Section 4 - Athlete and Coach Protection
4.1 Rule of Two
PGA of Canada requires that the ‘Rule of Two’ is followed for all Persons in Authority who interact with Vulnerable Participants, to the maximum extent feasible. The ‘Rule of Two’ is a directive aimed at protecting coaches and PGA of Canada Members and Apprentices from ever being alone one-on-one with a minor.
PGA of Canada recognizes that abiding by the ‘Rule of Two’ may not be feasible in some instances, given the dynamics of golf participation and golf training. To the maximum extent feasible, Persons in Authority must take all reasonable efforts to be in open and observable spaces while working with minors.
Compliance with the ‘Rule of Two’ involves adhering to the following guidelines:
a) To the maximum extent possible, the training environment should be visible and accessible so that all interactions between Persons in Authority and Vulnerable Participants are observable.
b) Private and one-on-one situations that are not observable by another adult or Athlete should be avoided to the maximum extent possible.
c) A Vulnerable Participant may not be alone under the supervision of a Person in Authority unless prior written permission is obtained from the Vulnerable Participant’s parent or guardian.
d) Persons in Authority may not invite or host Vulnerable Participants in their home without the written permission from parents or guardians or without parents or guardians having contemporaneous knowledge of the visit.
e) If a Person in Authority and a Vulnerable Participant expect to be away from other PGA of Canada Professional, Apprentice, Applicant or Participant for a lengthy period of time (for example, they will be on the golf course together), they must inform another Person in Authority where they are going and when they are expected to return. Persons in Authority should always be reachable by phone or text message.
For communication in any form between Persons in Authority and Athletes, following guidelines must be followed:
a) Persons in Authority may only send texts, direct messages on social media or emails to individual Athletes when necessary and only for communicating information related to team issues and activities (e.g., non-personal information).
b) Individual communication with an Athlete must remain professional in tone. Communication between Persons in Authority and Athletes that is personal in nature should be avoided. If such personal communication is unavoidable, it must be recorded and available for review by another Person in Authority and/or by the Athlete’s parent/guardian (i.e., if the Athlete is a Vulnerable Participant).
c) Parents/guardians may request that their child not be contacted by a Person in Authority using any form of electronic communication and/or may request that certain information about their child not be distributed in any form of electronic communications.
d) All communication between a Person in Authority and Athletes must be between the hours of 6:00am and midnight unless extenuating circumstances justify otherwise.
e) Communication concerning drugs or alcohol use is not permitted, unless the communication relates to policies prohibiting its use.
f) Communications may not include sexually explicit language, imagery, or content.
For travel involving Persons in Authority and Athletes, adherence to the following guidelines is required:
a) Teams or groups of Athletes to travel with at least two Persons in Authority with them, to the extent that budget and logistical circumstances allow.
b) If two Persons in Authority cannot be present, reasonable efforts should be made to supplement supervision with screened parents or other volunteers.
c) To the maximum extent possible, a Person in Authority should not drive a vehicle alone with an Athlete unless the Person in Authority is the Athlete’s parent or guardian.
d) A Person in Authority may not share a hotel room with an Athlete unless the Person in Authority is the Athlete’s parent/guardian or spouse.
e) Room or bed checks during overnight stays must be done by two Persons in Authority.
f) For overnight travel when Athletes must share a hotel room, roommates must be age-appropriate (e.g., within approximately two years of age of one another) and of the same gender identity.
4.4 Locker Rooms / Changing Areas
For locker rooms, changing areas, and other closed meeting spaces, adherence to the following guidelines is required:
a) Interactions between Persons in Authority and Athletes should not occur in any area where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy -such as a locker room, washroom or changing area. A second adult should be present for any necessary interaction between an adult and an Athlete in any such area.
4.5 Photography / Video
For all photography and video of an Athlete, adherence to the following guidelines is required:
a) Photographs and video should be taken in public view. Content must observe generally accepted standards of decency and be both appropriate for and in the best interest of the Athlete.
b) The use of recording devices in any areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy –such as locker rooms or washrooms -is strictly prohibited.
c) If content featuring an Athlete will be used on any form of public media, an Image Consent Form must be completed before the content is recorded.
4.6 Physical Contact
Some physical contact between Persons in Authority and Athletes may be necessary for various reasons including, but not limited to, teaching a skill or tending to an injury. For physical contact, adherence to the following guidelines is required:
a) A Person in Authority must always request permission to make physical contact from the Athlete in advance and clearly explain where, why and how the physical contact will occur. The Person in Authority must make clear that they are requesting to touch the Athlete and not requiring physical contact.
b) In frequent, incidental physical contact during a training session is not considered a violation of policy.
c) Non-essential physical contact may not be initiated by the Person of Authority. It is recognized that some Athletes may initiate non-essential physical contact such as hugging or other physical contact with a Person in Authority for various reasons (e.g., such as celebrating or crying after a poor performance). This physical contact should always occur in an open and observable environment.
All Applicants joining the PGA of Canada are required to successfully complete a Sterling Background Check. On a three-year rotating basis, all PGA of Canada Professionals and Apprentices will be required to complete a Sterling Background Check to be clear of any criminal charges that are contrary to the Code of Professional Conduct and PGA Code of Professional Conduct and Safe Sport Policy. A committee may be comprised by the PGA of Canada to review any special cases and exemptions to this section of the policy.