I Did Not Receive Carding – What Now?

By: Robyn Jeffries (Case Manager), Brayden Mulhern (Caseworker) & Daniel Torch (Caseworker)

The Sport Solution Blog is written by law students and is intended to provide information and the team’s perspectives on current issues. However, the Blog is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion. Athletes in need of assistance should contact the clinic directly at [email protected]

If you have been excluded, had your nomination rejected, or had your card withdrawn, this post provides an overview of how to understand the factors that lead to the decision, how the appeals process works and how the Sport Solution Clinic can assist you.

Step 1: Seek Legal Advice

We recommend that athletes seek legal advice when dealing with non-selection issues, as they are trained to help you understand your potential courses of action and legal rights. Please feel free to contact the Sport Solution Clinic for pro bono (free) legal assistance: [email protected].

At any point during your appeal process you may decide it prudent or advantageous to obtain legal representation. Here is a link to a page where you can find a list of lawyers and pro bono clinics across Canada to assist you. Please keep in mind that these lawyers and pro bono clinics have no affiliation whatsoever with the SDRCC: http://www.crdsc-sdrcc.ca/eng/dispute-resolution-arbitrators.

Step 2: Understanding the Carding Process

In order to assess whether you have a valid claim to an appeal, it will be beneficial to understand the carding process that your respective NSO employs. Athletes are first nominated by their NSO according to the NSO’s “Carding Policy.” These policies outline the requirements an NSO uses to nominate athletes for the carding process. Carding Policies must be sport-specific and compliant with the Athlete Assistance Program’s (AAP) Policies and Procedures. If there are more athletes within a particular NSO who meet the eligibility requirements, the NSO will rank the athletes based on their Carding Policy.

Sport Canada receives the NSO’s list of nominated athletes and cross-references them with the AAP Policies and Procedures related to carding. Athletes must, therefore, qualify for carding under the policies set out by both their NSO and Sport Canada.

Step 3: Understanding the Potential Points of Rejection

The appeal process varies depending on which point in the carding process the athlete was no longer given consideration. There are two points at which this can happen:

  1. The NSO. In this situation, the NSO did not nominate the athlete or recommended withdrawing the athlete’s card.
  2. Sport Canada. In this scenario, Sport Canada rejected the athlete’s nomination or withdrew their carding.

After having selected an athlete for carding, Sport Canada reserves the right to withdraw carding for any of the following reasons:

  1. Failure to meet training or competition commitments;
  2. Violation of the Athlete/NSO agreement;
  3. Failure to meet athlete responsibilities outlined in the AAP policies and procedures;
  4. Gross breach of discipline, including assertion of or prosecution of a criminal offence;
  5. Investigation for cause; and
  6. Violations of anti-doping rules

Further details on what disqualifiers or types of activities will fall under any of these categories can be found at: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/funding/athlete-assistance/policies-procedures.html#a13

Step 4: Understand Your Options

In both scenarios, the athlete can accept the decision made by the NSO or Sport Canada, or choose to appeal it. While the appeals process is generally similar, it is vital to refer to the procedures and rules in the appeal policies of the decision maker, specifically the NSO or Sport Canada. Also, please note that the time restrictions for the appeal processes are strict. Any appeals not made within the specified time frame may or may not be considered, at the discretion of the NSO director, or in cases of an AAP appeal, at the discretion of Sport Canada Senior Director of the Programs Division. Any decision allowing or disallowing an appeal made by the Sport Canada Senior Director cannot be appealed.  

Scenario (1): NSO

If an athlete’s name is not put forward to Sport Canada, an appeal may be lodged according to the internal appeal process of the NSO. Here is a link to NSO’s with their own internal appeal process: http://www.crdsc-sdrcc.ca/eng/appeal-policies

Scenario (2): Sport Canada

If the NSO puts forward an athlete’s name and Sport Canada rejects that nomination, the athlete may lodge an appeal within 15 days from the decision date under the appeal procedure outlined in the “AAP Policies and Procedures.”

Before directing you to the general appeal process through the SRDCC, it is important to note that you can also appeal through the internal appeal process of the relevant NSO. Many, though not all, NSO’s have an internal appeal process. The NSO’s internal appeal process is most commonly used when the NSO does not nominate the athlete for carding. The SDRCC encourages the utilization of these processes and has provided guidelines for NSO’s to create their own internal appeal processes.

Step 5: Appeals

If you believe that there were procedural errors in the appeal or facts or circumstances that warrant a further appeal, then you are entitled to file a Request form to the SDRCC in the timeframe provided in the relevant appeal policy, or if no timeframe is specified in the NSO appeal policy, no later than 30 days after the decision was rendered. 

The SDRCC Jurisprudence Database (http://www.crdsc-sdrcc.ca/eng/dispute-resource-databases-jurisprudence) provides athletes with the ability to search for cases similar to theirs. This may be useful for determining your chances of a successful appeal. While athletes are free to take this step on their own, we recommend using the legal services available to you, as listed above.