News about safety in amateur sport in Canada is often about the gaps – whether it be policy, resources or oversight — in the sport environment that provides the opportunity for misconduct and results in bullying, harassment, abuse and harm to individuals. We hear about the gaps only after the harm has occurred. And we often hear that the individuals who are victimized did not know where to go to seek advice and support about what to do or they attempted to report and were not heard.
I am the Harassment and Discrimination Officer for my community sport club. Unlike my club peers who volunteered for the board of directors or fundraising committee and who are busy organizing weekly bake sales, seeking sponsors and promoting online fundraising campaigns, my volunteer role has required little of my time. But that is likely changing and for a good reason. Amateur sport in Canada is undergoing a cultural transformation, specifically around safety in sport and the creation of a safe environment for all participants, particularly children.
Policies and procedures serve many roles in the workplace. In simplest terms, a policy sets out the legislation-mandated as well as the expected standards of behaviour for employees and stakeholders. Procedures provide a how-to guide to direct individuals where to go when they question the behavior they see or experience.