AthletesCAN pleased to release standardized Athlete Agreement template for system wide adoption

OTTAWA (December 5) - AthletesCAN, with the support of Sport Canada, is pleased to announce the much anticipated approval and release of the Athlete Agreement Template, now recommended for adoption by national sport organizations (NSOs).

In November 2015, AthletesCAN released The Future of Athlete Agreements in Canada – a comprehensive evaluation of athlete agreements and best practices to meet the needs of high performance athletes and NSOs.

The goal of PHASE I of the Athlete Agreement Project was to raise awareness of the challenges that commonly-used athlete agreements created for athletes and NSOs. The paper aimed to begin a national conversation on tangible changes to help both NSOs and athletes better understand how to use the athlete agreement to improve their relationship, and in turn, performance both on and off the field of play. After extensive research and consultation, four recommendations were presented, including: separating commercial obligations from agreements, developing meaningful secondary obligations, facilitating negotiation, and annotating agreements for NSOs and athletes. The changes sought to reflect a risk management strategy, which would address both capacity and financial implications of appeals, disputes and possible breaches in contract.

The paper, and the resulting dialogue, helped to spur the creation of a PHASE II working group comprised of sport leaders from across the system.

The focus of PHASE II, financially supported by Sport Canada, was to remove barriers to implementation of the best practice recommendations in PHASE I. As such, the key task was the creation of a standardized and annotated performance agreement template.

The PHASE II working group developed and implemented a set of criteria to evaluate the effectiveness, fairness and balance of more than 50 existing athlete agreements within the high performance sport environment. From there, a set of standardized clauses was created in a user-friendly format which segmented obligations into areas of focus within the relationship. Finally, the template was annotated in plain language to enhance the communication and understanding of the often-intimidating content.

“I want to applaud AthletesCAN for their tireless work in advocating for Canada’s athletes," said Russell Reimer, President of Manifesto Sport Management and member of the Athlete Agreement Working group. He adds, "the progressive work on the Athlete Agreement shows a genuine commitment to leading the worldwide movement for athlete rights. I’m proud to have worked with AthletesCAN on this initiative and see it as the foundation of stronger Canadian sport system that values and respects our athletes.”

The final Model Athlete Agreement is intended to act as a template for both athletes and NSOs to come to a mutually beneficial, reciprocal agreement to foster the performance relationship.

The agreement has been reviewed and approved by Sport Canada and is currently housed on the Athlete Assistance Program policy page.

“The Athlete Agreement template developed by AthletesCAN is a great resource that Canada Artistic Swimming has been using since the 2019 season,” said Julie Healy, Chief Sport Officer. She adds, “it is a perfect example of what can happen when there is collaboration amongst the various sport organization in Canada.”

AthletesCAN is in the final stages of PHASE III to complete the separate Athlete Commercial Agreement template and develop best practices around the implementation of the Model Athlete Agreement, to be released in early 2020.

Separating commercial aspects from the performance relationship, and including them in separate agreements is strongly recommended by the AthletesCAN group of experts, athletes and NSO leaders as a foundation of a respectful, high-performance partnership. Further, Sport Canada now requires that Carded Athletes and their NSO consign their commercial interests in a document separate from the Athlete/NSO Agreement required by AAP Policies. As a best practice, Sport Canada invites non-carded athletes to do the same.

We look forward to supporting the shared goal to reach full adoption by the sport community by the end of 2021.

We would like to thank the following members of the Athlete Agreement Working Group for their time, input and expertise: Marty Deacon, Jillian Drouin, Hilary Findlay, Layth Gafoor, Martin Goulet, Tom Hall, Brian Hill, Rachel Islam, Patrick Jarvis, Ashley LaBrie, Ian Moss, Jasmine Northcott, Ann Peel, Dasha Peregoudova, Bob Price, Russell Reimer, Zoe Robinson, James Sifakis and Josh Vander Vies.


For more information please contact:
Georgina Truman
Manager, Athlete Relations & Operations
[email protected]

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