Safe Sport Policy
The University of Toronto Track and Field Club (“UTTC”) is committed to promoting and maintaining a respectful and safe sport environment in which the terms and conditions of participation are equitable and non-discriminatory. Each UTTC Participant has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to work, train and compete in an environment conducive to productivity, self-development and performance advancement based upon individual ability.
The objective of UTTC’s Safe Sport Policy is to create a sport environment that is tolerant and accepting of differences. Our sport includes people of many races, of varied ethnic backgrounds, of different sexes and gender identification, and who hold different values, observe many religious traditions and have a range of abilities. We are all different, and we must work together.
Harassment and discrimination are destructive. They are barriers to productivity, self-development and performance advancement. Any acts of harassment or discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in our sport environment, including in the course of our activities, practices, competitions, functions and events, wherever they may occur, including locations of UTTC-related travel. In this policy, harassment includes any form of violence.
This policy pertains to all UTTC Participants and extends to all UTTC-related activities. For purposes of this policy “UTTC Participants” includes UTTC athletes, UTTC coaches, UTTC therapists, parents of UTTC athletes in the Junior Development Program, UTTC volunteers, UTTC Advisory Oversight Board members, and spectators at UTTC-related events.
Every UTTC Participant has a responsibility to support and assist persons subject to harassment or discrimination and to take appropriate action to stop such conduct. Every UTTC Participant has a responsibility to play a part in ensuring a sport environment free from harassment and discrimination. This means not engaging in, allowing, condoning, ignoring or not reporting behavior contrary to this policy.
UTTC upholds, as a matter of normal practice, the freedom from harassment and discrimination provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code. UTTC notes that the University of Toronto’s Policy of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, Athletics Canada’s Code of Conduct and Ethics and Harassment Policy, and Athletics Ontario’s Code of Conduct and Harassment Policy may also have application in certain circumstances. Nothing in this policy precludes a UTTC Participant from availing themselves of any of those policies if applicable.
Harassment and Discrimination
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) defines harassment as meaning:
“Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is or ought to be reasonably known to be unwelcome”.
Vexatious is defined as “distressing” or “annoying”.
The Code prohibits discrimination and harassment based on grounds that include age, sex (including pregnancy and breast feeding), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family status, race, colour, ancestry, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, religion, political affiliation, record of an offence for which a pardon has been granted or disability. Personal harassment, not based on one of these prohibited grounds, can be equally demeaning, intimidating or humiliating and is also covered by this policy.
Harassment and discrimination can be distinguished from normal, mutually acceptable socializing in that it is offensive, insulting, intimidating, embarrassing, hurtful, malicious and creates an uncomfortable sport environment.
UTTC will treat any complaint of harassment or discrimination with seriousness, sensitivity and discretion. Confidentiality will be maintained wherever possible. Exceptions will be made only where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of conducting a proper investigation or taking appropriate disciplinary/corrective measures, or where required by law.
Points to remember about harassment and discrimination
- Harassment and discrimination can be present at every level of an organization
- Harassment and discrimination are defined by the perceptions of the recipients of the behavior, not by those of the harasser
- Harassment and discrimination are about power and control
Harassment and discrimination range from subtle to blatant behaviour and can be expressed in a number of ways. The unwelcome comment or conduct does not have to be directed at a specific person for harassment or discrimination to occur. Any form of unsolicited behaviour characterized by words, acts or gestures, such as hurtful remarks, insults, humiliating jokes, display of offensive or obscene material, inappropriate physical contact, intimidation, inappropriate demands or reprisals, may constitute harassment or discrimination.
Any person, regardless of the person’s position of authority, may be responsible for committing an act of harassment or discrimination. While harassment and discrimination usually involve repeated acts or a course of conduct, a single incident could be serious enough to constitute a breach of this policy.
It must be recognized, however, that disciplined and demanding training is an indispensable part of high performance sport. Such discipline and demands should not be confused with harassment or discrimination.
A coach should:
- communicate performance standards, selection criteria, rules and regulations to all participants;
- be fair and consistent in making demands and giving corrective direction;
- avoid favoritism;
- use appropriate terminology; address individuals by name; and avoid the use of derogatory slang or offensive terms.
Harassment and discrimination include, but are not limited to, the following examples:
Sexual harassment may be broadly categorized into two main components:
- Where a person in a position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement to a person:
- makes membership, team selection, training and competition opportunities, funding opportunities, etc. conditional upon a UTTC Participant’s acceptance of sexual advances; or
- threatens to or makes reprisals when a UTTC Participant rejects a sexual
- Where the sport environment becomes “poisoned” when the conduct or comments of UTTC participants create a negative or uncomfortable sport
Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to:
- Unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, or taunting about sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or a person’s body or
- Practical jokes of a sexual nature that cause awkwardness or
- Sexual jokes or comments, including passing around written sexual jokes or comments (for example, by e-mail or in social media).
- Making gender-related comments about someone’s physical characteristics or embarrassment.
- Making comments or treating someone badly because they don’t conform to sex-role stereotypes.
- Using language that puts someone down based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, including sex-specific derogatory
- Refusing to work or train with people because of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
- Showing or sending pornography, sexual pictures or cartoons, sexually explicit images, or other offensive images or material (including on-line and in social media).
- Leering (suggestive staring) or other
- Unnecessary physical contact such as touching, patting, pinching,
- Suggestive or offensive remarks or unwelcome questions or discussions about sexual activities or a person’s personal
- Spreading sexual rumours (including on-line and in social media).
- Bragging about sexual prowess, or talking about sexual
- Demanding hugs, dates or sexual
- Asking someone to dress in a sexualized or gender specific
Further Examples of Harassment or Discrimination on Prohibited Grounds
- Mimicking, disparaging, ridiculing or insulting a person’s accent, speech or mannerisms.
- Comment or conduct which disparages, ridicules, or insults a person’s;
Insulting gestures, slurs or jokes which relate to;
Displaying or distributing derogatory materials, cartoons or pictures which relate to;
Using language (including using racial-specific derogatory names) that puts someone down based on their;
Unfairly singling someone out for humiliating treatment because of their; or
Refusing to work with people because of their;
age, sex (including pregnancy and breast feeding), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family status, race, colour, ancestry, citizenship, ethnic origin, place of origin, creed, religion, political affiliation, record of an offence for which a pardon has been granted or disability.
Harassment Includes Violence
Violence is a form of harassment and may include, but is not limited to:
- Actual and attempted acts of physical violence such as hitting, punching, slapping or kicking
- Threats of physical violence or intimidation
- Intimidation causing fear or anxiety
- Other acts of physical aggression, such as the deliberate destruction of or damage to property, especially where such actions are meant to intimidate one or more
No Retaliation for Using This Policy
All UTTC Participants have a right to make a complaint or enforce their rights under this policy without retaliation or threat of retaliation.
UTTC prohibits reprisals or threats of reprisal against anyone who makes use of this policy or takes part in an investigation under this policy.
An act of retaliation or threat of retaliation against such a person will be treated in the same manner as harassment.
UTTC Management Responsibilities
UTTC will ensure that complaints are handled with sensitivity and incidents of harassment or discrimination are discontinued as quickly as possible upon UTTC’s awareness of it. UTTC will protect from retaliation any UTTC Participant who has made a complaint in good faith.
UTTC Participant Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of UTTC Participants to show respect for others both in the UTTC sport environment and in any capacity where they are representing UTTC. UTTC Participants are responsible for their actions and are expected to change their conduct when advised that their behaviour is not acceptable to others.
What to Do if Harassment or Discrimination Occurs
This policy outlines both informal and formal options available to any UTTC Participant who believes that he or she or another person has been harassed or discriminated against in the UTTC sport environment.
While UTTC is committed to resolving harassment and discrimination concerns internally, nothing in this policy precludes a UTTC Participant from filing a complaint with the University of Toronto, Athletics Canada, Athletics Ontario, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario or the Ministry of Labour, or from seeking to have criminal charges laid or instituting civil proceedings.
UTTC Participants who engage in harassment or discrimination may expose themselves personally to damages in the event of a successful lawsuit or human rights case.
Keep a record. Write down dates, times, any witnesses, what was said or done, when and by whom. Documentation is extremely important, especially if the harasser does not stop or if the harassment or discrimination is serious and justifies a formal complaint.
Informal Resolution Options
In many situations, simply informing the person that the person’s comment or conduct is unwelcome will resolve the issue. Telling the person to “stop” may be difficult to do, but frequently it is the most effective means of eliminating the problem.
If you find it too difficult to speak to the person directly (or if you speak to the person but the unwelcome comment or conduct persists, or if you feel that as a result of speaking to the person you have been subjected to retaliatory behaviour), you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with your coach, the UTTC Head Coach, one of the designated senior athletes or any member of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board (any of the foregoing being a “Safe Sport Officer”). The Safe Sport Officer will assess whether the comment or conduct involves harassment or discrimination.
In the event that the Safe Sport Officer determines that the comment or conduct complained of engages this policy, the resolution procedures below will apply.
After discussing your concerns with a Safe Sport Officer, you may wish to have the Safe Sport Officer (or someone nominated by you) address the matter informally with the person whose behaviour has troubled you, or accompany you in doing so.
The Safe Sport Officer may (after conferring with you) discuss the matter confidentially with other possible Safe Sport Officers. If, however, the Safe Sport Officer is one of the designated senior athletes, that Safe Sport Officer will discuss the matter confidentiality with another Safe Sport Officer chosen by you. In particularly serious circumstances (for example, where there are previous complaints or incidents involving the person complained of or in cases involving allegations of inappropriate physical contact), the Safe Sport Officer may request that the UTTC Head Coach or the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board initiate an investigation of the matter. The Safe Sport Officer will carefully consider your wishes before making such a request.
In every case where the Safe Sport Officer (or someone nominated by you) addresses the matter informally with the person whose behaviour is in question, the Safe Sport Officer will keep you apprised of how the matter is being addressed and of any proposed resolution initiatives. The Safe Sport Officer will confer with the UTTC Head Coach or the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board on a “no names” basis prior to attempting to resolve the matter.
The Safe Sport Officer will complete this informal procedure as soon as possible, normally within 10 days of your speaking to the Safe Sport Officer, unless a longer period is appropriate in the circumstances. In this case, the Safe Sport Officer will notify you of the proposed time frame.
If the Safe Sport Officer with whom you have discussed your concerns does not agree with you that the comment or conduct complained of engages this policy, or if you are not satisfied with the way that Safe Sport Officer is handling the informal process, you may discuss your concerns with another Safe Sport Officer or you may make a formal written complaint under this policy.
Formal Complaint Options
You may decide to make a formal written complaint under this policy to the UTTC Head Coach, or, if any aspect of your concerns involves the UTTC Head Coach, with the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board. Upon receipt of a written complaint, the UTTC Head Coach or the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board, as the case may be, will initiate an investigation.
A formal written complaint may be made whether or not you have spoken to a Safe Sport Officer and whether or not the Safe Sport Officer agrees with you that there is evidence of harassment or discrimination. You may also make a formal written complaint in the event that the informal process does not resolve the matter to your satisfaction.
Investigation of Formal Complaints
The UTTC Head Coach or the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Committee, as the case may be, will initiate an investigation whenever he or she receives a formal written complaint and in other circumstances where an investigation is required by law or would be appropriate in the interest of ensuring that UTTC is free from harassment and discrimination. For example, an investigation might be appropriate where the UTTC Head Coach or the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Board becomes aware of a serious allegation or incident, or where a Safe Sport Officer has been approached by a person who does not wish to make a complaint (formal or informal), but who describes a very serious allegation or incident (for example, where there are previous complaints or incidents involving the person complained of or in cases involving allegations of inappropriate physical contact).
The investigation will be completed and the appropriate resolution decided upon as soon as possible and normally within 30 days of the UTTC Head Coach or Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board, as the case may be, receiving a formal written complaint or electing to initiate a complaint, unless a longer period is appropriate in the circumstances. In that case, the UTTC Head Coach or the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board, as the case may be, will notify the complainant of the proposed time frame.
In the course of the investigation, the investigator or investigative team will:
- Give a copy of the written complaint to the person whose conduct is complained of (the “Respondent”).
- Provide the Respondent with an opportunity to respond to the complaint orally or in writing and give a copy of any written response or a written summary of the oral response to the
- Advise both the complainant and the Respondent of their right to have independent legal representation with respect to this
- Investigate the
- Where the complaint is substantiated, (i) recommend appropriate disciplinary or rehabilitative action; (ii) lodge a confidential record of the proceedings and the result with the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board; and (iii) give a summary of the findings to both the complainant and the Respondent.
- Where the complaint is not substantiated, (i) take no further action against the Respondent; (ii) lodge a confidential record of the proceedings and the result with the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board; and (iii) give a summary of the findings to both the complainant and the
- At any stage during the informal or formal process, the complainant has the right to withdraw from any further action in connection with the complaint. The UTTC Head Coach or the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Board, as the case may be, however, remains obligated to pursue the matter if he or she believes the continued investigation is appropriate in the interest of ensuring that UTTC is free from harassment and discrimination (for example, if there are concerns that the withdrawal of the complaint occurred as a result of possible retaliatory behaviour by the Respondent or in cases where there are previous complaints or incidents involving the Respondent or in cases involving allegations of inappropriate physical contact).
- All procedural and administrative matters arising during the course of the investigation will be coordinated by the UTTC Head Coach or the Chair of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board, as the case may be.
The UTTC Head Coach will bring to the attention of the UTTC Advisory Oversight Board any matter raised under this policy that the UTTC Head Coach believes involves significant risk to UTTC or any UTTC Participant.
Disciplinary and Rehabilitative Actions
Disciplinary and rehabilitative action arising out of the informal resolution process or resulting from a formal complaint and subsequent investigation may include one or more of the following:
- A formal
- Counseling and/or education on harassment and discrimination.
- A written
- A change of work assignment of the
- A record in the file of the
- The suspension with or without pay of the
- The termination of the
- The termination of membership, with or without refund of membership fees
It is essential that the complainant, Respondent and all of those involved in the informal or formal investigation of a complaint maintain confidentiality throughout the informal or formal complaint procedure, the investigation and subsequent to the investigation. Information will be provided only to those who have a “need to know”, or as required in the course of the investigation. It is the responsibility of all UTTC Participants to cooperate with the investigation and to maintain strict confidentiality of all information related to the allegations and investigations.
It is a serious breach of this policy to break confidentiality unless disclosure of information relating to the complaint is required by law or is necessary in order for the proper investigation and resolution of the matter. Any such breach will be treated in the same manner as harassment.
Conduct by Non-Uttc Participants
If you believe that you have experienced harassment or discrimination in the UTTC sport environment by a person who is not a UTTC Participant (for example, an athlete or coach from another club, an official or volunteer at a meet, a visitor to any facilities where UTTC Participants are training, competing or spectating), you may bring your concerns to the attention of a Safe Sport Officer. The UTTC Head Coach will have responsibility for any investigation relating to such non-UTTC Participants.
Harassment and discrimination in the sport environment is a serious issue. This policy must not be used maliciously or in bad faith. Bad faith or misconduct in the use of this policy will be treated in the same manner as harassment.
This policy will be reviewed annually.
If you have any questions regarding the above policy you may contact any of the Safe Sport Officers identified in Schedule A.
Schedule a – Safe Sport Officers
Head Coach – Colleen Dotson
Coaches – Ethan Davenport, Galan Yousuf, Ewan Scallion, Bob Thacker, Sharon Clarke, Brett Georgeivski, Tom Moss, Stanley Samuel