Member Conduct Policy

Membership in WRC, and participation in its activities, brings with it many benefits and privileges that are balanced by Member and Participant responsibilities and obligations.

This policy defines the parameters for these responsibilities and obligations, and thus identifies a standard for behaviour that is expected of all WRC Members and Participants. This policy also identifies the procedures to be followed when this standard is not achieved.

Application of this Policy

  1. This Policy applies to all Members defined in the bylaws of WRC (‘Members’) as well as any individuals engaged in activities with WRC including, but not limited to, athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, directors, officers, employees, contractors, parents and spectators (‘Participants’). This Policy applies to the conduct of Members and Participants at any WRC competitions, activities, programs and events.
  2. This policy was approved by WRC on Jan. 10, 2009. It will be reviewed on an annual basis and may be amended, deleted or replaced by a resolution of the Board of Directors.

Expected Standard of Ethical Conduct

  • WRC is committed to providing an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect. All Members and Participants of WRC are thus expected to:
  • Demonstrate through words and actions the spirit of sportsmanship*, sports leadership and ethical conduct;
  • Treat others with respect and refrain from negative remarks or conduct;
  • Care for and respect the property and assets of the WRC;
  • Avoid and reject the non-medical use of drugs or the use of performance-enhancing drugs or methods;
  • Refrain from using alcohol and tobacco products when involved in WRC training sessions or competitive events, and consume these products responsibly in association with WRC social events;
  • Refrain from any behavior that constitutes harassment, where harassment is defined as comment or conduct directed towards an individual or group, which is offensive, abusive, racist, sexist, degrading or malicious**
  • Refrain from any behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment, where sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances or conduct of a sexual nature that: is offensive and unwelcome; creates an intimidating and hostile environment; or can reasonably be expected to be harmful to participants in the sport environment;
  • If a coach, ensure a safe training environment by planning activities and establishing controls that are suitable for the age, experience, ability, maturity and fitness level of athletes;
  • If a coach, avoid any behaviour that abuses the power imbalance inherent in the coaching position to
    1. establish or maintain a sexual relationship with an athlete that he or she is coaching, or
    2. encourage inappropriate physical or emotional intimacy with an athlete, regardless of the athlete’s age; and
  • Comply at all times with the bylaws, policies, rules and regulations of WRC, comply with any contracts or agreements executed with or by WRC, comply with any sanction imposed by WRC, and comply with any directives issued by the Club manager or Club coaches.

Types of Infractions

  1. Failure by a Member or Participant to achieve the expected standard set out above may result in an infraction and the imposition of discipline. Infractions are divided into two types, minor infractions and major infractions, which are dealt with using different procedures.
  2. Minor infractions are single incidents of failing to achieve the expected standards of conduct that generally do not result in harm to others, to WRC or to the sport of rowing. Examples of minor infractions include, but are not limited to:
    • Failure to pay dues on a timely basis;
    • Single instances of un-sportsmanlike conduct;
    • Single instances of disrespectful comments or behaviour directed towards others;
    • Single instances of non-compliance with the bylaws, policies, rules, regulations and directives of WRC.
  3. All disciplinary situations involving minor infractions will be dealt with by the appropriate person having authority over the Member or Participant involved: this person may include, but is not restricted to, a coach, club manager, official, board member, senior volunteer, or staff member. Penalties for minor infractions may include a verbal warning, written warning, request for an apology, service or other voluntary contribution to WRC, removal of certain privileges of membership for a designated period of time, and/or removal from the current activity or competition. All minor infractions will be documented using an Incident Report.
  4. Major infractions are instances of failing to achieve the expected standards of conduct that result, or have the potential to result, in harm to other persons, to WRC or to the sport of rowing. Examples of major infractions include, but are not limited to:
    • Repeated minor infractions;
    • Intentionally damaging WRC property or improperly handling WRC monies;
    • Activities or behaviour that interfere with a competition or with any athlete’s preparation for a competition;
    • Pranks, jokes or other activities that endanger the safety of others, including hazing;
    • Deliberate disregard for the bylaws, policies, rules, regulations and directives of WRC;
    • Conduct that intentionally damages the image, credibility or reputation of WRC;
    • Behaviour that constitutes harassment, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct;
    • Abusive use of alcohol, any use of alcohol by minors, use of illicit drugs and narcotics, or use of banned performance enhancing drugs or methods.
  5. Major infractions will be reviewed and decided using the disciplinary procedures set out in this policy, except where a dispute resolution procedure contained within a contract or other formal written agreement takes precedence.
  6. Major infractions that occur within competition may be dealt with immediately by the appropriate person having authority, such as a coach, club manager, official, board member, senior volunteer, or staff member. In such situations, disciplinary sanctions will be for the duration of the competition only. Further sanctions may be applied but only after review of the matter using the disciplinary procedures set out in this policy.

Reporting an Infraction

  1. Any individual may report to a Representative of WRC a complaint of an infraction by a Member or Participant. Such complaint must be in writing, using the Incident Report , and must be made within 14 days of the alleged infraction. For the purposes of this Section, a ‘Representative’ is any person in a responsible volunteer or staff position within WRC. Coach, Club Manager, WRC Board member, Rec. Rep or Athletes Rep.
  2. Upon receiving a complaint, the Representative will provide it immediately to a member of the Board of Directors or the Club Manager if a Director is not reachable. If the complaint is received by the Club Manager she/he is to forward the document on to the club President as soon as possible.
  3. WRC (The Board of Directors) may determine that an alleged infraction is of such seriousness as to warrant suspension of the Member, or removal of the Participant, pending investigation, a hearing and a disciplinary decision.
  4. Upon receiving a complaint of a major infraction, the Board of Directors will review the complaint and may:
    • Dismiss the complaint if they consider it to be trivial or vexatious;
    • Determine that the complaint does not fall within the jurisdiction of this policy, and refer it the appropriate body having jurisdiction;
    • Direct that the infraction be dealt with informally as a minor infraction; or
    • Or convene a Discipline Committee who will handle it as a major infraction.
  5. If the complaint is directed towards the Board of Directors then the board will immediately convene a Discipline Committee regardless of the nature of the complaint.

Disciplinary Procedures

  1. The Discipline Committee is a WRC committee composed of three persons, who are appointed by WRC from a list of individuals who have indicated to WRC their willingness to serve on a Discipline Committee should the need arise. The Discipline Committee has an overall responsibility to ensure procedural fairness is respected at all times during the disciplinary process, and to carry out this process in a timely manner.
  2. Depending on the circumstances of the complaint, the Discipline Committee may authorize an investigation into the alleged infraction.
  3. The Discipline Committee will determine the format of the disciplinary process, which may involve an oral hearing in person, a hearing based on written submissions, or a combination of these methods.
  4. The Member or Participant will be given reasonable notice of the format as well as day, time and place of the hearing; will receive a copy of the Investigation Report if an investigation was carried out; may be accompanied by a representative; and will have the right to present evidence and argument before the Discipline Committee.
  5. After hearing the matter, the Discipline Committee will reach a decision as to whether an infraction has occurred and if it has, what the sanction should be. The Discipline Committee written decision, including reasons, for distribution to the Member or Participant, the complainant and the club President.
  6. Where the conduct being reviewed by this policy is of a sensitive nature, the Discipline Committee and WRC will keep all proceedings under the policy confidential, except where publication is ordered as part of the sanction, is required by law, or is in the best interests of the public.
  7. In fulfilling its duties, and with the approval of WRC, the Discipline Committee may obtain independent advice.

Disciplinary Sanctions

  1. The following are examples of disciplinary sanctions that may be applied where it is found that a major infraction has occurred:
    • Verbal or written warning;
    • Require a verbal or written apology;
    • Service or other voluntary contribution to WRC;
    • Removal of certain privileges of membership;
    • Suspension from certain events, which may include suspension from the current competition or from future competitions;
    • Suspension from certain WRC activities such as competing, coaching or officiating for a designated period of time;
    • Suspension from all WRC activities for a designated period of time;
    • Expulsion from membership; and/or
    • Publication of the disciplinary sanction.
  2. It is understood that the above are representative penalties only, that they may be modified to fit the circumstances of the infraction, and that they are presented generally in order of severity.
  3. WRC will maintain a permanent record of all sanctions.

Criminal Convictions

A Member or Participant’s conviction for any of the following Criminal Code offenses will be deemed an infraction under this Policy and will result in expulsion from WRC (if the Participant is a Member) and/or removal from WRC competitions, programs, activities and events:
  • Child pornography offences;
  • Any sexual offences involving a minor;
  • Any offence of assault involving a minor;
  • Any offence of physical or psychological violence involving a minor; or
  • Any offence involving trafficking of illegal drugs or substances listed on the Canadian Anti-Doping Program’s Prohibited List.
* ‘Sportsmanship’ is defined as respect for one’s opponent and graciousness in playing, training, winning or losing. Un-sportsmanlike behavior includes using
** Under this policy, any form of hazing is considered to be harassment.