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Dispute Resolution Secretariat (Tribunal)

The main thrust of SDRCC is education. Through a wide range of resource materials and practical tools, we're working with the Canadian sport system to prevent disputes from occurring.

We recognize, however, that disputes will surface from time to time. So, the Dispute Resolution Secretariat is also available for use by athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and volunteers, as well as sport organizations and multisport services organizations.

Alternate dispute resolution has been defined as a series of processes that are alternatives to litigation and offer a number of advantages over the formal court system. Alternate dispute resolution processes include prevention, negotiation, facilitation, mediation and arbitration. The goals of an alternate dispute resolution system are to:

  • reduce time and costs for dispute resolution;
  • maintain or improve the disputants' relationship;
  • ensure that the outcome of the system is realistic, workable, and durable;
  • develop a process that people can learn from.

The operations, deliberations and rulings of the Dispute Resolution Secretariat are guided by the Canadian Sport Dispute Resolution Code.

The Four Divisions of the Dispute Resolution Secretariat

The Dispute Resolution Secretariat provides its services through four divisions:

Ordinary Tribunal: The first division, created in April 2004, serves as a final appeal mechanism for sports-related decisions rendered by organizations that, through the normal course, are subject to an internal appeal. It most often deals with team selection and athlete carding, but it also is used to resolve disputes pertaining to eligibility, general discipline, governance, and many others.

Doping Tribunal: Since June 2004, this specialized division serves as the first instance for the adjudication of doping violations asserted by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) against Canadian athletes or other persons. It is also the division responsible to rules on challenges of provisional suspensions imposed by the CCES.

Safeguarding Tribunal: This new division was created in 2021 as part of the safe sport movement in Canada. It serves as the first instance for hearings pertaining to violations and sanctions for maltreatment, including harassment, abuse and discrimination. Its rules allow for procedural accommodations to protect victims and vulnerable witnesses.

Appeal Tribunal: Formerly named the Doping Appeal Tribunal, this division continues to hear appeals of doping-related decisions, while also serving as an appeal mechanism for decisions of the Safeguarding Tribunal pertaining to sanctions.

Services Offered by the Dispute Resolution Secretariat

The two most common forms of alternate dispute resolution processes are mediation and arbitration. The Dispute Resolution Secretariat offers resolution facilitation, mediation, med/arb, and arbitration services. More information on what these different forms of dispute resolution entail is available here

World-Class Personnel

In dispute resolution, the independence of the third party - whether one individual or a panel - is critical. SDRCC has established a roster of highly qualified mediators, med/arb neutrals and arbitrators, located in every region of the country. Together they can mediate and arbitrate in both French and English. All have received intensive training in sport law and are well equipped to understand the circumstances and situations unique to the world of sport. The complete list of SDRCC mediators and arbitrators is available here.

Dispute resolution methods also tend to be more successful when the mediator or arbitrator has knowledge or expertise in the subject matter, or particular skills to deal with certain situations. For this reason, three specialized subsets of the SDRCC arbitrators and mediators were established :