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Harassment Policy


Policy Statement

  1. It is the policy of CYA to provide a work and sporting environment where the dignity of the individual is respected and free from harassment and fear of harassment including sexual harassment.
  2. The CYA recognizes that :
    a) every employee and member is entitled to a climate free of harassment including sexual harassment and;
    b) harassment or fear of harassment, including sexual harassment, can compromise the integrity of the employment and sporting relationships and endanger personal well-being and performance
  3. Harassment as defined by Human Rights legislation is a course of action, vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought to reasonably be known to be unwelcome.
  4. A person who has the authority to prevent or discourage harassment of any kind may be considered responsible for failing to exercise his/her authority to do so, and consequently be subject to such disciplinary actions as may be deemed appropriate by CYA.
  5. CYA will make every effort to ensure that no employee or member is subjected to harassment including sexual harassment.
  6. CYA will take such disciplinary action as it deems appropriate against any person under its direction who subjects any employee or member to sexual harassment.


  1. This policy applies to all employees as well as all directors, officers, volunteers, coaches, athletes, officials, judges and members of CYA. It applies to harassment which may occur during the course of all CYA business, activities and events.


  1. Harassment includes any comments or conduct consisting of words or actions that disparage or cause humiliation to a person in relation to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizen, creed, age, sex, record of offenses, marital status, family status or disability.
  2. Sexual harassment is any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature:
    a) that is likely to cause offense or humiliation to any person or;
    b) that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee or member as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment, or on any opportunity for training or promotion.
  3. Types of behaviour which constitute harassment including, but are not limited to:
    a) unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendoes or taunting of a sexual nature about a person's body, attire, age, marital status, and/or which cause awkwardness or embarrassment, endanger a person's safety or negatively affect performance;
    b) unwelcome or intimidating invitations or requests with sexual overtones whether indirect or explicit;
    c) leering or other gestures;
    d) unwelcome physical contact such as touching, patting, or pinching;
    e) unwelcome display of objects or pictures of a sexual nature, and/or offensive or ought to be known to be offensive;
    f) sexual advances, request for sexual favours, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
    g) written or verbal abuse or threats thereof;
    h) physical or sexual assault;
    i) submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or being named to a team;
    j) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting employment, promotion, or movement within the organization/team and/or;
    k) such conduct has the purpose or effect of humiliating an individual or substantially interfering with the work or sporting performance or in creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.


  1. CYA recognizes that it can be extremely difficult to come forward with a complaint of harassment and that it can also be devastating to be wrongly convicted of harassment. CYA recognizes the interests of both the complainant and the respondent in keeping the matter confidential;
  2. CYA will not disclose the name of the harassed person or the circumstance related to the situation to any person except where disclosure is necessary for the purpose of investigating the harassment and /or taking disciplinary action.

Roles and responsibilities

  1. Principle:

    The ultimate responsibility for dealing with a harassment case rests with the Executive Committee.

    Since any sexual harassment situation would constitute a highly sensitive subject matter, employees or members have the choice of seeking counsel from their supervisor, coach, the Executive Director, or the Vice President, Administration.
  2. Management will:
    a) inform any person under its direction of CYA's Harassment Policy;
    b) provide clarification of what constitutes sexual harassment behaviour;
    c) inform any person under its direction of procedures for handling harassment complaints;
    d) initiate action without waiting for an individual complaint when harassment behaviour is known to be taking place. To do otherwise will constitute misconduct on the part of the supervisor and
    e) upon receipt of a formal harassment complaint;
    • inform the President, Vice President, Administration and the Executive Director (the President of CYA if the matter involves the Executive Director)
    • inform the alleged harasser, supervisor, complainant and the President, in writing as to what action or investigation is to take place;
    • inform the complainant, the alleged harasser and the President of the outcome of any action or investigation, in writing.
  3. Executive Director will:
    a) Provide informal advice or guidance to employees, supervisors and coaches as required or requested on matters of harassment.
    b) Assist supervisors in any investigation of formal harassment complaints..

Complaint Procedure

  1. A person who experiences harassment is encouraged to make it known to the harasser that the behaviour is unwelcome, offensive, and contrary to this policy.
  2. If confronting the harasser is not possible, or if after confronting the harasser the harassment continues, the complainant should request a meeting with the next high authority or official.
  3. Once contacted by a complainant the role of the official is to serve in a neutral unbiased capacity in receiving complaints and assisting their informal resolution. If the official considers that he or she is unable to act in this capacity, the complainant shall be referred to another official.
  4. There are three possible outcomes to this meeting of complainant and official:
    • It may be determined that the conduct does not constitute harassment as defined in this policy, in which case the matter will be closed;
    • The complainant may decide to pursue an informal resolution of the complaint, in which case the official will assist the two parties to negotiate an acceptable resolution of the complaint; or
    • The complainant may decide to lay a formal written complaint. The written complaint must be submitted with the original signature of the complainant. No electronically produced complaint will be accepted. All documented complaints will be treated as highly confidential to protect all parties involved. The official shall receive the written complaint, provide a copy to the respondent, who shall be given an opportunity to respond in writing.
  5. Once the respondent's statement is received, the official shall provide copies of both written statements to the President of CYA (or to another Executive Officer if the President is involved in the complaint). Within 7 days of receiving the written statements, the President shall appoint three members of CYA to serve as a Panel. This Panel shall consist of at least one woman and at least one man, and shall include one individual who is knowledgeable and familiar with harassment issues.


  1. As soon as possible but in any event within 14 days of being appointed, the Panel shall convene a hearing. The hearing shall be governed by such procedures as the Panel may decide, provided that:
    • The complainant and respondent shall be given 10 days written notice of the day, time and place of the hearing;
    • Members of the Panel shall select from among themselves a Chairperson;
    • A quorum shall be all three Panel members;
    • Decisions shall be by majority vote. If a majority vote decision is not possible, the vote of the Chairperson shall be the decision of the Panel;
    • Both parties shall be present at the hearing to give evidence and to answer questions of the other party and of the Panel. If the complainant does not appear, the matter shall be dismissed. If the respondent does not appear, the hearing shall proceed.
    • The complainant and respondent may be accompanied by a representative or adviser. Should the complainant and/or respondent choose to have legal counsel, they shall be responsible for any costs incurred.
  2. As soon as possible but in any event within 14 days of the hearing, the Panel shall present its findings in a report to the President (or Executive Officer who appointed the Panel) with a copy provided to both the complainant and respondent. This report shall contain:
    • a summary of the relevant facts;
    • a determination as to whether the acts complained of constitute harassment as defined in this policy;
    • if the acts constitute harassment; recommend disciplinary action against the respondent and recommend measures to remedy or mitigate the harm or loss suffered by the complainant.
  3. If the Panel determines that the allegations of harassment are false, vexatious, retaliatory or frivolous, their report shall recommend disciplinary action against the complainant.


  1. When recommending appropriate disciplinary action, the Panel shall consider factors such as:
    • the nature and severity of the harassment
    • whether the harassment involved any physical contact
    • whether the harassment was an isolated incident or part of an ongoing pattern
    • the nature of the relationship between the complainant and harasser
    • the age of the complainant
    • whether the harasser had been involved in previous harassment incidents
    • whether the harasser admitted responsibility and expressed a willingness to change
    • whether the harasser retaliated against the complainant
  2. In recommending disciplinary sanctions, the Panel may consider the following options, singly or in combination, depending on the nature and severity of the harassment:
    • verbal apology
    • written apology
    • letter of reprimand from the organization
    • a fine or levy
    • referral to counselling
    • removal of certain privileges of membership or employment
    • demotion or a pay cut
    • demotion or a pay cut
    • termination of employment or contract
    • expulsion from membership
    • any measure stated in the Code of Conduct.


  1. Both the complainant and respondent shall have the right to appeal the decision and recommendations of the Panel. A notice of intention to appeal, along with grounds for the appeal, must be provided within 14 days of the complainant or respondent receiving the Panel's report. It must be sent to the person identified in the internal dispute resolution process as defined below.
  2. Permissible grounds for an appeal are:
    a) the Panel did not follow the procedures laid out in this policy;
    b) members of the Panel were influenced by bias; or
    c) the Panel reached a decision which was grossly unfair or unreasonable.
  3. Internal Dispute Resolution Process
    a) When appealing a decision, the complainant or respondent also has an obligation to recognize the structure, responsibilities and authorities of the different committees within the CYA. As well, CYA committees must understand that their actions may be reviewed and changed by a higher authority.
    b) Settlement of these disputes should be reached through an appeal procedure that conforms to the principles of fairness, justice and due process.
    c) The appeal must be provided to the next high authority. The head of that authority shall either convene a meeting of his or her committee or a subcommittee of three or more members. The person whose decision is being appealed shall not be a member of the reviewing panel. It is expected that an appeal should be decided within thirty days of receiving the written basis of the appeal.
    d) The general process is as follows:

An appeal of an action by a member(s) of:

Appeal must be sent to:

Appeal will be reviewed by:

CYA Coaching and Administrative Staff

the VP of the appropriate Division

the appropriate standing Committee

a specific committee

CYA President

CYA Executive Committee

CYA Executive Committee

CYA President

CYA Board of Directors

e) The CYA Board of Directors is the final authority of the Canadian Yachting Association. The decision of the appeal body shall be final.

Review and Approval

  1. This policy was approved by CYA's board of directors on April 13, 1997
  2. Responsibility for the administration and update of this policy rests with the Executive Committee.

Approved: Board of Directors Meeting
April 13, 1997

Amended: Executive Meeting
January 15, 2005