BCSSA Appeal Policy

BCSSA Policies and Procedures Manual #1 of 3 (Organizational Management)

E-13 POLICY: Appeal Policy

NOTE: In this policy “Member” refers to all categories of Members in the BCSSA, as well as to all individuals engaged in activities with or employed by the BCSSA, including, but not limited to, athletes, coaches, officials volunteers, directors, officers, medical and paramedical personnel, administrators and employees (including contract personnel); “Appellant” refers to the member appealing a decision; and “Respondent” refers to the body whose decision is being appealed.

SCOPE OF APPEAL

  1. Any member of the BCSSA in good standing who is affected by a decision of the Board of Directors, of any Committee of the Board of Directors, or of any entity or individual who has been delegated authority to make decisions on behalf of the Board of Directors, shall have the right to appeal that decision, provided there are sufficient grounds for the appeal as set out in Section 6 of this policy. Such decisions may include, but are not limited to, harassment, selection and discipline, but shall exclude employment and contract matters unless specifically included.
  2. This Policy shall not apply to matters relating to the rules of speed skating, which may not be appealed.

TIMING OF APPEAL

  1. Timelines in this Policy are in total days, irrespective of weekends or holidays. Where a deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the next business day shall be the deadline for the purpose of procedures under this Policy.
  2. Members who wish to appeal a decision shall have seven (7) days from the date on which they received notice of the decision, to submit written notice of their intention to appeal, along with detailed reasons for the appeal, to the President of the BCSSA or a designate.
  3. Any party wishing to initiate an appeal beyond the seven (7) day period must provide a written request stating reasons for an exemption to this requirement. The decision to allow, or not allow, an appeal outside the seven (7) day period shall be at the sole discretion of the President of the BCSSA or a designate.

GROUNDS FOR APPEAL

  1. A decision cannot be appealed on its merits alone. An appeal may be heard only if there are sufficient grounds for the appeal. Sufficient grounds include the Respondent:
    1. making a decision for which it did not have authority or jurisdiction as set out in governing documents;
    2. failing to follow procedures as laid out in the bylaws or approved policies of the BCSSA;
    3. making a decision which was influenced by bias, where bias is defined as a lack of neutrality to such an extent that the decision-maker is unable to consider other views;
    4. exercising its discretion for improper purposes;
    5. making a decision based on a policy which is illegal or contrary to a statutory provision;
    6. making a decision which is grossly unreasonable and in no way supportable by facts.
E-13 PROCEDURE: Appeal Policy

  1. Within three (3) days of receiving the notice of appeal, the President of the BCSSA, or a designate, shall decide whether or not the appeal is based on one or more of the categories of possible errors by the Respondent as set out in Section 6. The President of the BCSSA shall not determine if the error has been made, only if the appeal is based on such allegation of error by the Respondent. In the absence of the President, a member of the Executive shall perform this function.
  2. If the appeal is denied on the basis of insufficient grounds, the Appellant shall be notified of the decision in writing, giving reasons. This decision is at the sole discretion of the President of the BCSSA, or a designate, and may not be appealed.

APPEAL PANEL

  1. If the President of the BCSSA, or a designate, is satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for an appeal, within seven (7) days of having received the original notice of appeal, the President of the BCSSA, or a designate, shall establish an Appeal Panel (the “Panel”) as follows:
    1. the Panel shall be comprised of three (3) individuals who shall have no significant relationship with the affected parties, shall have had no involvement with the decision being appealed, and shall be free from any other actual or perceived bias or conflict;
    2. at least one (1) of the Panel’s members may be from among the Appellant’s peers;
    3. in the event a peer is appointed to the panel, the Appellant shall be given the opportunity to recommend such person, provided that member satisfies criterion (a) above;
    4. should the Appellant not recommend the Panel member as set out in (c) above within three (3) days, the President of the BCSSA, or a designate, shall appoint the peer member of the Panel.

PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE

  1. The Panel may determine that the circumstances of the appeal warrant a preliminary conference:
    1. the matters which may be considered at a preliminary conference include date and location of hearing, timelines for exchange of documents, format for the appeal, clarification of issues in dispute, any procedural matter, order and procedure of hearing, remedies being sought, identification of witnesses, and any other matter which may assist in expediting the appeal proceedings.
  2. The Panel may delegate to its Chairperson the authority to deal with these preliminary matters.

PROCEDURE FOR THE APPEAL HEARING

  1. The Panel shall govern the appeal by such procedures as it deems appropriate, provided that:
    1. the appeal hearing shall be held within twenty-one (21) days of the Panel’s appointment;
    2. the Appellant, Respondent and Affected Parties shall be given fourteen (14) days written notice of the date, time and place of the appeal hearing;
    3. the Panel’s members shall select from themselves a Chairperson;
    4. a quorum shall be all three (3) Panel members;
    5. decisions shall be by majority vote, where the Chairperson carries a vote;
    6. copies of any written documents which any of the Parties would like the Panel to consider shall be provided to the Panel, and to all other parties, at least five (5) regular days in advance of the Hearing;
    7. any of the Parties may be accompanied by a representative or advisor, including legal counsel;
    8. if the matter under appeal relates to team selection, any person potentially affected by the decision of the Panel shall become a party to the appeal;
    9. the Panel may direct that any other individual participate in the appeal.
  2. In the event that one of the Panel’s members is unable or unwilling to continue with the appeal, the matter will be concluded by the remaining two (2) Panel members. Should the Chair of the Panel be unable or unwilling to continue with the appeal, the remaining Panel members shall appoint a Chair from among themselves. If they are unable to select a Chair, the President shall appoint one of the Panel members to act as Chair. In the event there is a tie in making a final decision in the matter being appealed, the Chair shall carry the deciding vote.
  3. Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, there shall be no communication between Panel members and Parties except in the presence of, or by written copy to, the other Parties.
  4. In order to keep costs to a reasonable level, the Panel may conduct the appeal by means of a conference call or video conference.

APPEAL DECISION

  1. Within seven (7) regular 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:
    1. to void or confirm the decision being appealed;
    2. to vary the decision where it is found that an error occurred and such an error cannot be corrected by the original decision-maker for reasons which include, but are not limited to, lack of clear procedure, lack of time, or lack of neutrality;
    3. to refer the matter back to the initial decision-maker for a new decision; and
    4. to determine how costs of the appeal shall be allocated, if at all.
  2. A copy of this decision shall be provided to each of the Parties and to the President.

TIMELINES

  1. If the circumstances of the dispute are such that this Policy will not allow a timely appeal, the Panel may direct that these timelines be abridged. If the circumstances of the disputes are such that the appeal cannot be concluded within the timelines dictated in this Policy, the Panel may direct that these timelines be extended.

DOCUMENTARY APPEAL

  1. Any Party to the appeal may request that the Panel conduct the appeal by way of documentary evidence. The Panel may seek agreement from the other parties to proceed in this fashion. If agreement is not forthcoming, the Panel shall decide whether the appeal shall proceed by way of documentary evidence or in-person hearing.
E-14 POLICY: Arbitration Policy
  1. All differences or disputes shall first be submitted to appeal pursuant to the appeal process set out in these Policies and Procedures. If any Party believes the Panel has made an error such as those described in E-14 POLICY: Appeals Policy, the matter shall be referred to arbitration, such arbitration to be administered under the Alternate Dispute (ADR) Program for Amateur Sport and its Rules of Arbitration, as amended from time to time.
  2. Should a matter be referred to arbitration, all Parties to the original appeal shall be Parties to the arbitration.
  3. The Parties to arbitration shall enter into a formal Arbitration Agreement and the decision of any arbitration shall be final and binding.

LOCATION AND JURISDICTION

  1. Any appeal shall take place in Metro Vancouver, unless the Panel agrees to an alternate location or held by way of telephone conference call or video conference call or held elsewhere as may be decided by the Panel as a preliminary matter.
  2. This Policy shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the Province of British Columbia.
  3. No action or legal proceeding shall be commenced against the BCSSA in respect of a dispute, unless the BCSSA has refused or failed to abide by the provisions for appeal and/or arbitration of the dispute, as set out in this Policy.

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The British Columbia Speed Skating Association gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.