Swimming Canada believes that everyone in the sport has the right to participate fully and to enjoy safe environment that is free of abuse, harassment or discrimination.
Sometimes an organization becomes aware of potential situations of unacceptable conduct. It is not practical to outline all possible scenarios, but complaints can range from minor disrespectful communication up to illegal acts, such as discrimination or sexual assault. For simplicity, “the complainant” is the person who makes the complaint an the “the respondent” is the person or organization against whom the complaint is made.
An investigation is a neutral fact-finding to determine whether the unacceptable conduct actually occurred. This document provides some guiding principles on what to do if you are faced with a complaint. Investigations that are not properly conducted create risk for you organization, so you are strongly encouraged to consult with others with more knowledge and experience. Depending on the nature of the complaint, you may wish to consult with:
- Your Board of Directors
- Your Provincial Section
- The Canadian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association
- A lawyer or human resources professional
- The ‘helpful links’ section below
- Take action if there is an allegation of unacceptable conduct as soon as you become aware of it, even if you did not personally observe it and/or nobody has made an official complaint.
- If you think a law may have been broken or you are not sure, notify the police.
- Don’t pre-judge or assume the respondent has committed the act, but take immediate steps to stop further contact between the complainant and respondent while you review the situation.
- Let the complainant and the respondent know that you have received the complaint and that you are looking into it. Ask them to keep the situation confidential.
- Speak to the complainant and learn more details. Take notes. Learn if there are witnesses or other evidence.
- Review your organizations’ Complaints, Dispute Resolution or Harassment Policies or your Club Manual if you have these.
- Consult with others to decide whether you will be proceeding with an investigation, with informal conflict resolution or some other option.
- If an investigation is needed, appoint an unbiased, qualified investigator, ideally one who understands the sports environment.