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Canada-wide respect in sport training tool preventing abusive behaviour: officials

November 7th, 2018 Activity Leaders, Parents, Respect in Sport

London official says disciplining parental behaviour dropped tenfold


Officials say sport organizations are reporting fewer issues related to disciplining behaviour. (Getty Images/Hero Images)

A nation-wide training tool for parents and coaches is creating a healthier and safer sports environment through the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, officials say.

More than one million people in Canada have been trained through Respect in Sport, Respect Group Inc. in the last decade of its existence.

Whether on the ice or turf, officials say sport organizations are reporting fewer incidents related to disciplining behaviour.

“We’re really trying to help sport organizations create an environment where kids want to stay involved in sport and stay engaged,” said Mark Allen, Ontario director of the program.

“[It’s] to keep it fun and safe for kids, keep kids engaged so that they want to come back and just provide a level of education for those that are responsible for overseeing kids.”

The online education tool offers training to clubs mandated through Hockey Canada, among others. More recently, it established partnerships with other national governing bodies for sports including gymnastics, skating and swimming, along with provincial bodies including Ontario Soccer.

While it’s mainly used in sport, Scouts Canada has also used the tool to train more than 26,000 of its leaders.

Training parents and coaches

The 2.5 hour training course for coaches focuses on the primary basics around bullying and harassment. But it also tackles topics like long-term player development and injury and concussion management.

A screen capture of the Respect in Sport Activity Leaders Program preview. (Respect in Sport)

“It’s really just acknowledging these issues and talking about them in such a way that coaches are going to feel comfortable to address them and not let things go if they’re hearing racial slurs or hearing comments,” said Allen.

The one-hour training course for parents focuses on much of the same topics but also includes guidelines around how to treat a child or coach during and after a game.

For example, Allen said parents are taught the 24-hour rule, which encourages them to wait a full day to discuss an incident with an official in an effort to avoid unnecessary altercations.

“If you still feel the need to reach out to the coach, do it 24 hours later when you’re a little bit calmer and it’ll be a more productive discussion than doing it in the heat of the moment,” he said.

Another rule — dubbed the car ride home — encourages positive behaviour after a game, despite the score turnout.

Every four years, the program is revamped to cover relevant and current issues.

“Our program is used from coast to coast to coast, so we want to make sure that it includes everybody and that everybody sees themselves in the program,” said Allen.

The most recent revamp included a section about transgender people. Allen said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has also influenced content change.

In Ontario, there’s no recertification requirement for the program, however, officials are looking to possibly change that.

‘A marked change in behaviour’

Kevin Egan, past president of the London Junior Knights, has observed the changes before and after the local team implemented Respect in Sport about 10 years ago, when the team was one of the first across Canada to adopt the program.

We’re really trying to help sport organizations create an environment where kids want to stay involved in sport and stay engaged.– Mark Allen, Respect Group Inc.

“We’re seeing a marked change in behaviour … It’s been a dramatic change.”

“The number of times that we have had to discipline parents for behaviour in the rink has dropped probably more than tenfold,” said Egan, noting that it’s difficult to quantify the change because there are no statistics.

“People became better behaved in the rink … there were far fewer issues coming to the board for discipline purposes,” he said.

“[There was] no swearing, no losing your temper, no throwing things or kicking things or the types of behaviour that had been a problem in the past.”

Egan also credits some of the changes to a city of London policy called Rzone, enacted in 2013. It’s an education and awareness strategy that promotes respectful behaviour at recreational facilities across the city. It encourages people to report incidents of misbehaviour to city officials.

Back in 2014, Mount Royal University released numbers in relation to the Respect in Sport program in its region, noting fewer outbursts from hockey parents.

Currently, the University of Toronto is conducting its own research on the program.

canada soccer athlete safety, respect, abuse prevention, coaching, soccer, fifa, news

Canada Soccer signs on to Respect in Sport agreement to bolster player safety

November 6th, 2018 Activity Leaders, Parents, Respect in Sport

Posted on 5 November 2018 in Coaching – Canada Soccer

Canada Soccer is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with Respect in Sport as part of its core values to ensure a safe and positive environment for all participants of the game. The organization founded by former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy is aimed at preventing abuse in sport through coursework for coaches and team officials working with young athletes.

“This partnership is an important formalization of the work being done across the country to ensure that proper protections are in place for young athletes,” said Canada Soccer Director of Development Jason deVos. “We all have a responsibility to ensure young soccer players are in a supportive and safe development environment and this agreement is another layer to those protections.”

All coaches who participate in Canada Soccer’s coach education licensing programs will now be required to take a soccer-specific Respect in Sport module as part of coach education programs across the country.

“The Respect Group have been at the forefront of child protection in Canada for more than a decade, and we are delighted to sign this agreement to bolster our efforts in this vital area,” deVos said.

Canadian athletes speak out in Calgary to end abuse in sport

June 8th, 2018 Activity Leaders, General News, Parents, Respect in Sport

Colleen Schmidt – CTV News – June 8, 2018

Two victims of former Canadian National ski coach, Bertrand Charest, are calling for sweeping changes to end sexual abuse in sport and were in the city on Friday to share their stories with Calgarians.

Former professional skiers Genevieve Simard and Amelie-Frederique Gagnon are among several women who were sexually assaulted by Charest….

The two women are advocating for a protection program that includes mandatory training for all coaches, volunteers, and everyone in the entourage of an athlete.

“The reason we wanted to come out in the public eye on Monday and give our press conference is to give the biggest impact possible to put a face on the twelve of us and what has happened and we want to create awareness to everybody in the country because we want to ensure that safe, that sports become safe for our children, for the next generation and that’s why we’re doing this. We want to take this horrible chapter in our lives and we want to turn it into something positive and that’s making sure these kinds of abuse never happen again and we need the government in helping us achieve that,” said Simard. MORE


June 8th, 2018 Activity Leaders, General News, Parents, Press Releases, Respect in Sport


Voir plus bas pour la version en français


June 6, 2018

Respect Group commends the bravery of the former members of the National Ski Team, Amélie-Frédérique Gagnon, Gail Kelly, Anna Prchal and Geneviève Simard and the many other women who have come forward to disclose their stories and share their collective goal in calling for safer sport. They represent a multitude of past victims and their voices have already inspired other courageous individuals to come forward.


Respect Group also applauds the leadership of B2Ten, the Coaching Association of Canada, the Sport Dispute and Resolution Centre of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection for bringing this critical topic to the forefront and advocating for sport that is free from maltreatment. These recommendations include;


  • Mandatory online training as to rights, responsibilities, obligations and awareness for athletes, coaches, professional service providers and management;
  • Development, adoption and adherence of Policies and Procedures to prevent all forms of maltreatment;
  • An independent avenue for parties to raise concerns when issues arise;
  • The rule of two; insuring, within reason, that young athletes are not left on their own with a coach, staff or other personnel for an extended duration.




Respect Group was incorporated on April 5th, 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Offering certification programs for Community/Sport Organizations (Respect in Sport), Schools and the Workplace, Respect Group has certified over 1,000,000 Canadians.






6 juin 2018

Respect Group salue la bravoure des anciens membres de l’équipe nationale de ski, Amélie-Frédérique Gagnon, Gail Kelly, Anna Prchal et Geneviève Simard et les nombreuses autres femmes qui ont dévoilé leur histoire et partagé leur objectif commun en réclamant une sécurité accrue en sport. Elles  représentent une multitude de victimes passées, et leurs voix ont déjà inspiré d’autres personnes courageuses à se manifester.


Respect Group applaudit également le leadership de B2dix, l’Association canadienne des entraîneurs, le Centre de règlement des différends sportifs du Canada et le Centre canadien de protection de l’enfance pour avoir porté ce sujet critique au premier plan et exigé un sport exempt de  maltraitance. Ces recommandations comprennent :


  • Une formation en ligne obligatoire sur les droits, les responsabilités, les obligations et la sensibilisation des athlètes, des entraîneurs, des fournisseurs de services professionnels et de la direction;
  • L’élaboration, l’adoption et l’adhésion aux politiques et procédures visant à prévenir toutes les formes de maltraitance;
  • Un canal indépendant offert à toutes les parties pour partager les préoccupations lorsque des problèmes surviennent;
  • La règle de deux : s’assurer, dans la mesure du possible, que les jeunes athlètes ne soient pas seuls avec un entraîneur ou tout membre du personnel pendant une période prolongée.



Respect Group a été constitué le 5 avril 2004 par les cofondateurs Sheldon Kennedy et Wayne McNeil pour poursuivre une passion commune: la prévention de l’intimidation, de l’abus, du harcèlement et de la discrimination. Offrant des programmes de certification pour les organismes communautaires / sportifs (Respect et sport), les écoles et le milieu de travail, Respect Group a certifié plus de 1,000,000 de Canadiens.


Fear, greed, broken dreams: How early sports specialization is eroding youth sports

April 2nd, 2018 Parents

The Vancouver Sun


Fear, greed, broken dreams: How early sports specialization is eroding youth sports

These days, alas, the fun in youth sports is rapidly fading, the dreams of children replaced by the ambitions of adults.

As the system has become increasingly more “adultified,” there has been an atrophy of equal value in the numbers of children playing sports. A U.S. poll showed a 70 per cent attrition rate of children who quit sports for life by the age of 13, most of whom cited a lack of fun as their reason. MORE

Sheldon Kennedy Sees History Repeating With Nassar Case

March 6th, 2018 Activity Leaders, Parents, Respect in Sport, Sheldon Kennedy


Dan Robson January 24, 2018


Sheldon Kennedy Sees History Repeating With Nassar Case

For more than two decades, Nassar, who also ran a gymnastics clinic at Michigan State University, used his position of power and trust to prey on vulnerable children. Each account of sexual abuse further exposed a culture of ignorance and victim blaming within competitive sport.The enormity of Nassar crimes seems unfathomable. That he wasn’t stopped sooner is unconscionable. There weren’t just red flags. There were flashing lights and sirens. And they were ignored again and again. And as those wrenching accounts of sexual abuse were shared at Nassar’s sentencing, Sheldon Kennedy saw history repeatingMORE

Active bystanders can stop abuse in the halls of power

March 5th, 2018 Activity Leaders, Parents, Respect in School, Respect in Sport, Respect in the Workplace, Sheldon Kennedy

Policy Options – Michelle Austin

February 5, 2018

Active bystanders can stop abuse in the halls of power

What everyone who works in the field of politics requires is bystander training. Victims of abuse – be it child abuse, sexual abuse, workplace harassment, marital abuse or elder abuse – will note that they repeatedly tried to tell their story and get help, but nothing happened. “From my experience, a child who is being abused has to tell — on average — seven people before their story is taken seriously,” said survivor and activist Sheldon Kennedy. MORE

Hockey parents get much-needed training: Editorial

February 28th, 2018 Parents, Respect in Sport, Uncategorised

The Star

Sept 26, 2016

Hockey parents get much-needed training: Editorial

If you’ve ever been to a junior hockey game, you’ve likely encountered an example of the Raging Puckhead, a troubling class of hockey parent. If not, type “bad hockey parent” into YouTube and behold the horror show. These moms and dads, a small minority in the seats, will obnoxiously scream their displeasure at a player’s performance, a referee’s call or, most commonly, a coach’s failure to give their child ice time, evidently forgetting that they are watching kids playing a game. See the full article: MORE

Michelle Hauser: Parents need to resist the urge to push their kids too hard in sports

February 8th, 2018 Parents, Respect in Sport, Uncategorised

National Post

August 17, 2016

Michelle Hauser: Parents need to resist the urge to push their kids too hard in sports


Article: A Coach’s Plea to Parents

November 12th, 2017 General News, Parents

Article: A Coach’s Plea to Parents


An interesting article from Alison Beblin on letting the coaches do the coaching, and allowing your children to simply enjoy sport and just “let them play”. Read the full article here: MORE


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