Handbook Item

Bullying, Harassment and Abuse - Maltreatment

a) Purposes 

The purposes of the Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment Protection and Prevention Policy (the “Policy”) are: 

i. To provide a safe environment for Participants in any Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada sanctioned activities and Hockey Saskatchewan programming.

ii. To promote a commitment to eliminating Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment for all Participants through education, awareness, and prevention.  

iii. To establish principles and guidelines, as well as appropriate responses to instances of Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment.  

b) Definitions

  • Bullying is defined by the combined use of negative aggression and power. It occurs when one or more individuals abuses power and directs verbal, physical or social aggression at another individual. Harm inflicted by Bullying may be physical, psychological, social, or educational. 
  • Complainant is a Participant or observer who makes a report of an incident under this Policy. 
  • Harassment includes engaging in a course of vexatious comments or behaviours that are known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, including but not limited to unwanted behaviour that is based on discrimination prohibited by human rights legislation and includes sexual harassment.
  • High Performance Program means any program, on-ice or off-ice activity, or event, whether business related or of a social nature, under the auspices, sponsorship, control or supervision of Hockey Saskatchewan
  • Hockey Saskatchewan Athletes are individuals who are or have participated as (i) a member of any Hockey Saskatchewan Provincial Team; or (ii) a participant in a High-Performance Program. 
  • Grooming constitutes deliberate conduct by an adult or any individual who holds power over a participant to sexualize a relationship with a Minor that involves the gradual blurring of boundaries and normalization of inappropriate and sexually abusive behaviour. 
  • Maltreatment means volitional acts that result in harm or the potential for physical or psychological harm. Maltreatment can take many forms (as further particularized in Section C below), but generally includes any act, lack of an action or deliberate behaviour, by a person(s) in a position of trust that causes physical, emotional and/or sexual harm or damage to another person. Maltreatment also includes child abuse, which can be defined as any form of physical, emotional and/or sexual mistreatment or lack of care which causes physical injury or emotional damage to a child, whether done in person or through technology (including but not limited to computers, the Internet, cell phones, cameras, web cameras and other media).
  • Minor means an individual who is under the age of majority at the time and in the jurisdiction where an incident of Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment occurred.


The Child and Family Services Act

Any person under 16 years of age. Ages 16 and 17 in exceptional circumstances

  • Neglect means any pattern or a single serious incident of lack of reasonable care, inattention to a Minor’s needs, nurturing or well-being, or omission in care.  
  • Participant means any Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete, Staff, or Team Personnel.  
  • Respondent is an individual who is alleged to have engaged in a violation of this Policy. 
  • Staff means any person paid by, or volunteering with, Hockey Saskatchewan.
  • Team Personnel includes but is not limited to coaches, managers, medical personnel, or other team support personnel engaged with a Hockey Saskatchewan team

c) Forms of Maltreatment

Maltreatment can include the following types of behaviour: 

i. Psychological Maltreatment occurs when any Participant, including a Participant in a position of power, repeatedly or severely attacks another Participant’s self-esteem through use of language, gestures or other behaviour that is degrading, isolating, humiliating, terrorizing, rejecting, or corrupting.  This can be done in person or through technology. Psychological Maltreatment includes, without limitation:  

  • Verbal acts, such as verbally assaulting or attacking someone. Examples of prohibited verbal acts include unwarranted personal criticisms; body shaming; derogatory and/or discriminatory comments related to one’s identity; comments that are demeaning, humiliating, belittling, intimidating, insulting, or threatening; the use of rumours or false statements about someone to diminish the person’s reputation; and using confidential sport and non-sport information inappropriately.  
  • Non-assaultive physical acts, which are physically aggressive behaviours without physical contact. Examples of prohibited non-assaultive physical acts include throwing objects at or in the presence of others without striking another; and hitting, striking, or punching objects in the presence of others. 
  • Acts that deny attention or support. These are acts of commission that deny attention, which include: ignoring psychological needs or socially isolating a person repeatedly or for an extended period of time; abandonment of a participant as punishment for poor performance; and arbitrarily or unreasonably denying feedback, training opportunities, support, or attention for extended periods of time and/or asking others to do the same.

Psychological Maltreatment does not include any decision taken by Team Personnel not to select a player for a team. Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete for a particular Hockey Saskatchewan Provincial Team, or any decision to limit a Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete’s ice time or role within a Hockey Saskatchewan Provincial Teams, so long as the decision was made in good faith, and does not include behaviour of the type described in the bullets above. 

ii. Physical Maltreatment occurs when any Participant, including a Participant in a position of power, physically hurts or by any means deliberately creates a significant risk of physical harm to another Participant. Physical Maltreatment includes, without limitation: 

  • Contact behaviours, such as: punching, kicking, beating, striking, strangling, slapping another, or deliberately striking another with objects. 
  • Non-contact behaviours, including isolating a person in a confined space; forcing a  person to assume a painful stance or position for no legitimate athletic purpose; the use of exercise for the purposes of punishment; withholding, recommending against, or denying adequate hydration, nutrition, medical attention or sleep; denying access to a toilet; providing alcohol to a Participant under the legal drinking age; providing illegal drugs or non-prescribed medications to a Participant; encouraging or knowingly permitting an Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete to return to play prematurely following any injury or after a concussion and without the clearance of a medical professional; and encouraging a Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete to perform a skill for which they are known to not be developmentally ready. 

iii. Neglect Includes, without limitation: not providing a Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete recovery time and/or treatment for a sport injury; not being aware of and not considering a Participant’s physical or intellectual disability; not considering supervision of a Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete during travel, training or competition; not considering the welfare of a Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete when prescribing dieting or other weight control methods; disregarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs by a Hockey Saskatchewan Athlete; failing to ensure the safety of equipment or environment; allowing a Participant to disregard sport’s  rules, regulations and standards; and subjecting Participants to the risk of Maltreatment.  

iv. Sexual Maltreatment, which is a form of sexual violence, includes any act targeting a Participant’s sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression that is committed, threatened, or attempted against a Participant, and includes but is not limited to the Criminal Code offences of sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, indecent exposure, voyeurism, and non-consensual distribution of sexual/intimate images. Sexual Maltreatment also includes sexual harassment and stalking, cyber-harassment, cyber-stalking of a sexual nature, and engaging in Grooming.  

Examples of Sexual Maltreatment may include, without limitation: 

  • Any penetration of any part of a person’s body, however slight, with any object or body part by a person upon another person, including but not limited to vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger.  
  • Any intentional touching of a sexual nature of any part of a person’s body, however slight, with any object or body part by a person upon another person, including but not limited to: 
    • Kissing
    • Intentional touching of the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, whether clothed or unclothed, or intentionally touching of another with any of these body parts. 
    • Any contact, no matter how slight, between the mouth of one person and the genitalia of another person. 
    • Making another touch themselves or someone else with or on breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals; and 
    • Any intentional touching in a sexualized manner.
  • Showing sexual videos or images in person, via the Internet, or by text or instant messaging.
  • Flashing or exposing genitals, in person, via the Internet, or by text or instant messaging. 
  • Asking or forcing a person to pose for seductive or sexual photos or videos. 
  • Asking or forcing a person to listen to sexual talk and/or subjecting a person to instructive questions, comments, or observations of a sexual nature. 
  • Teasing about sexual body parts; and 
  • Engaging in voyeurism or unwanted watching. 

In addition to the criminal acts identified above, Sexual Maltreatment also includes sexual relations between a Participant above the age of majority (depending upon the jurisdiction) and a coach or other Team Personnel who holds a position of trust. Such a relationship is presumptively a violation of this Policy, but this presumption may be challenged.  

v. Aiding and Abetting is any act taken with the purpose of facilitating, promoting, or encouraging the commission of Maltreatment by another Participant. Aiding and Abetting includes, without limitation, knowingly: 

  • Allowing any Participant who has been suspended or is otherwise ineligible because of a violation of this Policy, to be in any way associated with the sport. 
  • Providing any coaching-related advice or service to a Participant who has been suspended or is otherwise ineligible; and 
  • Allowing any Participant to violate the terms of their suspension or any other sanctions imposed pursuant to this Policy. 

Maltreatment (including Maltreatment of a Minor and Aiding and Abetting) in any form may lead to criminal liability under the Criminal Code, as well as to sanctions in accordance with this Policy. 

d) Forms of Bullying: 

Bullying is defined as the combined use of negative aggression and power. It occurs when one or more Participants direct verbal, physical or social aggression at another Participant. Harm inflicted by Bullying may be physical, psychological, social or educational. 

Bullying includes a continuum of hurtful behaviours that can range in severity from name-calling to criminal assault.  

There are many forms of Bullying: 

i. Physical Bullying includes inappropriate conduct directed towards a Participant (e.g. hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, beating up), or towards a Participant’s property (e.g. stealing, or damaging property).  

ii. Verbal Bullying includes name-calling, mocking, hurtful teasing, humiliating, or threatening a Participant. 

iii. Social Bullying includes rolling your eyes or turning away from a Participant, excluding a Participant from a group, gossiping, or spreading rumours, setting other Participants up to look foolish, or damaging friendships.  

iv. Cyber Bullying includes the use of social media platforms, email, cell phones, text messages and internet sites to threaten, harass, embarrass, humiliate, socially exclude or damage another Participant’s reputation and relationships. 

The following is a list of examples of Bullying behaviours that are used to intimidate, distress, or control others:  

  • Unwarranted yelling and screaming.  
  • Continually criticizing a Participant’s abilities. 
  • Blaming and humiliating another Participant for mistakes. 
  • Making unreasonable demands related to performance. 
  • Repeated insults or put downs. 
  • Repeated threats to remove or restrict opportunities or privileges. 
  • Denying or discounting a Participant’s accomplishments; and 
  • Threats of and actual physical or sexual violence. 

Bullying in any form can lead to criminal liability under the Criminal Code, and in certain circumstances may also constitute Maltreatment. 

e) Forms of Harassment: 

i) General 

Harassment can occur in person, virtually, in writing, or through a third party. Harassment may occur between peers (e.g.: player to player of the same age group, parent to official, coach to coach) or between a Participant in a position of power or authority over another Participant (e.g.: coach to player, sports administrator to employee). 

Harassment can be generally defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comments or behaviours against a person that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, and includes, without limitation, abuse of power, harassment based on protected grounds of discrimination under human rights legislation and sexual harassment. Harassing behaviour can involve comments, conduct or gestures which are insulting, intimidating, humiliating, hurtful, malicious, degrading or otherwise offensive. It may also include behaviour which creates an uncomfortable environment, or which might reasonably be expected to cause embarrassment, insecurity, discomfort, offense or humiliation to another Participant or group. Harassing behaviour includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Written or verbal abuse or threats. 
  • Unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, or taunting about a body, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, attire, age, marital status, ethnic or racial origin,
  • Religion
  • Displaying of racist or other offensive or derogatory material. 
  • Racial, ethnic, or religious graffiti. 
  • Practical jokes which cause awkwardness or embarrassment, endangering a ’s safety or negatively affecting performance. 
  • Hazing or initiation rites. 
  • Obscene gestures.
  • Behaviour which undermines self-respect or adversely affects performance or working conditions.
  • False accusations of Harassment motivated by malice or mischief, and meant to cause harm to other s; and 
  • In certain circumstances, Harassment could be criminal in nature.

ii) Abuse of Power 

Abuse of power can constitute Harassment:  

  • When submission to any conduct is made (either implicitly or explicitly) a condition of employment/volunteering/participating. 
  • When rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for any decision; or 
  • When such conduct has the purpose or the effect of interfering with a work/sport performance or creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment. 

iii) Sexual Harassment 

Sexual Harassment can be defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a Participant because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or making a sexual solicitation or advance where the Participant making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the recipient and the Participant knows or ought to reasonably know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome. In sexual Harassment, power is derived from targeting another’s gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, or some other physical or psychological vulnerability related to sexuality. It can include but is not limited to: 

  • Displaying of sexually offensive pictures, cartoons, or other materials. 
  • Persistent or unwelcome invitations or requests.  
  • Unwelcome questions or sharing of information regarding a ’s sexuality, sexual activity or sexual orientation. 
  • Conduct or comments intended to create, or having the effect of creating, an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment; or 
  • Touching another ’s body without consent. 

It is important to note that some of the behaviours listed above, when directed towards a Minor, may constitute abuse under child protection legislation. This may also be true of other behaviours, for example, certain hazing practices. In such cases, the duty to report which arises under the provisions of the applicable provincial or territorial legislation and under this Policy is applicable.  

All forms of Harassment listed above may also constitute Maltreatment. 

f) Reporting Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment: 

Maltreatment, Harassment, and Bullying in all its forms will not be tolerated during the course of any High-Performance Program or during the operation of any Team. Accordingly, all Participants are responsible for making every reasonable effort to uphold this commitment. Participants can expect to have an environment free from Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment. 

All Participants have a duty to report any form of Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment. The obligation to report is an ongoing one and is not satisfied by making an initial report. The obligation includes reporting, on a timely basis, all relevant information of which the Participant becomes aware. As noted elsewhere in this Policy, Participants may have a corresponding duty to report the offending behaviour to law enforcement depending on the nature of the Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment.  

Participants should not investigate or attempt to evaluate the credibility or validity of allegations. Participants making a good faith report are not required to prove that the reports are true before reporting. 

A Participant who is aware of Maltreatment, Bullying, or Harassment but does not report it as required by this Policy will be subject to sanction. 


Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada are committed to investigating all reports of Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment involving Participants. The investigation will adhere to all principles of natural justice, providing procedural and substantive due process for all parties to the investigation. Note that Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada may be unable to investigate the conduct of a Participant in instances where law enforcement is conducting a parallel investigation.  

Interference with or manipulation of the process is strictly forbidden. It is a violation of this process if any party to the investigation does any of the following: 

i. Falsifies, distorts, or misrepresents information, the resolution process, or an outcome. 

ii. Destroys or conceals information. 

iii. Attempts to discourage an individual’s proper participation in the investigation or from reporting an incident. 

iv. Harasses or intimidates (verbally or physically) any person involved in the investigation before, during, and/or following any investigation. 

v. Publicly discloses a party’s identifying information, without that party’s agreement. 

vi. Fails to comply with any temporary or provisional measure or other final sanction. 

vii. Distributes or otherwise publicizes materials a party gains access to during an investigation or hearing, except as required by law or as expressly permitted; or

viii. Influences or attempts to influence another person to interfere with or manipulate the process. 

If a party to an investigation is found to have engaged in any of the above noted activities, they will become subject to the sanctions listed in this Policy. 

Reprisal taken against any Complainant will not be tolerated. A Participant engaged in reprisal or retaliation will be subject to the sanctions listed in this Policy. 

Responses and Remedies  

It is the position of Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada that Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment cannot and should not be tolerated in any environment, including hockey. Maltreatment, Harassment and Bullying are unacceptable and harmful. Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada recognize the negative impact of all types of Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment on personal dignity, individual and group development and performance, enjoyment of the game and in some cases, personal safety.  

At the same time, Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada recognize that not all incidents of Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment are equally serious in nature and in their consequences. Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment cover a wide spectrum of behaviours, and the response to those forms of behaviour must be equally broad in range, appropriate to the behaviour in question, and capable of providing a constructive remedy. The process of investigation and settlement of any complaint of Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment must be fair to all parties, allowing adequate opportunity for the presentation of a response to all allegations by the Respondent.  

Any sanction imposed against a Participant must be proportionate and reasonable, relative to the Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment that has occurred, considering previous disciplinary actions.  However, progressive discipline is not required as a single occurrence of a prohibited activity can lead to a very significant sanction. 

If Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment are proven, one or more of the following sanctions may be imposed: 

i. Verbal or Written Warning – A verbal reprimand or an official, written notice and formal admonition that a Participant has violated the Policy and that more severe sanctions will result should the Participant be involved in other violations. 

ii. Education – The requirement that a Participant undertake specified educational or similar remedial measures to address the violation. 

iii. Probation – A period can be set wherein, if the Participant is found to have engaged in any behaviour prohibited by this Policy, then they will be subject to loss of privileges or other conditions, restrictions, or requirements for a specific period of time. 

iv. Suspension – Suspension, either for a set time or until further notice, from participation, in any capacity, in any Hockey Saskatchewan activity. A suspended Participant is eligible to return to hockey, but reinstatement may be subject to certain restrictions or contingent upon the Participant satisfying specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. 

v. Eligibility Restrictions – Restrictions or prohibitions from some types of participation but allowing participation in other capacities under strict conditions. 

vi. Permanent Ineligibility – Permanent ineligibility to participate in any High-Performance Program or on any Hockey Canada National Team. 

vii. Other discretionary sanctions – Other sanctions for Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment may be imposed, including, but not limited to, other loss of privileges, no contact directives, a fine or a monetary payment to compensate for direct losses, or other restrictions or conditions as deemed necessary or appropriate.  

Factors relevant to determining appropriate sanctions include, without limitation:

i. The severity of the Maltreatment, Bullying, or Harassment and whether it constitutes criminal behaviour; 

ii. The nature and the duration of the offender’s relationship with the victim, including whether there is a power imbalance between the two parties. 

iii. The offender’s prior history and any pattern of inappropriate behaviour or Maltreatment; iv. The ages of the individuals involved.

iv. Whether the offender poses an ongoing and/or potential threat to the safety of other Participants. 

v. The offender’s voluntary admission of the offence(s), acceptance of responsibility, and/or cooperation with the investigation.

vi. Real or perceived impact of the incident on the victim, Hockey Saskatchewan, or the hockey community.

vii. Circumstances specific to the offender being sanctioned. 

viii. Whether, given the facts and circumstances that have been established, continued participation in the hockey community is appropriate. 

ix. An offender who is in a position of trust, intimate contact or high-impact decision making may face more serious sanctions; and 

x. Other mitigating or aggravating circumstances. 

Any single factor, if severe enough, may be sufficient to justify the sanction(s) imposed. A combination of several factors may justify elevated or combined sanctions. 

Presumptive sanctions are in place for certain violations of this Policy. The following sanctions are presumed to be fair and appropriate for the listed violations, but the offender affected may rebut these presumptions: 

i. Sexual Maltreatment involving a Minor shall carry a presumptive sanction of permanent ineligibility. 

ii. Sexual Maltreatment, Physical Maltreatment with contact and any attempts to mislead an investigator or falsify evidence shall carry a presumptive sanction of either a period of suspension or eligibility restrictions; and

iii. While an offender has pending charges or dispositions in violation of the criminal law, the presumptive sanction shall be a period of suspension. 

A false accusation of Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment can be devastating to the Participant who is being accused, both personally and professionally. Any Complainant making a complaint which is found to be clearly unfounded, false, malicious, or frivolous, therefore, will be in breach of this Policy, and may be subject to consequences within Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada and may also be referred to third party authorities. 

All decisions under this Policy will be final, with no further right of appeal or reconsideration within Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada’s structure. 

g) Reporting Child Abuse: 

Duty to Report  

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional, and/or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that causes injury or emotional damage to a Minor. Child abuse is a pervasive social problem requiring vigilance, sensitivity, and care. Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada are committed to help reduce and prevent the abuse and Maltreatment of Participants. Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada realize that Participants working closely with Minors are in a unique position to detect abusive situations. Therefore, these Participants have a heightened reporting responsibility to ensure the safety of Canada's Minors, by knowing the requirements of the applicable provincial/territorial child protection legislation and following through as required.  

A cross-Canada list of Child Protection Acts can be found through the Canadian Bar Association’s website:  


Included under the umbrella of child abuse is child exploitation. Child exploitation includes but is not limited to: 

i. The actual or attempted abuse of a position of authority, differential power, or trust in relation to a Minor, with a view of benefiting sexually, monetarily, socially, or politically.  

ii. From the use of a Minor. 

iii. Intentionally viewing, downloading, or distributing any sexualized, demeaning, or violent images involving Minors; or 

iv. Taking a photograph or other image of a Minor or making representations of a Minor in a way that can reasonably be interpreted as sexualized, demeaning, or violent. 

Every province and territory in Canada has mandatory reporting laws regarding the abuse, exploitation, and neglect of children. Consequently, any Participant engaged in a Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada activity, who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a Minor Participant is or may be suffering or may have suffered from any form of child abuse, has a legal obligation to immediately report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to the local child protection agency and/or the local police detachment. Immediate investigation of abuse should only take place under the advice of the police or the local child protection agency. 

Everyone involved in Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey Canada activities should be aware that child abuse may be the subject of a criminal investigation and/or disciplinary procedures. Failure to report actual or suspected child abuse places a Minor at an ongoing risk of harm and, therefore, a Participant who does not report actual abuse, or a reasonable suspicion of abuse, may be liable under provincial/territorial child protection legislation which may include conviction for failure to report. All Participants making a report of suspected child abuse to a child protection agency are protected against civil action, unless that person is proven to have acted maliciously or without reasonable grounds for the suspicion.

Bullying, Harassment and Abuse - Maltreatment Policy