Return to Play Updates - June 2020

June 09 2020

viaSport - BC government lead delivery agency for sport programs

Rugby Canada Confirms National Suspension Still in Effect; A Look at How Other Sports are Progressing

One of the interesting studies during the pandemic is how each sport is handling the Return to Play at the national and provincial level.

Rugby Canada quickly went into the committee phase and are now at the survey phase with a decision promised for the end of the month. The national suspension of activity remains in effect. Their latest announcement is appended below.

Soccer Canada also went into immediate national suspension but soon passed the decision-making down to the regional level. The result at time of writing is that BC and PEI are cleared for Return to Play. BC Soccer has now passed the decision-making down to the club level with a set of guidelines and recommendations.

Field Hockey Canada has passed decision-making down to the Provincial level realizing that different Provinces will come online at different times. Field Hockey BC has a draft Return to Play plan distributed to member clubs and are awaiting further clarification on the waiver and liability insurance.

Baseball Canada has given the decision-making to the Provinces, Baseball BC has announced a lifting of suspension of playing activities and the decision-making is now down to the individual leagues. They point out that even though insurance is in place it notes there are pandemic exclusions.

Hockey Canada has gone to the Regional decision-making level. BC Hockey has issued this statement, "BC Hockey members should be focused upon reviewing and applying these resources to their own association or league return to hockey plan that best prepares their particular participants and complies to expectations."

Basketball Canada didn't seem to offer much direction and responsibility went to the Provinces. BC Basketball has directed each club, organization, program to start preparing a Return to Play plan that is compliant with viaSPORT guidelines. There's no indication that Basketball BC needs to approve the plan but they will provide guidelines.

Rugby should by now have passed decision-making down to the Provincial level and in BC the BCRU should have asked member clubs to develop Return to Play plans in compliance with viaSport. This will inevitably happen when the committee returns its report but it will be a month or so behind other sports.

from Rugby Canada

Rugby Canada and all Provincial Member Unions would like to confirm that organized rugby activities remain under a national suspension. All Unions and stakeholders, including the ‘Return to Play’ working group, continue to work diligently on ensuring a safe return to the pitch as soon as possible.

To further this process, a membership survey was distributed on Friday, with results being incorporated into the Return to Play planning. Later this week, preliminary actions Clubs can take to be ready to return to activity will be released ahead of the full Return to Play document.

Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen stated, “We recognize that players, coaches, referees and volunteers in some regions of our rugby community are eager to start their planning and get ready for the return of rugby. Rugby Canada and the Provincial Unions share this anticipation with our membership, however we must continue our diligence to ensure a safe and managed return to rugby for all participants. Until that time, we urge all rugby enthusiasts to stay active within the guidelines of your Provincial Health Authority.”

As released last week, once the phased Return to Play plan has been approved by the Rugby Canada Board of Directors, the national suspension on sanctioned rugby activities will be lifted. At this point, in order to return to activity, the steps will be:

- Each Provincial Union, when safe and permitted to do so, aligns their Provinces’ stage of eased restrictions with the appropriate phase of the Return to Play plan
- Provincial Unions gain approval for activity from the appropriate authorities in their Province
- Member Clubs formally apply for approval and sanctioning of activities with their Provincial Rugby Union
- Final approval of applications provided by Provincial Union and access to member registration platform provided by Rugby Canada

Until such time that final Provincial approval is given and members have registered, Clubs are reminded to refrain from in-person team training sessions and training/education courses.

Pemberton Holmes
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