Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Note:  The New Brunswick Safe Sport Dispute Resolution Program is completely confidential: no information revealed or discussed during the resolution facilitation process can be used against the parties or released publicly without the agreement of all parties. This does not pertain to situations that fall under child maltreatment and “duty to report” where necessary.

Before proceeding with filing a complaint with the New Brunswick Sport Dispute Resolution Program, there may be other avenues you wish to explore. Complaints may also be filed with the sport governing body, and in some cases, law enforcement and/or child protectives services.

You may also wish to contact the Canadian Sport Helpline; this is a national toll-free helpline, offering assistance to victims or witnesses of harassment, abuse, or discrimination in sport. This anonymous, confidential, independent service allows people to share and validate their concerns, obtain guidance on required next steps, and get referrals to other resources for follow up.

Call or text: 1-888-83SPORT (1-888-837-7678)

Dispute resolution is a process that occurs in many forms, including, mediation, mediation/arbitration and arbitration. In mediation, help is given to facilitate a resolution without rendering any kind of formal decision. In arbitration, the arbitrator considers the merits of both sides of the case then renders a decision. In mediation/arbitration, the process may start with mediation and, if the dispute is not resolved, concludes by arbitration.

There will be two types of complaints focused on under this program:


This program can address disputes that deal with issues of maltreatment as set forth in an organization’s code of conduct policy reflecting the principles set forth in the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS). Please note as part of this complaint process, Sport New Brunswick may have “duty to report” unreported legal issues to proper authorities.

What if the National Sport Organization (NSO) has an independent third-party dispute resolution mechanism for complaints relating to maltreatment?

If it is mandatory for the PSO/MSO to use the NSO mechanism, such disputes or complaints will not be eligible for the NB Safe Sport Dispute Resolution Program. 

However, if the PSO/MSO or NSO policy does not state that it is mandatory for complaints at a provincial level to be forwarded to the NSO mechanism, the complainant may choose to submit their dispute/complaint to the NB Safe Sport Dispute Resolution Program. It is the intent that complaints relating maltreatment are referred to the Program for consideration.



The second type of complaint focuses on disputes related to infractions as they pertain to an organization’s constitution and/or by-laws. 

If a complaint is related to failure of a PSO/MSO to comply with their constitution/by-laws, the complainant may submit their dispute/complaint to the NB Safe Sport Dispute Resolution Program but only if all efforts to resolve the dispute have been made at the Club and PSO/MSO levels. If disputes or complaints remain unresolved, the dispute or complaint may be referred to the NB Safe Sport Dispute Resolution Program for consideration.

The two fundamental principles of natural justice must be respected: the right to be heard (the chance to present one’s case, submit evidence and arguments, and to know and respond to allegations made by other parties) and impartiality (the decision is made by independent individuals, free from conflict of interest, and having considered all the evidence presented). 

Sport NB and the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture (Sport and Recreation Branch) believe that we should be proactive in making sport in New Brunswick as safe and positive as possible. Policies will also help direct an organization and a complainant in a dispute how to come to a resolve.

Increasing strong governance and education/awareness of safe sport related resources makes sport more welcoming to all involved.

It is widely recognized that, when disputes arise, they are a major drain on the sport system, absorbing time, volunteer/staff resources, money, and energy that could otherwise be invested to increase development, opportunity, and participation in sport across the province. In addition, there has been a major push nationally to make our sport system in this country as safe and positive as possible. To this end, the New Brunswick Safe Sport Dispute Resolution Program (Program) was established.

A workgroup comprised of Sport NB, Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture (Sport and Recreation Branch) representatives, a local lawyer and mediation/arbitration experts.

All mediators and arbitrators who are part of this program will be coordinated and maintained through the initial workgroup members (Sport NB, Sport and Recreation Branch and local experts). They will be professionally trained mediation/arbitrators (outside of the sport delivery system) and upon request able to provide service in both official languages. The list of mediators and arbitrators will be held in confidence and private with Sport New Brunswick in order to aid in independence and therefore will not be shared publicly. 

Strict guidelines have been developed to guide Sport New Brunswick to determine which disputes are accepted within the program. This process will help ensure that all warranted complaints are dealt with independently and without bias. This program must be financially viable and able to be offered at no cost with the support funding from the Department of Tourism Heritage and Culture (Sport and Recreation Branch).

First and foremost, this program is accessible for any complainant involved in a dispute who falls within a PSO/MSO or its membership (example: club, coach, official, athlete). The PSO/MSO must be a member of Sport New Brunswick.

Anonymous complaints will not be accepted for service within this program.

Complaints of maltreatment can go directly from the complainant to the Program – such complaints do not have to go to the PSO/MSO first.

PSOs/MSOs should have a complaints and mediation/arbitration policy that will help direct them how to handle complaints/disputes. These policies should include the option of this program as a mediation/arbitration service. Regular PSO/MSO communication to their members should make them aware that this program exists and is an option for complainants to access.

No. This program is to help resolve specific types of disputes and will not entertain issues that deal with appeals of decisions made by a sport organization. An organization should have appeal policies and procedures to deal with appeals.

A mediation session or arbitration hearing can be held in person, by videoconference, by conference
call, or any combination of these formats.

The parties MUST comply with the agreement or the decision because they undertook to do so by agreeing to mediation/arbitration.

If ITP is unable to ensure compliance, the injured party can always ask a court to confirm (ratify) the agreement. When the court ratifies the agreement/decision, it becomes enforceable, just as if it had been handed down by the court itself. In short, the injured party can go through the court system to make the offending party comply with the agreement or decision. It is in organizations’ best interests to resolve disputes fully to reach a resolution and avoid being involved in litigation.