Special Olympics Ontario recognizes our responsibility to prioritize creating a safe sport environment free of abuse, harassment or discrimination for all participants, including athletes, coaches, volunteers, officials, and administrators.
Are you a victim or witness of harassment, abuse or discrimination in sport? Contact the Canadian Sport Helpline to share your concerns and be referred to the appropriate resources.
Open from 8 am to 8 pm (ET) 7 days a week, it is anonymous, confidential, independent and bilingual:
Safe Sport Policies
Special Olympics Canada and its Chapters recognize the recent development of the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS).
A suite of policies is currently in development in partnership with Sport Law and Strategy Group (SLSG). Our existing policies, and new policies as they are available, can be found in our Resource Library and will continue to be updated on an ongoing bases.
Click HERE to access our policies.
Independent Third Party
SOC has appointed an Independent Third Party who any person within the community, at any level, can contact to report or discuss incidents of abuse or harassment of any kind. SOC has contracted W&W Dispute Resolution Services for this role. They may be reached directly and independently through the email address below. This is a confidential email address which will only be accessed by the the Independent Third Party - firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporting Abuse or Harassment is often a difficult process. To this end, a person can expect the following when contacting the Independent Third Party:
All reports will be kept entirely confidential, in line with the wishes of the person making the complaint. This includes confidentiality from SOC staff.
- Complaint will be followed up on in a timely manner.
- The Independent Third Party is available to support persons making a complaint through the process and will provide advice and guidance on steps as and if a
- complaint proceeds.
- Complaint will be taken seriously, and rigorously examined.
- Complaint will be managed in the language, and by an officer of the gender identity of your choice.
Should any complaint or concern come to the attention of the CEO or any SOC representative, it will be forwarded to the Independent Third Party.
Mandatory Safe Sport NCCP Course
All Special Olympics Ontario Coaches and Volunteers are required to take the NCCP Safe Sport Course as part of their onbording or by June, 2022. Proof of certification will need to be recorded in each members Portal account. Please contact your Program Consultant if you have any questions about the Safe Sport course.
Rowan's Law- Concussion Awareness
Knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion, and what to do if a concussion happens – whether you’re an athlete, a student, a parent, a coach, a volunteer, an official or an educator– saves lives. The Ontario Government is committed to implementing Rowan’s Law by putting concussion safety information in the hands of people who need it most. Increasing awareness and changing conversations in sport, at school and in our homes, will result in transformative change to the way in which concussions are managed in amateur competitive sport and beyond.
Special Olympics Ontario is committed to being a leader in the support of and implementation of Rowan’s Law. Special Olympics Ontario and by association all of our clubs, teams and members are legally bound by the requirements of the Law.
What is Rowan’s Law?
Rowan’s Law was named for Rowan Stringer, who was a high school rugby player from Ottawa. One day, while playing rugby with her team, Rowan got a concussion. Most people with a concussion get better after they rest and heal. But Rowan didn’t know her brain was hurt and needed time to heal. Her parents, teachers and coaches didn’t know, either. So, Rowan kept playing rugby. She got hurt two more times. Rowan’s brain was so badly hurt that she couldn’t get better.
Rowan’s passing triggered a coroner’s inquest into concussion protocols in youth sport. One of the key recommendations from the inquest was to introduce Rowan’s Law in the province of Ontario, which would mandate certain standards for concussion education, awareness and reporting.
Rowan’s Law was eventually passed in the Ontario legislature and became a law in the province of Ontario.
What does this mean for SOO members?
All SOO members (athletes, volunteers, coaches) participating in in-person programming are required to review the concussion resource options below annually and sign off that they understand and have reviewed the resources.
Members must review one or both of the following resources:
1. Rowan’s Law Guide for Students & Athletes of All Abilities. (this can be read as an e-booklet, or printed and reviewed at practice)
2. Concussion Education for Special Olympics Athletes Video (can be viewed individually or as a group)
IMPORTANT: all members must sign off on having reviewed the above resources before, or at the first session of each season. Members will be asked to sign off on having reviewed the resources in their Portal account, or through a paper copy of the SOO annual waivers. If you have questions about this please contact your head coach, community coordinator, or SOO Program Consultant.
For Parents/Guardians, Coaches and Volunteers:
- Government of Ontario Rowan’s Law Resources – link https://www.ontario.ca/page/rowans-law-concussion-awareness-resources
- Rowan’s Law interactive learning e-module – link http://www.mtc.gov.on.ca/en/sport/e-mod/story.html
- NCCP Making Head Way in Sport E-Learning (for coaches & volunteers) – link https://coach.ca/making-head-way-concussion-elearning-series
- Parachute Canada Concussion Resources – link https://www.parachute.ca/en/injury-topic/concussion/
- Concussion Guide for athletes – link https://www.specialolympics.ca/sites/default/files/SOC%20Athlete%20Concussion%20Guide_EN.pdf
Policies, Protocols and Tools:
- Special Olympics Ontario Concussion Code of Conduct – coming soon
- Special Olympics Canada Concussion Policy (link - https://www.specialolympics.ca/sites/default/files/Concussion%20Policy%20Final_June%202021.pdf )
- Removal from Sport Protocol – coming soon
- Return to Sport Protocol – coming soon