Coaching Association of Canada

Responsible Coaching Movement

  • Safe Sport

  • Safe Sport Training

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.

The RCM is the result of extensive ongoing consultation with the Canadian Sport Community. These consultations will guide the different phases of the RCM that will address the role coaches play with issues relating to the health and safety of athletes, both on and off the field of play.

Responsible Coaching Movement
Pledge Statement

Our sport organization pledges to align our practices with Phase 1 of the Responsible Coaching Movement and is committed to ensuring that our athletes and coaches are protected.


  • Safe Sport: How to get involved

    Sport leaders and Coaches play a vital role in the Canadian sport system serving as authority figure, mentor, teacher, and role model for athletes. Sport leaders and Coaches are integral to the athlete experience. The RCM is a collaborative effort open to all NCCP partners and sanctioned sport organizations to ensure the impact of coaches is a positive one for athletes and for Canadian sport. As a first step, sport organizations are encouraged to make a pledge to support the RCM and commit to achieving the Phase 1 objectives.

    It is recommended that organizations discuss the Responsible Coaching Movement and pledge with their Board of Directors and senior staff to ensure awareness and agreement in fulfilling this commitment. By doing so, sport organizations commit to implement supportive policies and processes that adhere to the three key areas of focus in Phase 1, ensure the safety and protection of their athletes, and provide their sport leaders, coaches and parents with the tools and training necessary to model ethical behaviour.

    Organizations are encouraged to implement realistic change based on their individual state of readiness, in order for it to be successful in the long-term.

  • Key areas of focus to Implement in Phase 1 of the Responsible Coaching Movement:

    • Rule of Two

      The goal of the Rule of Two is to ensure all interactions and communications are open, observable, and justifiable. Its purpose is to protect participants (especially minors) and coaches in potentially vulnerable situations by ensuring more than one adult is present. There may be exceptions in emergency situations.

    • Background Screening (Including Criminal Record Checks)

      The background screening process involves using a number of different tools to ensure coaches and volunteers meet the necessary security requirements to coach or work with athletes. These tools include comprehensive job postings, criminal record checks, interviews, and reference checks. In addition, child and youth training with specific special needs populations may be required.

    • Respect and Ethics Training

      Increasing coaches’ ethical conduct and ethical behaviour toward athletes requires that coaches be trained to understand what it means to act ethically. This training would include 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, before and during their coaching career. Sport organizations may also determine their own additional standards of ethical behaviour for coaches and volunteers in their organization.

  • Phase 1- Supporting best practice in Canada’s sport system

    Minor Athletes: Vision 2020

    Phase 1 of the RCM addresses the gaps identified through consultation with stakeholders indicate that 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.1 Sport stakeholders throughout Canada have also discussed new opportunities for closing these gaps, identified best practices, and considered the benefits of a cooperative, sustained approach to responsible coaching.2

    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.3 

    1 Athlete protection and maltreatment in sport – Discussion paper (Commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, March 2015).
    2 Coaches of Canada and the Coaching Association of Canada collaborated to host twelve workshops between December 2013 and April 2014 and consulted with over 160 coaches and sport administrators across Canada.
    3 Athlete protection and maltreatment in sport – Discussion paper (Commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, March 2015).