Child Protection Code

CMFSC Child Protection Code of Conduct

Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club (CMFSC) has modelled our Child Protection Code of Conduct (the Code) on the work of Commit to Kids and Ontario Volleyball to guide our employees/volunteers in their interactions with children.

The safety, rights and well-being of children we serve are at the core of our club. Sport plays a vital role in shaping the youth of tomorrow. CMFSC relies on our employees/volunteers to serve as role models and put our young athletes on a path to success. We nurture supportive relationships with children while balancing and encouraging appropriate boundaries.

The dynamic between CMFSC employees/volunteers and athletes gives rise to a power imbalance and a culture of unquestioned trust that can result in abuse. As such, it is imperative that all persons in positions of authority be held to a high standard of conduct. The intent of the Code of Conduct is to guide our employee/volunteers in developing healthy relationships with the children involved with the club and to model appropriate boundaries for children.

The Code provides behaviour guideposts that identify inappropriate or concerning behaviour at an early stage to help better protect athletes and employees/volunteers.

Treating Children with Dignity and Maintaining Boundaries

All employee/volunteers must:

  • Treat all children with respect and dignity
  • Establish, respect, and maintain appropriate boundaries with all children and families involved in activities or programs delivered by the organization

It is important to monitor your own behaviour towards children and pay close attention to the behaviour of your peers and to ensure that behaviour is appropriate and respectful and will be perceived as such by others. 

All of your interactions and activities with children: 

  • should be know to, and approved by the board, where applicable, and the parents of the child
  • tied to your duties,
  • designed to develop the child's skills in the sport program, and
  • follow the Rule of Two (Any one-on-one interaction between an employee/volunteer and an athlete must take place within earshot and view of an employee/volunteer. If possible, one of the employees/volunteers should be the same gender as the athlete. If an employee/volunteer is not available, another screened volunteer, parent or adult can be recruited. An exception is made for medical emergencies. 

Always consider the child’s reaction to any activities, conversations, behaviour or other interactions. If at any time you are in doubt about the appropriateness of your own behaviour or the behaviour of others, you should discuss it with the designated person within your organization.

Examples of unacceptable behaviour toward a child:

  • embarrassing
  • shaming
  • blaming
  • humiliating 
  • putting them down

General Rules of Behaviour

Employee/volunteers of the organization must NOT:

  • Engage in any sort of physical contact with a child that may make the child or a reasonable observer feel uncomfortable, or that may be seen by a reasonable observer to be violating reasonable boundaries.
  • Engage in any communication with a child within or outside of duties with the child, that may make the child uncomfortable or that may be seen by a reasonable observer to be violating reasonable boundaries.
  • Engage in any behaviour that goes against (or appears to go against) the organization’s mandate, policies, or Code of Conduct to Protect Children, regardless of whether or not they are serving the organization at that moment.
  • Conduct their own investigation into allegations or suspicions of potentially illegal or inappropriate behaviour. It is an employee’s/volunteer’s duty to report the matter to the designated person, Child Welfare Agency, or law enforcement, NOT to investigate.  

What Constitutes Inappropriate Behaviour

In assessing In assessing whether behaviour is inappropriate, one should consider whether the behaviour would raise concerns in the mind of a reasonable observer. The behaviour may also be assessed by determining whose needs are being met (the athlete or the employee/volunteer) and what objective appears to be guiding the interaction.

Inappropriate behaviour include:

  1. Inappropriate Communication. Communication with a child or his/her family outside of the context of duties for the organization, regardless of who initiated the exchange. For example:
    1. Personal phone calls not tied to duties with the child
    2. Electronic communications (email, text message, instant message, online chats, social networking including “friending”, etc.) not tied to duties with the child
    3. Personal letters not tied to duties with the child
    4. Excessive communications (online or offline)
  2. Inappropriate Contact. Spending unauthorized time with a child outside of designated duties with the organization.
  3. Favouritism. Singling out a child or certain children and providing special privileges and attention. (for example, paying a lot of attention to, giving or sending personalized gifts, or allowing privileges that are excessive, unwarranted or inappropriate.)
  4. Taking Personal Photos/Videos. Using a personal cell phone, camera or video to take pictures of a child, or allowing any other person to do so, as well as uploading or copying any pictures you may have taken of a child to the Internet or any personal storage device. Pictures taken as part of your job duties are acceptable, however, the pictures are to remain with the organization and not be used by you in a personal capacity.
  5. Inappropriate behaviour ALSO includes:
  6. Telling sexual jokes to a child or making comments to a child that are or is in any way suggestive, explicit or personal.
  7. Showing a child material that is sexual in nature, including, signs, cartoons, graphic novels, calendars, literature, photographs, screen savers, or displaying such material in plain view of a child, or making such material available to a child
  8. Intimidating or threatening a child
  9. Making fun of a child

Inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated, especially as it relates to the well-being of the children involved in activities or programs delivered by the sport organization.

Whether or not a particular behavior or action constitutes inappropriate behaviour will be a matter determined by the organization having regard to all of the circumstances, including past behaviour, and allegations or suspicions related to such behaviour.

Reporting Requirements

All employee and volunteers must report suspected child sexual abuse, inappropriate behaviour or incidents that they become aware of, whether the behaviour or incidents were personally witnessed or not. 

Where to report:

  1. All allegations or suspicions of potentially illegal behaviour (for example, child sexual abuse) that a employee/volunteer witnesses first-hand, must be promptly reported to police and/or child welfare.
  2. To ensure the protection of all children in our care, all allegations or suspicions of potentially illegal behaviour that an employee/volunteer learns of must also be promptly reported to police and/or child welfare, who will make the determination as to whether the allegation or suspicion requires further investigation.
  3. All allegations or suspicions of inappropriate behaviour (see above examples), that a employee/volunteer learns of or witnesses first-hand, must be reported to the CMFSC Primary Liaison For Child Protection.  

Keep in mind that you may learn of potentially illegal or inappropriate behaviour through the child or some other third party, or you may witness it first-hand. Examples of the type behaviour you may learn of or witness and that you must report as set out above includes:

  • Potentially Illegal behaviour by an employee/volunteer of the organization
  • Potential Illegal behaviour by a third party, such as a Parent, Teacher, Babysitter, Coach

If you are not sure whether the issue you have witnessed or heard about involves potentially illegal behaviour or inappropriate behaviour, discuss the issue with the designated person within your organization who will support you through the process. Remember: You have an independent duty to report all suspicions of potentially illegal behaviour directly to police and/or child welfare.

Follow-up Reporting

When an allegation or suspicion of potentially illegal behaviour is reported, police and/or a child welfare agency will be notified. The sport organization will follow up internally as appropriate.

When an allegation or suspicion of inappropriate behaviour is made, the sport organization will follow up on the matter to gather information about what happened and determine what, if any, formal or other disciplinary action is required.

In the case of inappropriate behaviour, if:

  • multiple behaviours were reported
  • inappropriate behaviour is recurring, or
  • the reported behaviour is of serious concern

the organization may refer the matter to child welfare agency or police.