an individual who reports harassment to the Association

c) Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes workplace harassment, where workplace harassment is defined as vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace – a comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Workplace harassment should not be confused with legitimate, reasonable management actions that are part of the normal work function, including measures to correct performance deficiencies, such as placing someone on a performance improvement plan, or imposing discipline for workplace infractions. Types of behaviour that constitute workplace harassment include, but are not limited to:

i. Bullying
ii. Repeated offensive or intimidating phone calls or emails
iii. Inappropriate sexual touching, advances, suggestions or requests
iv. Displaying or circulating offensive pictures, photographs or materials in printed or electronic form
v. Psychological abuse
vi. Personal harassment
vii. Discrimination
viii. Intimidating words or conduct (offensive jokes or innuendos)
ix. Words or actions which are known or should reasonably be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, or demeaning

d) Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes workplace violence, where workplace violence is defined as the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker; an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker; or a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker. Types of behaviour that constitute workplace harassment include, but are not limited to:

i. Verbal threats to attack a worker
ii. Sending to or leaving threatening notes or emails for a worker
iii. Making threatening physical gestures to a worker
iv. Wielding a weapon in a workplace
v. Hitting, pinching or unwanted touching of a worker which is not accidental
vi. Throwing an object at a worker
vii. Blocking normal movement or physical interference of a worker, with or without the use of equipment
viii. Sexual violence against a worker
ix. Any attempt to engage in the type of conduct outlined above

e) Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment, where sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual comments and sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or conduct of a sexual nature. Types of behaviour that constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

i. Sexist jokes
ii. Display of sexually offensive material
iii. Sexually degrading words used to describe a person
iv. Inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life
v. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions
vi. Persistent unwanted contact

f) Abstain from the non-medical use of drugs or the use of performance-enhancing drugs or methods. More specifically, the Association adopts and adheres to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program. Any infraction under this Program shall be considered an infraction of this Code and may be subject to further disciplinary action, and possible sanction, pursuant to the Association’s Discipline and Complaints Policy. the Association will respect any penalty enacted pursuant to a breach of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program, whether imposed by the Association or any other sport Association

g) Refrain from associating with any person for the purpose of coaching, training, competition, instruction, administration, management, athletic development, or supervision of the sport, who has incurred an anti-doping rule violation and is serving a sanction involving a period of ineligibility imposed pursuant to the Canadian Anti-Doping Program and/or the World Anti-Doping Code and recognized by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES)

h) Refrain from the use of power or authority in an attempt to coerce another person to engage in inappropriate activities

i) Refrain from consuming tobacco products, or recreational drugs while participating in the Association’s programs, activities, competitions, or events

j) In the case of adults, avoid consuming alcohol in competitions and situations where minors are present and take reasonable steps to manage the responsible consumption of alcohol in adult-oriented social situations associated with the Association’s events

k) Respect the property of others and not wilfully cause damage

l) Promote the sport in the most constructive and positive manner possible

m) Adhere to all federal, provincial, municipal and host country laws

n) Comply, at all times, with the Association’s bylaws, policies, procedures, and rules and regulations, as adopted and amended from time to time

BOARD/COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND STAFF

8. In addition to section 7 (above), the Association’s Directors, Committee Members, and Staff will have additional responsibilities to:

a) Function primarily as a member of the board and/or committee(s) of the Association; not as a member of any other particular member or constituency

b) Act with honesty and integrity and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the nature and responsibilities of the Association’s business and the maintenance of Individuals’ confidence

c) Ensure that the Association’s financial affairs are conducted in a responsible and transparent manner with due regard for all fiduciary responsibilities

d) Conduct themselves openly, professionally, lawfully and in good faith in the best interests of the Association

e) Be independent and impartial and not be influenced by self-interest, outside pressure, expectation of reward, or fear of criticism

f) Behave with decorum appropriate to both circumstance and position and be fair, equitable, considerate, and honest in all dealings with others

g) Keep informed about the Association’s activities, the provincial sport community, and general trends in the sectors in which they operate

h) Exercise the degree of care, diligence, and skill required in the performance of their duties pursuant to the laws under which the Association is incorporated

i) Respect the confidentiality appropriate to issues of a sensitive nature

j) Ensure that all Individuals are given sufficient opportunity to express opinions, and that all opinions are given due consideration and weight

k) Respect the decisions of the majority and resign if unable to do so

l) Commit the time to attend meetings and be diligent in preparation for, and participation in, discussions at such meetings

m) Have a thorough knowledge and understanding of all the Association governance documents

n) Conform to the bylaws and policies approved by the Association, in particular this Code of Conduct and Ethics as well as the Conflict of Interest Policy

COACHES

9. In addition to section 7 (above), coaches have many additional responsibilities. The coach-athlete relationship is a privileged one and plays a critical role in the personal, sport, and athletic development of the athlete. Coaches must understand and respect the inherent power imbalance that exists in this relationship and must be extremely careful not to abuse it, consciously or unconsciously. Coaches will:

a) Ensure a safe environment by selecting activities and establishing controls that are suitable for the age, experience, ability, and fitness level of the involved athletes

b) Prepare athletes systematically and progressively, using appropriate time frames and monitoring physical and psychological adjustments while refraining from using training methods or techniques that may harm athletes

c) Avoid compromising the present and future health of athletes by communicating and cooperating with sport medicine professionals in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of athletes’ medical and psychological treatments

d) Support the coaching staff of a training camp, provincial team, or national team; should an athlete qualify for participation with one of these programs

e) Provide athletes (and the parents/guardians of minor athletes) with the information necessary to be involved in the decisions that affect the athlete

f) Act in the best interest of the athlete’s development as a whole person

g) Respect other coaches

h) Meet the highest standards of credentials, integrity and suitability, including but not limited to such considerations established by the Association’s Screening Policy

i) Report any ongoing criminal investigation, conviction, or existing bail conditions, including those for violence, child pornography, or possession, use, or sale of any illegal substance

j) Under no circumstances provide, promote, or condone the use of drugs (other than properly prescribed medications) or performance-enhancing substances and, in the case of minors, alcohol and/or tobacco

k) Respect athletes playing with other teams and, in dealings with them, not encroach upon topics or actions which are deemed to be within the realm of 'coaching', unless after first receiving approval from the coaches who are responsible for the athletes

l) Not engage in a sexual relationship with an athlete under 18 years old, or an intimate or sexual relationship with an athlete over the age of 18 if the coach is in a position of power, trust, or authority over the athlete

m) Recognize the power inherent in the position of coach and respect and promote the rights of all participants in sport. This is accomplished by establishing and following procedures for confidentiality (right to privacy), informed participation, and fair and reasonable treatment. Coaches have a special responsibility to respect and promote the rights of participants who are in a vulnerable or dependent position and less able to protect their own rights

n) Dress professionally, neatly, and inoffensively

o) Use inoffensive language, taking into account the audience being addressed

ATHLETES

10. In addition to section 7 (above), athletes will have additional responsibilities to:

a) Report any medical problems in a timely fashion, when such problems may limit their ability to travel, practice, or compete; or in the case of carded athletes, interfere with the athlete’s ability to fulfill requirements under the Athlete Assistance Program

b) Participate and appear on-time and prepared to participate to their best abilities in all competitions, practices, training sessions, tryouts, tournaments, and events

c) Properly represent themselves and not attempt to participate in a competition for which they are not eligible by reason of age, classification, or other reason

d) Adhere to the Association’s rules and requirements regarding clothing and equipment

e) Never ridicule a participant for a poor performance or practice

f) Act in a sportsmanlike manner and not display appearances of violence, foul language, or gestures to other athletes, officials, coaches, or spectators

g) Dress to represent the sport and themselves well and with professionalism

h) Act in accordance with the Association’s policies and procedures and, when applicable, additional rules as outlined by coaches or managers

OFFICIALS

11. In addition to section 7 (above), officials will have additional responsibilities to:

a) Maintain and update their knowledge of the rules and rule changes

b) Work within the boundaries of their position’s description while supporting the work of other officials

c) Act as an ambassador of the Association by agreeing to enforce and abide by national and provincial rules and regulations

d) Take ownership of actions and decisions made while officiating

e) Respect the rights, dignity, and worth of all individuals

f) Not publicly criticize other officials or any club or association

g) Assist with the development of less-experienced officials and minor officials

h) Conduct themselves openly, impartially, professionally, lawfully, and in good faith in the best interests of the Association, athletes, coaches, other officials, and parents

i) Be fair, equitable, considerate, independent, honest, and impartial in all dealings with others

j) Respect the confidentiality required by issues of a sensitive nature, which may include ejections, defaults, forfeits, discipline processes, appeals, and specific information or data about Individuals

k) Honor all assignments unless unable to do so by virtue of illness or personal emergency, and in these cases inform the assignor or association at the earliest possible time

l) When writing reports, set out the true facts and not attempt to justify any decisions

m) Dress in proper attire for officiating