Code of Professional Practice

Code of Professional Practice

PGA of Canada members, apprentices, and applicants play many roles in the Canadian golf industry, and our Code of Professional Practice is a guideline for ethical conduct in all of those roles. Above and beyond our roles, PGA of Canada members are professionals and at all times will aspire to hold themselves, their fellow members, and the PGA of Canada to conduct and practice standards befitting a professional in the golf industry.

This Code of Professional Practice is based on our core values: trusted brand, progressive leadership, and pride of membership. Each of the commitments set out below is framed by these values.

1. Our Commitment to Ourselves. We pledge to:

1.1 Maintain professional integrity, fidelity to the sport of golf, and a sense of great responsibility to employers, employees, manufacturers, golfers, and fellow professionals such that these notions transcend thought of material gain
1.2 Ensure that the terms ‘Golf Professional’ or ‘Professional Golfer’ are synonymous with honor, service, and fair dealing
1.3 Adhere to all federal, provincial, municipal, and host country laws
1.4 Maintain a current awareness of PGA of Canada business, contemporary practices, and golf instruction techniques
1.5 Promote golf as a doping-free sport by abstaining from the use of performance-enhancing drugs or methods
1.6 Comply, at all times, with the PGA of Canada’s bylaws, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations, as adopted and amended from time to time
1.7 Avoid conduct unbecoming of a professional at all times

2. Our Commitment to the PGA of Canada. We pledge to:

2.1 Hold the brand of the PGA of Canada above our association(s) with any other organization, sponsor, product, or brand
2.2 Avoid any activity, conduct, or behavior that brings the PGA of Canada or any of its representatives or members into disrepute, loss of stature, or public embarrassment
2.3 Never use our membership, standing, or position with the PGA of Canada as a means to earn illicit gains
2.4 Never abuse the privilege of our membership with the PGA of Canada
2.5 Promote the sport of golf in the most constructive and positive manner possible
2.6 Not act as a public spokesperson for the PGA of Canada unless authorized to do so by PGA of Canada officials
2.7 Publically support the decisions of the PGA of Canada and its elected officials, avoiding public criticism, disrespect, and opposition
2.8 Cooperate with the PGA of Canada with any investigation into member conduct or discipline

3. Our Commitment to Each Other. We pledge to:

3.1 Play, coach, or instruct at another member’s golf course or business establishment only by invitation or with the permission of the other member
3.2 Avoid causing public embarrassment to a fellow member or engaging in communications about others that are defamatory
3.3 Refrain from coaching, instructing or teaching an athlete or client who is currently being taught by another PGA of Canada member without that member’s express permission
3.4 Refrain from usurping, poaching, or otherwise aggressively attempting to obtain another member’s clients, students, teaching methods, or equipment
3.5 Report violations of this Code and/or any criminal activity committed by ourselves or by another member

4. Our Commitment to the Public, Our Clients, and Our Students. We pledge to:

4.1 Support and encourage all members of the public in achieving their golfing goals
4.2 Demonstrate respect for individuals regardless of body type, physical characteristics, athletic ability, gender, ancestry, color, ethnic or racial origin, nationality or national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religion or religious belief, political belief, disability, or economic status
4.3 Focus comments or criticism appropriately and avoid public criticism of athletes, coaches, instructors, officials, organizers, volunteers, employees, or other members
4.4 Consistently demonstrate the spirit of sportsmanship
4.5 Where appropriate, act to correct or prevent practices that are unjustly discriminatory
4.6 Ensure adherence to the rules of golf and the spirit of those rules
4.7 Refrain from any behavior that constitutes harassment, where harassment is defined as comment or conduct directed towards an individual or group that is offensive, abusive, racist, sexist, degrading, or malicious. Types of behavior that constitute harassment include, but are not limited to:
i. Written or verbal abuse, threats, or outbursts
ii. Unwelcome remarks, jokes, comments, innuendo, or taunts
iii. Leering or other suggestive or obscene gestures
iv. Condescending or patronizing behavior which is intended to undermine self-esteem, diminish performance or adversely affect working conditions
v. Practical jokes which cause awkwardness or embarrassment, endanger a person’s safety, or negatively affect performance
vi. Unwanted physical contact including, but not limited to, touching, petting, pinching, or kissing
vii. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, requests, or invitations
viii. Physical or sexual assault
ix. Behaviors such as those described above that are not directed towards a specific individual or group but have the same effect of creating a negative or hostile environment
x. Retaliation or threats of retaliation against an individual who reports harassment to the PGA of Canada

4.8 Refrain from any behavior that constitutes sexual harassment, where sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual comments and sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or conduct of a sexual nature. Types of behavior that constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
i. Sexist jokes
ii. Sexually degrading words used to describe a person
iii. Inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life
iv. Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions
v. Persistent unwanted contact

5. Our Commitment to Business Integrity. We pledge to:

5.1 Operate our businesses, pro shops, and golf courses fairly, responsibly and with integrity
5.2 Avoid discrimination against individuals and promote a progressive, inclusive and safe atmosphere
5.3 Meet financial responsibilities, honor contracts and agreements and adhere to all federal, provincial, and local employment and taxation laws or other requirements
5.4 Advertise and promote our services accurately and without misrepresentation
5.5 Never disparage or speak ill about another member who is competing for employment or business opportunities

Our members are accountable to the people we serve, to each other, and to our profession. Our collective commitment to this Code of Professional Practice is enforced by robust disciplinary procedures that ensure swift action should any of our members violate this Code.

Disciplinary Procedures


1. The following procedures will be followed in the event of a complaint that a PGA of Canada Member has violated the standards of professional conduct set out in the PGA of Canada Code of Professional Practice (the ‘Code’).

Reporting a Violation

2. Any individual may report to the PGA of Canada a complaint about a Member violating the Code. Such a complaint must be in writing, signed by the complainant, and must be made within a reasonable period of time of the alleged violation.

3. The complaint may be made to any responsible Official within the PGA of Canada, where a responsible Official includes any elected Officer or Director, or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

4. Upon receiving a complaint, the Official who is a Director or Officer will provide it immediately to the CEO. Upon receiving a complaint, either directly from the complainant, or from a Director or Officer, the CEO will review the complaint and will:
a) Dismiss the complaint if he/she considers it to be trivial or vexatious;
b) Determine that the complaint does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Code of Professional Practice, and refer it the appropriate body having jurisdiction, or if there is no such body, dismiss the complaint; or
c) Refer the matter to the Discipline Committee. The Discipline Committee may decide to suspend their membership activities or inactivate their membership status as the independent investigation takes place.

5. If the CEO is not able or not willing to perform the duties outlined in Section 4, then the President will appoint a designate to act in the place of the CEO.

Disciplinary Procedures

6. The Discipline Committee is a PGA of Canada Committee composed of three persons, who are selected from a roster of PGA Members by the CEO. The members of the Discipline Committee will have no personal, business or family connection with the Member complained of, and will have had no involvement in the matter that gave rise to the complaint about the Member.

7. The Discipline Committee has an overall responsibility to ensure procedural fairness is respected at all times during the disciplinary process, and to carry out this process in a timely and discrete manner.

8. Depending on the circumstances of the complaint, the Discipline Committee may authorize an investigation into the alleged violation. The investigation will be conducted by an independent person, who will prepare a report for the Discipline Committee.

9. The Discipline Committee will determine the format of the disciplinary process, which may involve an oral hearing in person, an oral hearing via telephone, a hearing based on written submissions, or a combination of these methods. The Discipline Committee will determine the participation of any witnesses or other persons in the hearing.

10. The Member will be given reasonable notice of the format as well as day, time and place of the hearing; will receive a copy of the Investigation Report if an investigation was carried out; may be accompanied by a representative; and will have the right to present evidence and argument before the Discipline Committee.

11. After hearing the matter, the Discipline Committee will reach a decision as to whether a violation has occurred and if it has, what the sanction will be. The Discipline Committee will issue a written decision, including reasons, for distribution to the Member, the complainant, and the CEO.

12. Where the conduct being reviewed by these procedures is of a sensitive nature, the Discipline Committee and the PGA of Canada will keep all disciplinary procedures confidential, except where publication is ordered as part of the sanction, is required by law, or is in the best interests of the public.

13. In fulfilling its duties, and with the approval of the PGA of Canada, the Discipline Committee may obtain independent advice.

Disciplinary Sanctions

14. The following are examples of disciplinary sanctions that may be applied where it is found that a violation has occurred:
a) Verbal or written warning;
b) Require a verbal or written apology;
c) Service or other voluntary contribution to the PGA of Canada;
d) Removal of certain privileges of membership in the PGA of Canada;
e) Suspension from certain PGA of Canada events or activities;
f) Suspension from all PGA of Canada activities for a designated period of time;
g) Suspension from membership in the PGA of Canada for a designated period of time
h) Expulsion from membership in the PGA of Canada; and/or
i) Publication of the disciplinary sanction.

15. It is understood that the above are representative penalties only, that they may be modified to fit the circumstances of the violation, that they may be applied singly or in combination, and that they are presented generally in order of severity.

Criminal Convictions

16. A Member conviction for any of the following Criminal Code of Canada offenses will be deemed a violation under the Code and will result in expulsion from the PGA of Canada and/or removal from PGA of Canada programs, activities, and events:
a) Child pornography offenses;
b) Any sexual offenses involving a minor;
c) Any offense of assault involving a minor;
d) Any offense of physical or psychological violence involving a minor; or
e) Any offense involving trafficking of illegal drugs or substances.


17. Appeals of decisions rendered under these procedures will be heard by the Board of Directors of the PGA of Canada at its next regularly scheduled Board meeting. The decision of the Board will be final and binding upon the Member, and not subject to any further appeal under the policies and jurisdiction of the PGA of Canada.