Section 13 : Appeals Policy - Canadian Heritage

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Section 13: Appeals Policy

This section presents the appeals policy of the AAP.

13.1 Definitions

For the purposes of this section:

  • AAP Decision means a Sport Canada decision made under Section 6 (Application for and Approval of Cards) or Section 11 (Withdrawal of Carding Status).
  • Appeal means a review of an AAP Decision requested by an athlete or an NSO.

    Appeal does not include an appeal of an NSO’s AAP nomination/renomination decision or of an NSO’s recommendation to withdraw carding. These NSO decisions may be appealed only through the NSO’s review process, which includes an application for arbitration to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC).

    For greater certainty, Appeal does not include a review of an NSO’s published carding criteria.
  • Panel means the Sport Canada Executive Director of Sport Excellence, the Manager of High Performance, and a Manager from the NSO’s unit who together review Appeals of AAP Decisions.
  • Days shall mean total days, including weekends or holidays.

13.2 Policy Statement

  1. Sport Canada is committed to a dispute-resolution system that is based on clear, consistent, and effective internal procedures for resolving disputes within Sport Canada.

    Timing of Appeal

  2. An athlete or an NSO who wishes to appeal an AAP Decision shall have 15 days from the communication of the decision for which the Appeal is being requested to initiate an Appeal.

  3. Any party wishing to initiate an Appeal beyond the 15-day period must provide a written request stating the reasons for requesting an exemption from the requirement of paragraph 2 above. The decision to allow or not allow an Appeal outside the 15-day period shall be at the sole discretion of the Sport Canada Executive Director of Sport Excellence and cannot be appealed.

    Requests for Appeal

  4. Requests for an Appeal of an AAP Decision, together with the reasons why the athlete or NSO is requesting an Appeal, must be directed to the Manager of the AAP, who will refer the matter to the Panel for a decision.

    Procedure for Documentary Appeal

  5. The Appeal shall be held by way of documentary submissions. The Panel shall govern the Appeal by such procedures as it deems appropriate, provided that the basic principles of fairness—the right to know the case to be met and the right to make a case in response—are respected:

    • 5.1 All parties are given a reasonable opportunity to provide written submissions to the Panel, to review the written submissions of the other parties, and to provide written rebuttal and argument.

    • 5.2 The applicable principles and timelines set out above are respected.

    Information that May be Considered

  6. As a general rule, the Panel will consider only information that was before the original decision-maker, namely the following:

    • Information provided by the NSO in its annual AAP submission;
    • Published NSO carding criteria; and
    • Sport Canada Athlete Assistance Program Policies and Procedures (this document).

    At its discretion, the Panel may consider new information that is material and that was not available at the time of the original decision.


  7. Within 30 days of concluding the Appeal, the Panel shall issue its written decision, with reasons. In making its decision, the Panel shall have no greater authority than that of the original decision-maker. The Panel may decide to void, vary or confirm the decision being appealed.

13.3 Recourse against a Decision of the Panel

An athlete or an NSO may seek recourse against a decision of the Panel only by applying for arbitration to the SDRCC within 30 days of the communication of the decision that is being appealed.

The arbitration referred to in the previous paragraph will be conducted under the auspices of the SDRCC and pursuant to its Code of Procedure.

By applying for arbitration of a decision of the Panel before the SDRCC, the applicant agrees that all disputes regarding that decision shall be resolved through the SDRCC process and that he or she will not start any action or application for judicial review regarding any decision made by the Panel.

Notwithstanding any provisions of the SDRCC Code of Procedure, the decision being appealed may be set aside by the SDRCC arbitrator or by the SDRCC panel only if the athlete or NSO proves the following:

  • Sport Canada failed to act in accordance with the Athlete Assistance Program Policies and Procedures;
  • Sport Canada failed to observe a principle of natural justice or procedural fairness; or
  • The decision was based on an erroneous finding of fact made in a perverse or capricious manner or without regard for the material before it.

In cases where the decision being appealed is one taken by Sport Canada under Section 6 (Application for and Approval of Cards), the decision being appealed may be set aside only if the athlete or NSO proves that such breach in the decision-making process had a material impact on the athlete's ability to meet the established carding criteria.

The SDRCC arbitrator’s or SDRCC panel’s jurisdiction is limited to making a decision on the existence of an error and, where there is such a finding, to returning the matter with written reasons for the finding to Sport Canada for a proper decision.

Sport Canada will reconsider the matter in accordance with the principles established by the decision of the SDRCC arbitrator or SDRCC panel and render a new decision. This new Sport Canada decision shall be final and binding upon the parties.

If an athlete makes such a request, Sport Canada will so inform the NSO.

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