There are other ways for a sports dispute to be resolved in Canada in addition to the SDRCC.


There are other ways for a sports dispute to be resolved in Canada in addition to the SDRCC.

The disputant can file an internal appeal to a sport organization; or they can seek Mediation or Arbitration at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”).

Many National Sports Organizations (“NSO”) have in place an internal appeal process to resolve disputes. Their process will generally be set forth in their internal appeal policy, which would prescribe the scope, timing, grounds, screening, and decision of the appeal. Generally, this would be the place to start in trying to resolve a dispute.

“Athletics Canada (“AC”) allows athletes to appeal carding, selection, eligibility, and complaints of violations of AC’s Code of Conduct and Ethics to its Commissioner’s Office. It sets out the procedures to submit an appeal, including the timeframe, grounds of appeal, mediation, and hearing. Furthermore, it empowers the Commissioner’s Office to make written decisions. Lastly, it stipulates that these decisions are subject to review by the SDRCC.” (per Gowlings)

While this process may be onerous, following the internal procedures set out by different sports organizations will be required before proceeding to the SDRCC.

The CAS is another route to resolution. CAS uses Arbitration or Mediation to help resolve disputes. CAS can only be used when both parties have agreed to refer a matter to the CAS. This could occur due to an Arbitration clause in a contract or regulations (Ordinary Arbitration), or may involve an appeal against a decision rendered by a federation, association, or sport-related body whose statutes or regulations provide for an appeal to the CAS (Appeal Arbitration).

Gowlings also states that the CAS provides different procedural rules depending on whether it is an Ordinary Arbitration or Appeal Arbitration. However, the procedural rules generally govern the request for Arbitration or appeal, formation of the Panel, and procedures before the Panel include written submissions, hearings, and evidentiary proceedings. The parties can choose the applicable law to be considered on the Appeal. The Panel is empowered to deliver written decisions, which are final and binding subject to certain conditions.”

The CAS has also established The Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS ADD”) to hear and decide anti-doping cases as a first-instance authority pursuant to a delegation of powers from the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”), International Federations of sports on the Olympic programme (Olympic IFs), and any other signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code (“WADC”). 

These WADC signatories have delegated their powers to CAS ADD to decide whether or not there has been a violation of their anti-doping rules, as well as to decide any sanction, if applicable, in accordance with the WADC.

CAS ADD and these procedural rules have been established in conjunction with the applicable anti-doping rules of the WADC signatories concerned. (per CAS)

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