Ethical Issues

Sport is one of Canada’s greatest collective passions. It has the ability to unite people, breaking down regional, political, cultural and economic differences. Its benefits are nothing less than astounding. But it is always just one scandal away from losing its positive impact. That is why we need to always be aware of what is going on in sport and share the responsibility of its protection.

Clearly, doping remains the single biggest threat to sport, but it is not the only ethical issue. Some threats are apparent, like violence, harassment and exclusion, while others lurk just below the surface – like gambling, match fixing and the sideline behaviour of some parents. There also remain quiet prejudices, such as homophobia and racism. Even the governance of our community sport system is vulnerable to mismanagement and exploitation.

Building on ten years of work by Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments and leading sport organizations (through the former True Sport Secretariat and its Steering Committee), the CCES is working to prevent unethical behaviours and promote ethical conduct in sport that will contribute to the long-term goals of the Canadian Strategy for Ethical Conduct in Sport.

With this in mind and with an eye to the future, we are sharing links to information and tools on the ethical issues that Canadians have told us matter the most. We encourage you to join the conversation and let us know what other ethical sport issues are important to you.

Melia's Take: Ethics in Sport

I'm Paul Melia, President and CEO of the CCES. I’m also a parent, coach, sports fan and player. This blog is written from all those perspectives…

Ontario political parties silent on investment in sport

The Ontario election is less than two weeks away and we're not hearing much from any party about their plans to increase support for sport across the province...Read more

"Hitting the Ethics Gym..."

I came across a timely blog on ethics that I wanted to share. I think it’s timely not only because of the New Year theme but also because our athletes are headed to Sochi. I am sure there will be issues that arise that will test our ethics. The blog is by renowned ethicist John Dalla Costa and...Read more

Nelson Mandela – an example in life and in sport

As our lives unfold, it is common for us to ask ourselves, what difference have I made, what will be my legacy after I am gone? Few will be able to leave a legacy like Nelson Mandela. He died this past weekend at the age of 95 and the positive impact of his life on the entire world is being...Read more

What’s in a name?

That’s the question currently being debated by the Washington Redskins of the National Football League and a local community sports team in Ottawa, the Nepean Redskins Football Club. Those who favour retaining the name offer up reasons that run from, “Its use celebrates the heritage of Native...Read more

Heads up!

Quebec Soccer’s controversial decision to ban turbans and the subsequent efforts of the Canadian Soccer Association to overturn the ban is an interesting case study in “doing the right thing.”Read more

Ethical Literacy – Reducing Bad Behaviour in Sport

Why is it that bad behavior in sport seems to be escalating? Doping, match-fixing, violence, fraud, harassment and others. Sport’s great potential to shape and transform lives and to impart values and build character, appears to be losing ground to a wide array of unethical behaviours in sport. If...Read more

Fitting the pieces together (part 3)

In yesterday’s blog post, I made an analogy of the Canadian sport system being similar to a four-legged stool, with each leg representing an important section (participation, high-performance excellence, preparation of competent coaches, and physical literacy). But what about the values in sport? Read more

Fitting the pieces together (part 2)

Yesterday, I posed the question: “If the Canadian Sport Policy 2012 is the over-arching blueprint for the Canadian sport system, how do all the pieces fit together?” Today, let me suggest a rather simple analogy in an attempt to do just that – fit the pieces together. Think of Canadian sport as a...Read more

Fitting the pieces together (part 1)

Fitting all the pieces of the Canadian sport system together is not an easy task. It is unlike any other. It is neither school-based (think US sport system) nor club-based (think European sport system). Our system combines elements of both, but at the community level, our system is largely...Read more

2012: What a year in sports!

I noticed the top three stories in sport this past year, as determined by a poll in North America, were: the Penn State Sandusky Scandal, the Lance Armstrong Scandal, and the NFL Bounty Scandal. In order: child molestation, doping, and violence in sports were the top stories. I wonder if we have a...Read more

When something important is not valued, everyone loses

Imagine if there was something in our communities that reduced teen suicide, reduced teen pregnancy, reduced drug use, reduced obesity, and reduced youth gang and crime involvement. Imagine if that same thing also increased self-esteem, improved academic performance, improved physical and mental...Read more

Fair and Phenomenal

True Sport moments are not simply about examples of fair play or sportsmanship, although they are often evident in True Sport. True Sport moments are about when sport is firing on all cylinders – when the Principles of True Sport (www....Read more

Can you lose and still be a champion?

Can you lose and still be a champion?

Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic just proved you can. After an epic four hour plus tennis match at the London Games, which ended 6-3, 3-6, 25-23 in favour of Raonic’s opponent Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France, the two combatants embraced...Read more

See Also...

What Sport Can Do: The True Sport Report

The “What Sport Can Do: The True Sport Report” provides conclusive proof of how good sport can be used intentionally to positively influence a wide range of societal goals, including child and youth development, crime prevention, education, social inclusion and economic and environmental...

Reasons to Believe Survey

(July 2005) The Strategic Counsel presents the findings from a survey of Canadians on values in sport. [1 MB PDF]

The Sport We Want Final Report

(January 2004) The Sport We Want Symposium was held to begin discussion among Canadians about the values we want our community sport system to promote and model. This report describes the output of the two days in September 2003.

2002 Canadian Public Opinion Survey on Youth and Sport

(July 2002) A recent survey by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) revealed that almost all Canadians (92%) believe that community level sport can have a positive influence on the personal and moral development of youth. However, fewer than one in five Canadians feel very confident that...