Coaching Association of Canada

Responsible Coaching Movement

  • 3 Steps to Responsible Coaching
  • Keeping Sport Healthy and Safe

For Parents with Children in Sport

Participation in sports is a great way for children to learn skills, develop fitness habits, and build a solid understanding of teamwork and sportsmanship. It helps youth build confidence, self-esteem, and can foster positive body image development.

Coaches have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their athletes. Parents have the right to speak with the coach or the coach's employer if they have questions or concerns about interactions with their child.  

Ask your coach, “Have you taken the 3 steps to Responsible Coaching?”

The 3 steps to Responsible Coaching help ensure athletes and coaches benefit fully from sport participation in a safe, healthy, and fun environment.

  • Rule of Two
  • Background Screening
  • Ethics Training

What are the 3 steps to Responsible Coaching?

  • Step 1: Follow the Rule of Two - This means that the coach is never alone or out of sight with your child.

    Two NCCP trained or certified coaches should always be present with an athlete, especially a minor athlete, when in a potentially vulnerable situation such as in a locker room or meeting room. All one-on-one interactions between a coach and an athlete must take place within earshot and in view of the second coach except for medical emergencies.

    One of the coaches must also be of the same gender as the athlete.

    Should there be a circumstance where a second screened and NCCP trained or certified coach is not available, a screened volunteer, parent, or adult can be recruited.

  • Step 2: Complete your Background Screening

    The background screening ensures that coaches meet the important requirements to coach athletes. Screening tools include comprehensive job postings, criminal record checks, interviews, and reference checks. Coaches can complete their criminal record check screening with their local police department or by visiting Sterling Talent Solutions.

    Note: If you opt to do your criminal record check screening with Sterling Talent Solutions, you will have to take your Vulnerable Sector Screening through your local police department.

  • Step 3: Enroll in Ethics Training

    Ethics training prepares coaches to effectively handle situations that arise from ethical dilemmas or even legal challenges that concern individuals, teams, and their sports organizations.

    Ethics training includes the Make Ethical Decisions module within the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), as well as training in abuse and harassment prevention, such as Respect in Sport, which can be taken before and during their coaching career.

    By successfully completing the NCCP Make Ethical Decisions (MED) training, coaches will be fully equipped to handle ethical situations with confidence and surety. NCCP Make Ethical Decisions training helps coaches identify the legal, ethical, and moral implications of difficult situations that present themselves in the world of team and individual sport.

    Respect in Sport training empowers coaches and parents to recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD).

    There are two ways to complete ethics training:

    A) In-class workshop:  To participate in an in-class NCCP Make Ethical Decisions module, please contact your local Provincial/Territorial Coaching Representative.

    B) Home-study: Some provinces and territories offer the NCCP Make Ethical Decisions module through home study. Please contact your local Provincial/Territorial Coaching Representative for more information.

    Respect in Sport training is also delivered through interactive, online home-study.

    Please contact your sport governing body for requirements within your sport.

Responsible Coaching Resources for Parents:

Information, tools, and resources for parents who want to learn more about the Responsible Coaching Movement.

For Anyone Who Suspects Abuse

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a registered charity dedicated to the personal safety of all children. If you have a concern about a child and want to talk to someone, contact the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. If you suspect abuse, report it to your local child welfare and/or police.

Additional resources can be found at: Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Questions for Parents to Ask a Sport Organization

When enrolling a youth participant in a sport program, here are questions to ask a sport organization to ensure the organization has the necessary policies and procedures in place to protect the participant from unethical behaviour.

  1. What type and level of training and/or certification does the organization require for their coaches?
  2. What screening process does the organization use for coaches and volunteers?
  3. Has the organization taken the Responsible Coaching Movement Pledge?
  4. Does the organization have a Rule of Two Policy?
  5. Does the organization have an enforced Code of Conduct Policy?
  6. What processes does the organization have in place to protect minor athletes from unethical behaviour?
  7. Does the organization promote/require ethical decision making and respect based training for parents, coaches and volunteers?
  8. Does the organization have a travel policy?

Q & A for Parents about Responsible Coaching

  • What is the Responsible Coaching Movement?

    The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a multi-phase system-wide movement, coordinated by the Coaching Association of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, that has the potential to affect all sport organizations and coaches.  The RCM is a call to action for organizations to implement realistic change based on their individual state of readiness.

    Phase 1 of the RCM addresses the gaps identified through consultation with stakeholders that indicate there is a lack of uniform policies, a lack of club capacity, a limited communication strategy, a lack of a tracking mechanism for coaches, and a lack of a coordinated approach by sport organizations to address responsible coaching practices have all contributed to permitting instances of unethical behaviour in sport. 

    The goal is to make sport safer for children and the vulnerable sector. Although advances in athlete protection in the past twenty years have decreased instances of athlete maltreatment in amateur sport, incidents of athlete abuse, harassment by coaches, and risks to athlete safety have continued to occur.

    The Responsible Coaching Movement focuses on three key areas:

  • How can I find out if the organization has taken the RCM Pledge?

    The Coaching Association of Canada maintains a list of organizations that have taken the RCM Pledge. The goal of the RCM is to promote a safe sport environment and support Sport Organizations to proactively and voluntarily take measures to ensure the safety of their sport. By taking the pledge, organizations are making a commitment to ensuring that they have policies and procedures in place that protect athletes and coaches in their organization and sport. A list of organizations that have taken the pledge can be found here.

  • How can a parent become involved in the RCM?

    Parents play a vital role in shaping the organizations in which their children are involved. By proactively supporting organizations to implement policies and procedures focussed on protecting athletes and coaches from unethical behaviour, parents contribute to the ongoing development of our sport system and ensure a positive environment for all.

    Ways that a parent can become involved in the RCM include:

    • Encourage your child’s sport organization to take the RCM Pledge.
    • Discuss with other parents on how parents can support the organization to implement policies and procedures that support the Rule of Two.
    • Take NCCP Training: Make Ethical Decisions, Empower+
    • Take the Respect in Sport online training
    • Encourage the organization to provide Commit2Kids training for coaches, volunteers and parents
    • Ask questions about the organization’s commitment to creating a safe environment for your child both on and off the playing field (link to question above if in a different document)
    • Be willing to walk away from an organization that does not support the Responsible Coaching Movement and the policies and procedures that are recommended.